Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Carry On Fan of the Week: Me!

For several months now I have been sending out the call for any of you loyal Carry On Blogging readers to submit answers to some questions explaining why you're a Carry On fan. I've suddenly realised I haven't answered these questions yet myself, so here goes!

What was the first Carry On film you ever saw?

The first Carry On film I ever saw was, I think, Carry On Matron, many years ago when I was about seven years old. While browsing the bargain bin in my local Woolworths (remember them?) I came upon some video cassettes (again, remember them?!) on the Cinema Club label. I think there were reduced as nobody wanted them - the Carry Ons were yet to come back into fashion at this point. I seem to recall buying Matron and Up The Jungle and watching Matron first. That was it as far as I was concerned. A lot of the innuendos went way over my head but I loved the pantomime performances and still do. 

Who is your favourite Carry On actor and why?

I'm torn between two actors here. My favourite personality is and always will be Kenneth Williams. I loved his appearances on Parkinson and other talk shows and I've watched his Audience With programme far too many times. He was quite simply a genius, a gifted actor and an amazing raconteur. I adore his performances in Round The Horne, Willo The Wisp and of course, the Carry Ons. His diaries are also close to my heart. In terms of comedy actors, I must also mention the fantastic Peter Butterworth. He appeared in many Carry Ons, never receiving true star status or high billing but in my view he was just one of the best. His supporting turns are sublime and he had a natural flair for comedy. He never ever missed an opportunity for a bit of comedy business. 

Who is your favourite Carry On actress and why?

It goes without saying that it has to be the glorious Joan Sims. I love the woman. She never gave a bad performance. Her roles in the series are all completely different showing her incredible versatility. Joan mastered everything the Carry On team could throw at her, from gym mistress Miss Allcock and Calpurnia in Cleo to the nagging Emily Bung in Screaming and the outrageous Lady Ruff Diamond in Khyber, Joan could do it all. Another talented actress who never really received the accolades she deserved, I do believe Joan could have been a major star at the National Theatre or the RSC. Sadly her private life never mirrored the joy she gave to so many over the years and still does to this very day. She will always be my absolute favourite.

Who is your favourite Carry On supporting actor?

Again, I don't have to think long and hard about this one. I adore Patsy Rowlands, however brief her appearances are in the Carry Ons. She always gives stunning performances, particularly Miss Withering in Convenience and Mildred Bumble in Girls. Patsy was a star of stage and screen for decades, never out of work and beloved by her peers. A Carry On was always the better for her popping up for a few scenes and again, the quality of her acting raised the bar in many a later series entry. A shame she was often restricted to such brief supporting turns, but I treasure each of her nine Carry On roles.

Have you ever visited any Carry On film locations?

About ten years ago I toured round several of the locations. I made it to the old entrance of the amazing Pinewood Studios; Pinewood Green and Pinewood Close; Black Park, Maidenhead Town Hall; the church in Denham (Carry On Matron); the parade of shops used in Carry On Behind (Farnham Common) and Windsor and Eton Railway Station (Regardless and Loving). Windsor is also full of locations used during the filming of Cabby. I would dearly love to one day make it inside Pinewood Studios. I live in hope!

Have you ever met any Carry On actors?

I have been lucky enough to meet a few! In 2008 I met Sheila Hancock during a book signing event at the National Theatre. In 2012 I was lucky enough to meet the legendary Fenella Fielding at an event to celebrate the wonderful Carry On Screaming. Although I didn't actually meet him properly, earlier this year I was lucky enough to take in Jim Dale's amazing one man show in London. Last month I also met Amanda Barrie and Anita Harris at the London Film Convention. Both ladies were fab - warm, welcoming and really friendly.

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia?

I have a few Carry On mugs at the back of my kitchen cupboards that I could never get rid of! I also have a signed photo of Joan Sims that I was lucky enough to receive back in the late 1990s. Also in my living room are lovely signed prints from Amanda Barrie, Fenella Fielding and Anita Harris. Sadly I don't have any props or costumes from the films but I imagine they are very rare these days.

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

As I counted down my top ten Carry Ons earlier this year, this will come as no surprise. My all time favourite is Carry On Cabby. Although it does not feature the likes of Sims, Butterworth or Williams, I just adore the story, the soundtrack, the wonderful Glab Cab girls and the touching, heartfelt relationship between Charlie and Peggy Hawkins. Sid and Hattie give brilliant performances and I can watch it again and again and again. Superb!

So there you have it! If you would like to be my next Carry On Fan of the Week, all you have to do is answer these questions and submit them to I look forward to hearing all about your favourites!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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