Idol on Parade
Idol on Parade (1959 film).jpg
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 Anthony Newley, Sid James and Lionel Jeffries. It was John Antrobus' first screenplay.[1][2]

The movie depicts the main character Jeep Jackson being activated for two years of compulsory National Service in the British military and 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", became a popular success, scoring No. 3 in the UK chart,[3][4] and it resulted in a singing career which included two UK No. 1 successes.[5]


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 called it "very funny".[6] The novel was about an intellectual in the army, not a pop singer.[7]

Filming started 10 November 1958.[8] It was the first time William Bendix worked in England.[9]


The Monthly Film Bulletin called it "trite... a waste of good comedy talent."[10]

Variety called it "a straightforward army farce... pure corn".[11]

It was the first time Newley sang in a film. Four of the songs from the soundtrack made the top 20.[12] "I got a bigger kick out of being on the hit parade than anything I've ever done," said Newley.[13]


  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. ^ Obituary: Anthony Newley: [FINAL Edition] Vallance, Tom. The Independent; London (UK) [London (UK)]16 Apr 1999: 6.
  6. ^ Sublime and Ridiculous Davenport, John. The Observer 7 Sep 1958: 17.
  7. ^ New Novels Richardson, Maurice. New Statesman; London Vol. 56, Iss. 1436, (Sep 20, 1958): 391.
  8. ^ "Production". Variety. 3 December 1958. p. 18.
  9. ^ Director Permits Discussion Period: Actors Argue 'Philadelphian;' Bendix Cast With British Star Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 12 Nov 1958: C11.
  10. ^ IDLE ON PARADE Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 26, Iss. 300, (Jan 1, 1959): 59.
  11. ^ Review of film at Variety
  12. ^ NewleY's World Not About to Stop Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 11 June 1967: n14.
  13. ^ PERSONAL, PLEASE: Anthony Newley States His Theater Credo PERSONAL, PLEASE Anthony Newley Discusses His Views About Present-Day Theater By JOHN S. WILSON. New York Times 30 Sep 1962: X1.