Idol on Parade
Directed byJohn Gilling
Screenplay byJohn Antrobus
Based onnovel Idle on Parade by William Camp
Produced byIrving Allen
Albert R. Broccoli
StarringAnthony Newley
CinematographyTed Moore
Edited byBert Rule
Music byBill Shepherd
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 24 March 1959 (1959-03-24) (UK)
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

Idol on Parade is a 1959 British comedy movie produced by Warwick Films, directed by John Gilling and featuring William Bendix, Anthony Newley, Sid James and Lionel Jeffries. It was based on John Antrobus' first screenplay.[1][2]

The movie depicts Jeep Jackson, the main character, during his two years of compulsory National Service in the British military. It was based on the 1958 novel Idle on Parade by William Camp which in turn was inspired by Elvis Presley's conscription into the US Army.

The movie featured Newley singing five songs in a cockney accent for the movie. One of the songs, "I've Waited So Long", reached No. 3 in the UK chart.[3][4]


The film considers what happens when a pop-star is conscripted into the army. He tries to continue his recording career while still undergoing training on camp. When a different J Jackson materialises they take the opportunity to post Jeep to the Outer Hebrides to get rid of his disruptive impact on the camp.

When a group of soldiers go to the cinema in the film, they go to see The Cockleshell Heroes, in which Newley was an actor.



The film was based on a novel published in 1958. The Observer said the book was "very funny".[5] It concerned an intellectual in the army, rather than a pop singer.[6]

Filming started 10 November 1958.[7] It was the first time William Bendix worked in England.[8]


The Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as "trite... a waste of good comedy talent."[9]

Variety called it "a straightforward army farce... pure corn".[10]

It was the first time Newley sang in a film. Four of the songs from the soundtrack made the top 20.[11] "I got a bigger kick out of being on the hit parade than anything I've ever done," said Newley.[12]


  1. ^ Antrobus, John (2002). Surviving Spike Milligan: A Voyage Through the Mind & Mirth of the Master Goon. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-246-12275-7. p. 44
  2. ^ McCann, Graham (2006). Spike & Co. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-89809-7.
  3. ^ "New star rises on British hit front". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 12 August 1959. p. 43 Supplement: Teenagers Weekly. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  4. ^ "UK singles chart, 5 June 1959".
  5. ^ Sublime and Ridiculous Davenport, John. The Observer 7 September 1958: 17.
  6. ^ New Novels Richardson, Maurice. New Statesman; London Vol. 56, no. 1436, (September 20, 1958): 391.
  7. ^ "Production". Variety. 3 December 1958. p. 18.
  8. ^ Director Permits Discussion Period: Actors Argue 'Philadelphian;' Bendix Cast With British Star Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 12 Nov 1958: C11.
  9. ^ IDLE ON PARADE Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 26, no. 300, (January 1, 1959): 59.
  10. ^ Review of film at Variety
  11. ^ Newley's World Not About to Stop Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 11 June 1967: n14.
  12. ^ PERSONAL, PLEASE: Anthony Newley States His Theater Credo PERSONAL, PLEASE Anthony Newley Discusses His Views About Present-Day Theater By JOHN S. WILSON. The New York Times 30 September 1962: X1.