IT HAS been 30 years since the last ever episode of the much-loved sitcom Hi-de-Hi! was broadcast.

Set in the fictional holiday camp of Maplins, the show, was partly filmed in the former Warners holiday park in Dovercourt.

It was set during the fifties and sixties and written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who also wrote Dad’s Army and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

The show, which revolved around the lives of the camp’s management and entertainers, was loosely based on Butlins.

It was a smash hit winning a Bafta in 1984 for Best Comedy Series and running for eight years and 58 episodes.

David Webb, who played Stanley Matthews in the series alongside his twin Tony who played Bruce, said: "We were told in 1986 that 1987 would be the last series.

"They used to film the credits at the end but on the last series they filmed them at the beginning because they knew there would be tears."

David, who lives in Lawford, said the very last day of filming at the camp was due to take place on Friday October 16, 1987.

But the night before hurricane winds battered the coast in what was the worst storm in 300 years.

"The hurricane came in and blew down trees on some of the chalets so the came was in turmoil.

"One of the crew was sleeping in one of the chalets and got up to go to the loo in the night, but when he came back his chalet had been crushed by a tree."

When the show finished in 1988, the holiday camp closed and was demolished. It is now a housing estate.

David added: "It was getting tatty, but I thought it was perfect for the show.

"Interesting Jimmy Perry and David Croft wanted it to be filmed at Butlins in Clacton and they sent the script to Butlins who said 'not on your life'.

"They had just upgraded their image and threatened legal action.

"They went up the coast and found Warners at Dovercourt."

Surviving stars have often returned to the town for a reunion. In 2013, episodes and rare clips were shown at the Electric Palace and followed by a question and answer session with the stars.

In previous years, fans from Croatia, Holland, Ireland and Scotland had made the journey to Dovercourt to have their chance of meeting the cast.

Most of the actors were relatively unknown at the time the Hi-de-Hi pilot was filmed.

David, who lived in Manningtree at the time, said: "Most of them were unknown and didn't have a lot of money to spend.

"To save money some of them slept in the chalets, including Jeffrey Holland and Su Pollard.

"It was October 1979.

"Jeff and Paul Shane said they practically swam themselves to sleep it was so damp."

The popular series helped the actors' careers flourish for years after filming ended.

Three decades on David, who also appeared in You Rang, M'Lord?, travels around giving talks on his time in the Maplins camp.