Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Why didn't Anita Harris make more Carry Ons?

I think it's an interesting question and I honestly don't know the answer. I love Anita Harris in both her mid-60s Carry On appearances and I really wish she had been in more of the films.

Anita, still vivacious and as talented as ever, always speaks of her time working with the Carry On team with such fondness and enthusiasm and it's lovely to hear her stories. For her very first film appearance, and for someone who was primarily a singer, her role as Cork Tip in Carry On Follow That Camel was superb! She plays the sultry, devious belly dancer with aplomb and her dancing is certainly memorable!

Anita works well opposite Jim Dale in both her Carry On appearances, providing the same kind of role that Angela Douglas enjoyed in other films of the time. As Nurse Clarke in Carry On Doctor, Anita excels as the romantic interest for Jim. That role is in great contrast to the sultry Cork Tip from earlier the same year, showing Anita's versatility. For a new young actress, working with such experienced performers as Frankie Howerd, Sidney James and Hattie Jacques must have been daunting, however you would never know. Anita is assured throughout and provides a fresh interest for the films. She is also never over-shadowed by her fellow nurse in that film, the bubbly Barbara Windsor. 

So why didn't Anita Harris make more Carry Ons? I know her music career really took off in the 1960s and she was also prolific in many stage shows and musical theatre, so perhaps she was just in demand elsewhere. I think it is a shame she didn't join up with the gang for later adventures, although perhaps, like Angela Douglas and Jacki Piper, she maybe wouldn't have been suited to some of the saucier adventures that followed in the mid-1970s.

What do you think? Do you wish Anita Harris had made more Carry Ons or was she best suited to the two she appeared in? Could you envisage her appearing in later offerings like Matron or Abroad?

You can visit Anita's website here 

You can follow her fans Twitter account here

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Whatever Happened To ... Cyril Chamberlain?

I have been writing an occasional series of blogs turning the spotlight onto some of the lesser known yet still prolific actors who contributed so many memorable cameos to the Carry On films. 

So far I have written about the likes of Carol Hawkins, Marianne Stone, Peter Gilmore and Esma Cannon to name but a few. Today I am going to look at the career of an actor who appeared in the very first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant in 1958. Cyril Chamberlain would go on to play supporting roles in a further six films in the early days of the series.

Cyril Chamberlain made his first Carry On appearance in a cameo role of the Gun Sergeant in Carry On Sergeant. He shares a scene with the likes of Kenneth Williams and Bob Monkhouse. Cyril returned to Pinewood later that year for a more substantial supporting turn as Bert Able, one of the patients in Carry On Nurse. Cyril has a memorable scene in Nurse which sees his character have an adverse reaction to some medication which sees his run amok in the middle of the night! He also shares scenes with the prolific character actress Marianne Stone who plays his wife Alice.

Next up came another substantial role, as the school caretaker Alf in Carry On Teacher. Alf is scene removing some risqué (for 1959) pin ups from the school notice board, pocketing one for himself! In Carry On Constable released the following year, Cyril plays Sid's second in command, Thurston. Most of Cyril's scenes as with Sid as together they try to keep their new recruits (Williams, Connor, Phillips and Hawtrey) on the right track! Cyril Chamberlain then went on to have a blink and you'll miss it cameo as a policeman who arrests Kenneth Williams at Windsor Station in Carry On Regardless!

Cyril's next Carry On role turned out to be his only appearance in a Carry On filmed in colour, the glorious Carry On Cruising released in 1962. In Cruising, Cyril plays the role of ship steward, Tom Tree, joining regular co-stars Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams and Sid James. The following year would see Cyril's last appearance in the Carry Ons, and bring an end to a run of consecutive film roles for Rogers and Thomas. In Carry On Cabby, he plays Sarge, the radio controller at Sid's Speedee Cab Company. Sarge has a role to play at the end of the film when he helps orchestrate a manoeuvre of cabs to ambush the crooks who kidnap Hattie Jacques and Liz Fraser. 

