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Channel 5 take a step back into 1970s holidays

Former BBC continuity announcer Judith Charmers took viewers to exotic holiday destinations in the 70s, 80s and 90s with Thames TV's 'Wish You Were Here?' on ITV

Channel 5

Channel 5 take a step back into 1970s holidays

A two-part documentary series begins this coming week…

The 1970s ushered in a travel revolution – suddenly Britain was saying ‘adios’ to wet weekends by the sea, and jetting off to package destinations on the Costas that weren’t even built yet! This two-part series takes a step back in time to when all of this was thrillingly new – when sangria, pesetas and siestas became part of our vocab; when holiday brochures dominated our doormats; and holiday programmes like Wish You Were Here? (Thames/ITV) hosted by Judith Charmers showed viewers the virtues of abroad vacations.

Channel 5 takes modern holiday makers on a trip down memory lane, in a recreated high street travel agency, and aboard an authentic 1970s plane. Uncover a secret history of backroom deals with dictatorships that helped finance some popular resorts, as well as holiday deals and food options you wouldn’t get nowadays. From mass travel to hippy trail wanderlust, this show takes us back to the decade that started it all.

Cliff Michelmore presented the less glamorous ‘Holiday’ for BBC One

In the first episode the programme charts the rise of the package holiday in the 1970s and discover how Brits swapped staycations for fun in the Mediterranean sun. Discover how Benidorm became a go-to destination, with a building boom that made tour operators millions but ruined the lie-ins of many holidaymakers who headed to this growing Spanish resort only to find the hotels were still being built.

Reminisce about the travel shows of the period that tempted us abroad – from Cliff Michelmore introducing Holiday from a studio in London to Judith Chalmers in the Greek sunshine. And 25 years later, Anthea Turner recalls some of her presenting highlights.

On board, Channel 5’s retro aeroplane, today’s holidaymakers discover the delights of the in-flight drinks trolley – complete with real glasses – and the onboard menu. They witness the safety demo from back in the day and find out that smoking was commonplace on board in the 1970s. Our holidaymakers also explore our recreation of an authentic 1970s travel agent, complete with genuine holiday brochures from the era, revealing the tricks tour operators used to sell us our holidays.

Anthea Turner recalls her Holiday reporting for Channel 5

The show recalls the glory days of airports, when we dressed up in our Sunday best just to get through check-in, security was so minimal we could wander around onto the tarmac, and people even took day trips just to watch the planes take off and land.

Vacation experts look back at a time when air hostesses were the queens of the skies, complete with uniforms created by legendary designer Sir Hardy Amies and make-up by Elizabeth Arden.

Plus, the programme recalls the challenges presented by foreign food, how we had to get our heads around foreign currency, and how in an era before smartphones, phrase books were invaluable for speaking the local lingo.

Holidaying in the 70s: Wish You Were Here, Tuesday, 9pm, Channel 5

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