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Holiday Showdown
Format Entertainment,
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel ITV
Original airing 2003

Holiday Showdown is a reality television programme, produced by Chris Kelly for UK independent TV production company RDF Media, which first aired in 2003 on ITV in the United Kingdom. It has aired for five series in Britain and a pilot episode has been produced for the US which aired on ABC in 2005. A brand new series was thought to be set to air on ITV, beginning on Tuesday 12th May at 9.00PM, having been advertised as such, though the episodes turned out to be repeats.



The show follows two families, who have never met before, as they spend two weeks together at each of their ideal holiday destinations. The families do not know where the other family are planning to take them, but both must try and convince their guests that their own holiday is an enjoyable experience, as well as following the rules of their hosts when they are taken away. This usually results in conflict between the two families, who often have very different ideas about how to have fun. The series follows a rather formulaic pattern, in that the families tend to differ drastically in their background. One family, for instance, will be religious, or rather staid and strict with their children, the other family will be "hell-raisers" intent on having a good time. The destinations tend to be Acapulco, Torremolinos, or similar. They will drag the religious family around nightclubs and karaoke bars, which usually results in the stricter mum disapproving of the teenagers from the other family being allowed to drink, swear, etc. The "hell-raiser" mum will then confront the strict mum, with predictable results, and the two will end up at each others throats.

The second week involves the religious/strict family taking the hedonistic family on a tour of war museums in Portugal, fishing in the wilds of Scotland, or, memorably, visiting a remote African village. This often results in the family (frequently at the instigation of mother) refusing to participate in the activities, and sometimes changing their accommodation to more luxurious and lively surroundings. This tends to infuriate the staid family, and recriminations fly. A poignant note is often struck where the younger children are involved, as they tend to like each other, at first, anyway, until the fur flies. One child who had never been to a fairground came running off a roller coaster in Blackpool and declared it was "the best holiday I've ever had!" The older teenagers often clash, or are surly with each other. There is a device whereby the families talk individually to a camcorder, in private, revealing their thoughts.

At the end of the two weeks, the families meet up for one final showdown known as the "last supper" as they speak honestly about what they thought of each other and the two holidays.This nearly always degenerates into a slanging match between the people who antagonised each other the most.

Holiday Showdown: Extreme

On 21 June 2007, ITV aired a new series of Holiday Showdown but this time under the new brand of Holiday Showdown: Extreme. The series was however the same format as previous ones (see 'Episodes' below). The suffix "extreme" may have indicated that the families differ in even more "extreme" ways than in previous episodes. ITV ran the series once a fortnight on Thursdays at 9PM. However the series unexpectedly ended after the second programme 5 July 2007. No comment was made by ITV explaining this except this quote made in an e-mail:

"I'm afraid that we do not currently have any information relating to the scheduling of any further episodes of Holiday Showdown Extreme."

ITV then later said:

"We do not have any information other than only 2 episodes were entered into the schedules. Unfortunately there is no information available as to how many episodes were actually made."

However the company which produces the show, RDF Media, state on their website that a fifth series was made under the name Holiday Showdown: Extreme containing six episodes.[1] RDF Media have made no comment on the unnexpected end to the series either.


The very first episode of this series showed an ex army father making the guest family march to a fire station in Slovenia to meet the firefighters. Constantly looking at his watch, he forced them to get up at 6am, and made their lives miserable. The unhappy family plotted their revenge and gave the father (and blameless mother) hell on their week in Walt Disney World, Florida. The parents were shown as behaving in an alarmingly childish manner (making them eat hot dogs, turning up the air conditioning in their bedroom), bent on exacting revenge upon the hapless family. Unusually, the teenagers got along (there was budding romance) and were upset by the warring parents.


Following the 2005 airing of a show the Coppock family took part in, they were not impressed with their portrayal. Mo Coppock stated: "I think the show was edited to make us appear to be common... people wanted to stir things up between us to make it good telly".[2]


It currently airs Wednesdays at 3:00 A.M. (Eastern) on BBC Canada and Saturday mornings on ITV2 in the UK.


  1. ^ RDF Media Television, Holiday Showdown, 2007-07-19,
  2. ^ Holiday turns into war zone, Liverpool Echo, 2005-06-23,


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