When looking back at Cyril Chamberlain's involvement in the series I was struck by how many fairly large supporting roles he had. I had always seen him as having cameo parts in the films, but he was actually pretty prolific. So what else did Cyril get up to in his acting career?

Cyril Chamberlain has a whopping 162 screen credits to his name. On film he worked again for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas in small roles in the following films: The Duke Wore Jeans (starring Tommy Steele and co-written by Lionel Bart), Please Turn Over, Nearly A Nasty Accident, The Iron Maiden and Raising The Wind. He also worked for Peter's wife Betty Box and Gerald's brother Ralph Thomas in several of their films, including Upstairs and Downstairs, Doctor In The House, Doctor At Sea, Doctor At Large and Doctor in Love.

Cyril also made appearances in many other classic films from the late 50s and early 60s such as A Night To Remember (with Kenneth More), Two Way Stretch (with Peter Sellers), Too Many Crooks (with Terry-Thomas) and Dentist On The Job (with Bob Monkhouse). He was also a regular in the St Trinian's series of films, notching up roles in Blue Murder, Pure Hell and finally The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery, as a member of Frankie Howerd's gang. 

Working with Norman Wisdom, Cyril appeared in many of his classic films of the era. Those included Trouble in Store, Just My Luck, On The Beat and A Stitch In Time. On television, Cyril Chamberlain popped up in a variety of roles in the likes of The Saint, Ivanhoe, No Hiding Place and William Tell.

Cyril Chamberlain's first screen appearance came in 1938 with an uncredited bit part in The Man with 100 Faces. His career spanned nearly thirty years until his last appearance in The Yellow Hat in 1966.

So what else do we know about Cyril Chamberlain? Cyril was born in London in March 1909. He was married to the actress Lisa Lee and together they had one child. I cannot find any evidence as to why he decided to retire from the acting profession in 1966, other than the suggestion that he did so to concentrate on his passion for restoring antiques. Cyril Chamberlain died in Wales in December 1974 at the age of 65. 

Although his contributions were limited to the very early days of Carry On, Cyril Chamberlain provided solid, reliable support to the main regulars in the black and white Carry On films. The contribution of familiar British character actors like Cyril Chamberlain should never be underestimated. 

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Carry On Blogging on Facebook!

As well as interacting with Carry On Blogging on this blog and via Twitter, there is now a Facebook feed you can follow. 

If you use Facebook you can like the page and follow it for updates, links to all the blogs and photos.

The Facebook page can be found here

The Twitter feed is here: @CarryOnJoan

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My Favourite Scene: Carry On Girls

I have been running a series of blogs on the subject of my favourite scenes in each of the wonderful Carry On films. I've covered quite a few so far, mainly my favourites it has to be said, so today I'm going to take on the challenge of finding a favourite scene in one of my least favourite films, Carry On Girls.

While much of Carry On Girls makes for an uncomfortable, unsatisfying watch, there are still bright spots and most of these involve the glorious pairing of Kenneth Connor and Patsy Rowlands. As Mayor Frederick Bumble and his wife Mildred, Kenneth and Patsy shine as a wonderfully downtrodden double act throughout the film. While Kenneth plays his crumbling, bombastic little man character, Patsy excels as the drab Mildred who eventually has enough of her husband, joins Augusta Prodworthy's women's lib organisation and has the last laugh at the beauty contest at the end of the film.

My favourite scene featuring Kenneth and Patsy plays out as the ultimate domestic sitcom situation. Frederick Bumble comes down the stairs in the morning to find Mildred, clad in that dreadful blue dressing gown, smoking a fag and listening the radio. As he chides her slovenly ways and the lack of a decent breakfast, Mildred obviously struggles to give a monkeys! As he says about the radio "I can't remember the last time you had it off", she replies "neither can I"... 

I absolutely love the moment Patsy drops a bit of fag ash into Kenneth's tea! As Patsy wasn't a smoker in real life, this really was putting art first! The situation culminates with Frederick's discovery of himself on the front page of the newspaper, trousers round his ankles with Dawn Brakes at his feet! Patsy's reaction to his impotent rage is just fantastic! 

