Friday, 9 October 2015

Whatever Happened To ... Ameila Bayntun?

Amelia Bayntun is yet another instantly recognisable face from the rogues gallery that made up the gang of recurring supporting actors in the Carry On films. Amelia played very small roles in several of the films but her characters were always memorable. As with so many of these wonderful performers, little is known or has ever been written about Amelia.

So what do we know? Well Amelia Bayntun was born in Bristol on the 31st March 1919. She made her professional debut in 1937 when she joined the Bristol Unity Players. During the Second World War, Amelia toured with Stars in Battledress, performing in countries such as Italy and Austria, entertaining troops until the end of hostilities in 1945. This was often a deeply rewarding but also very dangerous gig for an actor. 

Amelia Bayntun had her first major success in 1960 when she joined the cast of Sparrers Can't Sing on the London stage. The play originated at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Royal, Stratford East and the film version made a star of Barbara Windsor. Two years later, another theatre role came her way when she played the role of Mrs Blitzein in Blitz! This was a Lionel Bart musical which focussed on the Jewish community in the East End of London during the war. It co-starred Bob Grant (later to appear in On The Buses) and future playwright Tom Kempinski (who was once married to Carry On actress Margaret Nolan). Amelia played the role of Mrs Blitzein for over 500 performances. 

Most of Amelia's career was on television and in film. While never achieving huge success or big roles, she did appear in some well known films and television programmes. Her earliest television credit came with three episodes of Emergency Ward 10 in 1960. Over the course of the next decade, Bayntun went on to appear in two episodes of the Wednesday Play; Mrs Crupp in a 1966 production of David Copperfield;  Dixon of Dock Green; Z Cars and The Dick Emery Show. She also had a recurring role as Ada in the series Albert! which ran from 1971 - 1972.

On the big screen, Amelia Bayntun had small roles in the James Bond film Thunderball in 1965 and the children's classic The Railway Children in 1970. Her biggest film successes came with five supporting turns in the Carry On films. Amelia's most famous Carry On part was probably her first, as Joan's mother Mrs Fussey in Camping, released in 1968. This was followed with a blink and you'll miss her appearance as "Corset Lady" in Carry On Loving in 1970. The following year, Amelia had an uncredited role as Mrs Spragg in At Your Convenience, catching an eye full of Vic Spanner in his pants! 

Later in 1971, Amelia played the hard of hearing Mrs Jenkins in a very funny scene opposite Terry Scott's Dr Prodd in Carry On Matron. Amelia Bayntun's final Carry On appearance came in the Spring of 1972. She played Mrs Tuttle, the over-protective mother of Charles Hawtrey. Appearing at the start of the film, she sends Eustace off on his package holiday, telling him always to put plenty of paper down first! 

Sadly that was it for Amelia and Carry On. She was a memorable addition to each of the films in which she appeared. For reasons that remain unknown, Amelia did not make any further acting appearances after 1973. And there the trail goes cold until her death many years later.

Amelia Bayntun passed away in January 1988 in Islington, North London. She was 68 years old. 

If anyone knows anything more about the life and career of Amelia Bayntun, do get in touch. 

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