It's an interesting question and one probably asked many times before now, but I'm asking it again. I guess the answer is very much down to personal preference. Everyone views these things differently. Most people would say the core Carry On team are those actors who are regularly billed in starring roles. Others would say it was down to the number of appearances a particular actor makes.
In the early days of Carry On, there was certainly less of a team. After all, the likes of Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth and Barbara Windsor did not join the gang until the mid-1960s - several years after the original series began. Most of us would see them as being in the top team, as it were.
I think we can all agree that the main team most definitely comprised the following actors: Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Jim Dale, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth and Barbara Windsor. However, there are several other actors who could claim to have their foot in the door.
Terry Scott immediately springs to mind. He had a supporting role in the very first film in the series, Sergeant, in 1958. He then returned to Pinewood some ten years later for a further six starring roles with the team, including several absolute classics - Khyber, Camping and Matron amongst them. He also appeared in several Christmas specials on television. Does Terry deserve a place in the main team?
Jack Douglas is another possibility. Although he only joined the team in 1971 with a brief cameo in Carry On Matron, he did go on to appear in every other Carry On film until the series ended in 1978. By Carry On Dick in 1974 he was a main attraction, getting his name on the poster and forming an effective double act with Kenneth Williams. Jack always counted himself as a part of the main team in those films. Would you agree?
Then there is that wonderful character actress, Patsy Rowlands. Patsy appeared in nine Carry Ons, beginning with Again Doctor in 1969. Another relative latecomer to the series, she most certainly made her mark. Patsy was an unusual case as she sometimes had quite significant roles in the films (MIldred Bumble in Girls; Miss Withering in Convenience) while other parts (for example Matron, Abroad, Dick) are blink and you'll miss her moments! In all her nine roles, Patsy was only billed as part of the main team on one occasion, for Convenience in 1971. Do you see her as being a main member of the gang?
There are other actors you could include in this. Peter Gilmore played small roles in eleven Carry Ons while Julian Holloway clocked up eight appearances. Would you consider acting legends June Whitfield and Leslie Phillips to be part of the team? What about regular supporting player Marianne Stone? I guess the options are endless!
I'd be interested to know what you all think!
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