While Kenneth Connor was used to large roles in the Carry Ons, the role of Mildred Bumble proved to be one of only a few major supporting turns for Patsy in the series. Given how successful she is in the part, I cannot understand why her next appearance, in Carry On Dick, was little more than a walk on. 

Anyway, Patsy and Kenneth just about salvage Carry On Girls from the brink for me. I love them together.

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Mr Carry On

I don't honestly know where I stand when it comes to Peter Rogers. He was quite frankly a force of nature. He helped to create one of the most successful, longest running film franchises in British history and his legacy is still appreciated to this very day. Quite an achievement.

However while I must respect the man who brought my favourite comedy film actors to the big screen, he was first and foremost a businessman. And a very shrewd one at that. His business acumen and eye for the next subject or the perfect actor for his team also came at a cost. Yes, money. For while the Carry On films were incredibly successful, making stars of many brilliant actors, these actors sadly did not receive the monetary reward most would argue they were due. 

While the regular team of actors were pretty much guaranteed two feature films a year, made at specific times which allowed them to take on other work commitments, the pay was excruciatingly low. Ok, perhaps they were earning more than the average man or woman on the street, but considering there were never any repeat fees, they got a pretty raw deal. Peter Rogers often argued that it was up to the agents representing the artists to carve them a bigger slice of the action and that's possibly true. Yet there are also stories of actors asking for more money and never appearing in a Carry On film again.

While repeat viewings on television could not have been imagined during the peak period of Carry On production, there should surely have been something written into the actors' contracts to take the possibility into account. Kenneth Williams made frequent reference in his diaries to how wealthy both Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas became as a result of their producer/director partnership and while to a certain extent we say good for them, it must have been galling for the stars that helped create such enduring success.

Two things in particular really get under my skin on this subject. One is that we hear stories of how legendary performers like Charles Hawtrey and Joan Sims ended their lives in relative poverty and in pretty sad states. Without probing public figures' private finances, this just isn't on. The oft repeated story of Joan plucking up the courage to write to Rogers for a loan makes me angry and the anger doesn't dissipate each time I hear the tale. 

It also irks that the women were always (with the exception of guest star Elke Sommer) paid significantly less than the men. While Sid and Kenneth received £5000 or thereabouts per picture, the likes of Joan and Hattie were lucky to receive half that amount. Was their contribution half as important? Did they make less of an impact than the men? Most certainly not. It's nothing short of outrageous. 

Anyway, I'm drifting off subject. Strangely, whenever I heard Peter Rogers interviewed about the Carry Ons, I often felt he came across as being pretty monosyllabic. He was never the colourful character on camera that you would expect to be behind such a set of colourful, wonderful films. That's just my take anyway. Despite these rather uncomfortable issues, there is no doubt that without Mr Carry On himself, there would not have been these amazing, hilarious British films we all hold so dear. 

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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Remembering Joan

My comedy heroine Joan Sims passed away on this day back in 2001. I can't quite believe we lost this terrific actress fourteen years ago. Through her countless screen performances, it thankfully feels as if she is very much still with us today.

It's no secret that Joan is my favourite actress. She was a gifted performer with a huge range, capable of the rudest of comedy to the most tear-jerking drama and everything in between. She always came across as hugely passionate, great fun and so many of her performances just came jumping out of the screen. Joan quite simply had a natural born talent to entertain.

I remember sitting in my car when they announced on the radio that Joan has passed away. It came as a terrible shock. She was very much the last of her generation of legendary Carry On regulars. Although we sadly didn't see much of her in her later years due to a range of issues, she made a triumphant return to the limelight in the late 1990s thanks to the publication of her autobiography and her glorious appearance in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells. 

It remains a crying shame that Joan Sims was taken from us at the age of just 71. It was clear that she was still talented and full of fun with a lot more to give. I love it that she went out on top though, everyone wanting her again, realising just what a wonderful actress she was. She may never have achieved the dizzying acting heights of contemporaries such as Judi Dench or Maggie Smith. 

She may never have made it big at the National Theatre or starred in big Hollywood movies and she may never have been made Dame Joan Sims. 

