The story concerns Don (Cliff Richard) and his friends (Hayes, Green and Bulloch) who are bus mechanics at the huge London Transport bus overhaul works in Aldenham, Hertfordshire. During a miserably wet British summer lunch break, Don arrives, having persuaded London Transport to lend him and his friends an AEC Regent III RT double-decker bus (and not a later AEC Routemaster as often quoted). This they convert into a holiday caravan, which they drive across continental Europe, intending to reach the South of France. However, their eventual destination is Athens, Greece. On the way, they are joined by a trio of young women (Stubbs, Hart and Daryl) and a runaway singer (Lauri Peters), who initially pretends to be male, pursued by her mother (Ryan) and agent (Murton). The movie was a box-office hit, thus repeating the success of Cliff Richard's earlier film The Young Ones (1961).Cliff Richard as Don
Lauri Peters as Barbara
Melvyn Hayes as Cyril
Una Stubbs as Sandy
Teddy Green as Steve
Pamela Hart as Angie
Jeremy Bulloch as Edwin
Jacqueline Daryl as Mimsie
Madge Ryan as Stella
Lionel Murton as Jerry
Christine Lawson as Annie
Ron Moody as Orlando
David Kossoff as Magistrate
Wendy Barrie as Shepherdess (as Wendy Barry)
Nicholas Phipps as Wrightmore
The Shadows as themselves
There are 16 song and musical numbers in the film: "Seven Days to a Holiday", "Let Us Take You for a Ride", "Stranger in Town", "Swinging Affair", "Really Waltzing", "Yugoslavian Wedding", "All At Once", "Summer Holiday", "Bachelor Boy", "Dancing Shoes", "Foot Tapper", "Big News", "The Next Time", "Les Girls", "Round and Round" and "Orlando's Mime".
The film's producers felt that female lead in the film, Lauri Peters, was not a strong enough singer after several test recording sessions and all of her parts, both in the film and on the soundtrack album were dubbed by session vocalist Grazina Frame. Frame had overdubbed female singing voices in Cliff Richard's earlier film The Young Ones.
Cliff Richard, Melvyn Hayes and the Shadows were recalled to Elstree some weeks after completion of shooting to record Bachelor Boy. This was because the distributors felt the film was too short.
The film was the second most popular movie at the British box office in 1963. However it flopped in the US, where it was released two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The majority of the numbers integrated dance with song – not merely serving as scenes to promote a number of "hit-parade" songs. Ross, an American choreographer later became a film director in his own right.
Many singles lifted from the film including, title track "Summer Holiday", as well as "The Next Time", "Bachelor Boy" and "Foot Tapper" all reached Number one in the British charts during the first three months of 1963.
The film suggested to the photographer Daniel Meadows a way in which he might emulate Benjamin Stone and travel around and photograph Britain from 1973 to 1974. It was voted the 99th greatest family film in a Channel 4 poll.
Summer Holiday was adapted into a stage musical in the mid-1990s starring Darren Day in the role that Cliff Richard played. It premiered for a summer season at The Opera House in Blackpool in 1996, and then later toured nationally, before returning to Blackpool in 1998. The cast for these included Claire Buckfield, Isla Fisher, Hilary O'Neil, Peter Baldwin and René Zagger. It was also recorded and released on video, entitled "Summer Holiday-The Hits", which was all the musical numbers strung together by clips of Darren Day writing postcards to his friends, and describing what was happening in the story as he wrote.
The stage musical differs in a number of respects from the film version. For example, the route to Athens is via Italy in the stage version rather than the original film route via Yugoslavia. The songs also differ, and include a number of songs from Cliff Richard's other early back catalogue, such as "The Young Ones".
The stage musical was revived in 2003, starring Stefan Booth but later starring Darren Day again. This production also included Day's future partner Suzanne Shaw (from the pop group Hear'say) as Bobby and, as Shaw's mother, Aimi MacDonald. The production toured the UK.