Holiday Island is an Australian television series made by Crawford Productions for Network Ten. The show aired twice weekly from 1981 to 1982, with the first episode going to air on 17 June 1981.
Like preceding Crawford’s series, the aborted Hotel Story, Holiday Island was a Love Boat-style drama series set in a luxury hotel. This time the location was a tropical resort island in Queensland. In each episode the regular characters – the various islanders and hotel workers – hosted a new batch of guest star hotel guests. Various plots and situations on the show included a fierce cyclone hitting the island, children being kidnapped, a siege where the hotel workers were held hostage by less than pleasant guests, drug trafficking, the resort being terrorised by a biker gang and a politician dying of a heart attack while staying at the island’s resort.
The series became notorious amongst critics for its allegedly poor production values, and the wintry conditions under which the tropical drama was shot became the focus of most jibes. Though set in a tropical hotel with palm trees, sunshine and beautiful beaches, for practical reasons all interiors scenes – and the bulk of exterior scenes – were shot at the Ten Network’s studios in Nunawading, Melbourne. The exterior set made heavy use of awnings in an attempt to disguise Melbourne’s propensity for overcast skies, but attempts to mask the icy breath of the bathing beauties was not always successful. Attempts to shoot location footag
e in Queensland were hampered by the fact that the local television crews assigned to the shoot had experience only in shooting news footage, and the fact that heavy rain fell for several days of a planned shoot. Ray Meagher, a guest star in the show’s first episode, later jokingly referred the show as Horror Day on Iceland.
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