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. We all love her, we love her performances in the Carry Ons and we cherish her legacy as a fantastically gifted comedy actress. 

I'll be raising a glass to Joan tonight and toasting her memory. God Bless you Joan!

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Oh Hello! The story of Charles Hawtrey

Welsh actor Jamie Rees is bringing his hit one man show to the Edinburgh Festival this August. Jamie plays Carry On legend Charles Hawtrey, bringing him back to life in the play Oh Hello!

The show charts Hawtrey's life from a leading light in British theatre, through the high points of his career in silent films and working with Will Hay. Of course the Carry Ons are a mainstay of the play and from the reviews I have read, Rees will bring to life some of Hawtrey's legendary spats with fellow actor Kenneth Williams.

The show is being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe by the Torch Theatre Company who have released the following information on the show:

Charles Hawtrey was one of the leading lights of the Carry On Film franchise and Oh Hello! is a one man show about Hawtrey’s life both on and off screen. Bubbly, energetic and extremely funny, Hawtrey was one of the best known comedy actors of the 40s, 50s and 60s but as his career waned, so his behaviour became more drunken, promiscuous and eccentric, losing him many friends.
In Oh Hello!, Pembrokeshire performer Jamie Rees (who is also The Torch Theatre’s Marketing Manager) plays the little man of the Carry Ons, regaling stories of 50 years in the film industry working with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and starring in films including The Ghost of St Michael’s, Passport to Pimlico and many, many Carry On films. Hawtrey made over 100 film and TV performances in his career, a great many more than most of his Carry On film colleagues. This was a fact of which he obsessed and his status in the Carry Onfilms was a huge concern for him, which led him to eventually fall out with the Carry On producers and anyone associated with the franchise. But while his spats with Kenneth Williams are well known, his true nemesis in life was that of the bottle. Jamie comments:
Hawtrey was a gay alcoholic through the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him. Homosexuality was actually against the law for much of his life so it must have been horribly difficult. There’s no doubting he could be a horrible man, especially when he was drunk, but when he was sober and on the top of his game he was funny, intelligent and a very good actor with an infectious personality. Oh Hello! is a classic roller-coaster story and one, I hope, that Edinburgh audiences will be able to identify with and enjoy.”

it certainly sounds like a show worth seeing! If anyone is lucky enough to get tickets and see the show this August, please do let me know! 

You can visit the Torch Theatre website here and you can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamRees 

Oh Hello! is on at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh from 7-31 August. 

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Are you a Carry On fan?

Do you love Carry On films? Probably a daft question to ask if you are reading this blog! I have decided to start a new regular feature for Carry On Blogging and I need your help.

If you are a Carry On fan, love the films, the stars and the spin offs, I want to hear from you. All you have to do is get in touch with some info and you will feature in your very own blog. All I need from you is your name, where you're from and the answers to the following questions:

What was the first Carry On film you ever saw?

Who is your favourite Carry On actor and why?

Who is your favourite Carry On actress and why?

Who is your favourite Carry On supporting actor?

Have you ever visited any Carry On film locations?

Have you ever met any Carry On actors?

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia?

Finally, what's your all time favourite Carry On film?

If you want to get in touch and feature in a Carry On Fan blog, please email your answers to the following address: carryonfan15@gmail.com 

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Are you part of the Pinewood Alumni? Get in touch!

This might be a long shot but I am going to give it a try. I would dearly love to feature an interview or the answers to a few questions from someone who has worked on the Carry On films at some point in their life or has a connection to someone who has.

This needn't necessarily be an actor of course, although any who would like to be involved are more than welcome! One of the main reasons I set up this blog was to highlight the roles that some of the less well-known people played in making the Carry On series of films such an enduring success. I hope my passion for them all comes over in my blogs.

Anyway, if any of the actors, supporting players, or the legion of people who worked so hard and professionally behind the scenes fancy getting in touch and answering a few questions, I'd just love to hear from you. I would also really love to hear from anyone connected to one of the stars or crew: friends, family members, whatever. 

In return for the insights of any of the above, I'm more than happy to make a contribution to a chosen charity. 

If you would like to contact me, the blog email address is carryonfan15@gmail.com 

Thank you!

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Carry On Fan of The Week

Last week I sent out a call for any Carry On fans who fancied being part of a blog, sharing their thoughts on the wonderful Carry On series. First up is a great friend who loves a right good Carry On! You can find her on Twitter @FutureUrban. 

What was the first Carry On film you ever saw?

Difficult to remember but probably something like Carry On Regardless

Who is your favourite Carry On actor and why?

Kenneth Connor. He has so many nuances to him: he can be vulnerable but invincible and there is a sense of the Everyman about him too.

Who is your favourite Carry On actress and why?

I love Hattie Jacques; she brings an understated comic element to her roles and is vibrant and sensual.

Who is your favourite Carry On supporting actor?

Bernard Bresslaw I think. Hapless and funny.

Have you ever visited any Carry On film locations?

Have you ever met any Carry On actors?

Sadly not

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia?

No, I imagine it's becoming rare now too.

Finally, what's your all time favourite Carry On film?

It varies between Screaming and Teacher

A big thank you to @FutureUrban for being our very first Carry On Fan of the Week! If you would like to have a go, please email your comments to carryonfan15@gmail.com 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Behind

I have been blogging an occasional series focusing on what I consider to be my favourite scenes in each of the thirty one Carry On films made. It's a tough challenge to set myself, particularly when I reach the films I'm rather less than keen on! Anyway, so far I've blogged about Sergeant, Nurse, Regardless, Camping, Loving, Convenience and Abroad.

Today I'm going to jump forward to the mid-1970s and to what I consider to be the last decent Carry On film ever made: Carry On Behind.

Much of Behind is fairly basic knock-about farce and an update on the format of Carry On Camping which had been a huge success several years early. Amidst all the obvious situations and near the knuckle treatment of sex and nudity there lies a little scene that elevates the whole film, providing a touching moment of warmth and and "real" acting. It of course features two of the best actors to ever grace a Carry On, Joan Sims and Peter Butterworth. 

Sadly, by this stage of the game, both Joan and Peter were finding themselves relegated to fairly minor supporting turns as the Carry Ons looked to the Confessions films for inspiration on what the British public wanted from a saucy comedy. Both actors certainly begin to look out of place in the film series at this stage although they salvage their reputations in the scene they share towards the end of Behind.

Joan, as harridan Daphne Barnes, finds herself reunited with her long lost husband Henry, played by Peter Butterworth. Henry has become a rather grubby odd-job man, working at the campsite Daphne comes to stay at with her daughter and son in law (Patsy Rowlands and Bernard Bresslaw). It is still ludicrous today to picture Joan as Patsy's mother, given the very small difference in their ages! Anyway, we'll gloss over that and move on to the scene itself.

While the rest of the campsite endure a rather dreadful evening at the opening of the new club house, Daphne and Henry reminisce over all times. As the rain pours down outside, they share some gentle comedy, with talk of her steak and kidney pudding as they play cards. Henry reveals that he had a big win on the pools and that he desperately wants Daphne back. It's fairly small, inconsequential scene but both actors tug at the heartstrings and the scene has such quality in the performances given by Joan and Peter that it really deserves to be in a better film. 

It reminds me very much of the scene Joan shared with Sid James at the end of the Brighton trip in Convenience. Both were beautifully played and nowadays I can't help but feel ever so slightly teary watching these comedy greats give their all now they are sadly all gone. 

So next time you see Carry On Behind in the schedules, look out for this wonderful little scene starring two of my greatest comedy heroes. 

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Kenneth Williams in The Beggars Opera

One of Kenneth Williams' first ever film roles turned out to be a less than happy experience for the young actor. Early on in his career, Kenneth struggled to find his niche. He spent years touring in tatty rep productions, up and down the country and often considered giving up acting altogether.

As a young man, Kenneth was incredibly idealistic and earnest, as his diaries ably demonstrate. He was left wing and full of enthusiasm for liberal, modern thinking theatre companies. Quite a contrast to the older, more successful Kenneth! The early 1950s saw Kenneth finally break into films, with agent Peter Eade working hard to find interesting roles for his client. 

Kenneth was thrilled to land a role in The Beggars Opera, a film produced by Herbert Wilcox and Laurence Olivier and directed by Peter Brook. It starred Olivier, Dorothy Tutin and Stanley Holloway. Kenneth had a small role as Jack the Pot Boy although much to the actor's disgust he was actually dubbed in the final cut. We can only imagine what an indignity this would be to the young Kenneth. Thankfully greater things were to come for him in the not too distant future. A clip from the film, featuring a brief performance from Kenneth can be found on Youtube:

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Whatever Happened To ... Patricia Franklin?

I have been running an occasional blog series looking at some of the lesser known supporting actors who graced so many Carry On films over the years. I think it is time to focus on some of these terrific British character actors and attempt to find out a bit more about them.

Today I have decided to look into the career of an actress who appeared in five Carry Ons during the late 1960s and 1970s: Patricia Franklin. Patricia made her first cameo in Carry On Camping back in late 1968. She popped up for a scene with Derek Francis and Charles Hawtrey as a heavily pregnant young woman who lived on a farm. Unfortunately misunderstandings follow which result in poor Terry Scott being shot in the backside. Moving on...

Patricia's next appearance came in Carry On Loving, released in 1970. Another cameo, she features in a hilarious scene as part of a couple who visit Kenneth Williams' Percival Snooper for marriage guidance. Patricia forms a great double act with Bill Maynard in this scene. We next see Patricia in Carry On Girls in 1973. This is probably her most substantial role in the series, playing June Whitfield's right-hand woman Rosemary. Together they take on Sid's Councillor Fiddler when he plans to bring a beauty contest to the dreary seaside resort of Fircombe. The line "Rosemary! Get the candle!" is the punchline in a wonderful bra burning sequence featuring the glorious Patsy Rowlands.

Patricia Franklin next played Jack Douglas' wife in Carry on Behind. She joins Liz Fraser at a health farm only to turn up at the campsite towards the end of the film to find Jack and Windsor Davies in a compromising position in their caravan with a scantily clad Carol Hawkins and Sherrie Hewson! Patricia returned to Carry On the following year for her last appearance in the series, in a very brief role as the canteen cook in the dreadful Carry On England.

So what else has Patricia Franklin done in her acting career? Well Carry On Camping was her first screen credit. Patricia has gone on to appear in the film version of Bless This House as well as a wide range of television series such as The Sweeney, Silent Witness, Hazell and several different roles in The Bill. Most recently she has appeared in Black Books and all three of Edgar Wright's films - Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and The World's End. 

Patricia Franklin was born in London in 1942 and continues to act as well as appearing at film conventions. She is married to Australian dramatist Frank Hatherley and together they have a daughter, the guitarist Charlotte Hatherley.

Patricia will be appearing at the London Film Convention on 25 July. 

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The Original Carry On Forever on BBC iPlayer

The original Carry On Forever documentary is now available to view on the BBC iPlayer. The short film was produced for the BBC Film Night programme and went behind the scenes of the latest Carry On film, Up The Jungle.

As well as some priceless behind the scenes footage of making a Carry On, the programme features tongue in cheek interviews with the stars of the film, Sidney James, Terry Scott, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Bresslaw and newcomer Jacki Piper. The film's director, the legendary Gerald Thomas, is also interviewed and talks about the ongoing success of the film series. 

It's an interesting and very rare chance to see some of our favourite Carry On stars at work and at play. You can view it here 

Here's hoping the ITV documentary of the same name from earlier this year will soon be made available on DVD!

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Carry On Barbara

It feels to me like Barbara Windsor splits opinion in the Carry On camp. On the one hand we cherish her because she is one of the precious few "regular" team members still with us today and as she enjoys a high profile, she guarantees the Carry On films continued publicity.

On the other hand however, some loyal fans do not rate her performances in the films or dislike certain other aspects of her persona or life away from the studios. What can't be denied though is that despite only appearing in nine of the original films (ten including That's Carry On), her personality is so strong that the image of bubbly Babs will never fade.

My own personal view is that Barbara should be admired for many things. She's a tough cookie who has endured while enduring many knocks in life, both personal and professional. She is undoubtedly a grafter and dedicated to a life in showbiz. She is also one of all too few performers these days who are good old fashioned variety turns, she can do a bit of everything can our Babs. Although I'm no fan of EastEnders, she should be commended for reinvigorating her career and the way the British public viewed her through her longrunning role as Peggy Mitchell.

What bothers me a bit is that her image has always dominated over other, wonderful Carry On women. She appeared in relatively few of the films compared to the likes of Hattie Jacques or Joan Sims, yet always seemed to get the headlines or the kudos from the press and the public. I always preferred Hattie and Joan in the films anyway, but that's not to knock Barbara's efforts.

I think it was unfair for a certain film producer to suggest that Barbara was nothing more than a bosom and a joke. She was and is a lot more than that, even if some of her (particularly later) Carry On roles are pretty dreadful. My own favourite of Barbara's roles in the series is her very first, Carry On Spying. It is a very assured performance, managing to be both the sex symbol, play a leading role and portray a certain innocence that was lacking from later roles. 

Barbara was probably part of the most famous and instantly recognisable Carry On scenes in history - the infamous bra-popping moment in Carry On Camping. I think it was that scene, more than any other that set the tone for all that followed. It also secured Barbara's place as a British icon and national treasure.

While she is certainly not my favourite actor in the Carry On team, and those bingo adverts drive me barmy, I do have a lot of respect for Barbara Windsor. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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Sunday, 21 June 2015

What A Carry On, It's Father's Day!

As today is Father's Day I thought I would have a dig about and see what photos I could find on a Father's Day theme with Carry On connections. Let's start off with a familiar photo - Kenneth Connor with his son Jeremy in Carry On Nurse.

Next up, one of Kenneth's co-stars from Nurse, Bill Owen with his son Tom:

Now a lovely photo of Carry On legend Sidney James, pictured at home with his wife Valerie and his children:

And next up, Carry On actor Julian Holloway with his dad, the late, great British actor, Stanley Holloway and his mother, Violet:

Next we have a lovely photo of actor Sean Pertwee with his dad, the late Jon Pertwee. Jon of course played cameo roles in three Carry Ons - Cleo, Cowboy and Screaming.

I'm not sure which of Bernard Bresslaw's sons this is, but it's definitely the wonderful Bernie and his wife, Betty:

Next up, a lovely picture of JIm Dale with his wife and son from his first marriage, Toby:

Finally, another photo of Stanley Holloway with his son Julian. I couldn't resist sharing it!

Sadly, I couldn't track down any photos of Peter Butterworth with his son Tyler. If anyone has any to share, please do! 

A Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! Carry On!

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Saturday, 20 June 2015

What a Carry On at the London Film Convention!

The London Film Convention is new to me but this event is now in it's 40th year. My attention has been drawn to this by one of my lovely Twitter followers (thanks Michael!) The Convention gives fans of classic film and television a chance to meet stars, have photos taken with them and go home with an autograph as a lovely memento.

The next Convention is due to take place on Saturday 25th July and although it's early days, there have already been some guests announced with strong Carry On connections! Leading the field is Carry On and British film legend, the lovely Liz Fraser! Liz of course starred in four Carry Ons - Regardless, Cruising, Cabby and Behind.

Also making a (very rare) appearance will be Carol Hawkins, star of Abroad, Behind and several Carry On Laughing shows. Joining Liz and Carol so far are two other Carry On actors - Ann Firbank, who appeared in the classic Carry On Nurse and Patricia Franklin who had supporting roles in Camping, Loving, Girls, Behind and England.

Their website promises that even more names will be announced before the event and I can't wait to see who else will be appearing! I will definitely try to get along on the day.

The London Film Convention will be taking place on Saturday 25th July, between 10am-4pm at Central Hall, Westminster, in Central London. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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