Sunday, 31 July 2016

My Carry On Blogging Year so far


It's not normally very British to blow your own trumpet (Matron!) however I wanted to do a little blog post as a round up of Carry On Blogging highlights so far in 2016. It's been quite a year and I've loved every minute of it!

I'm thrilled that the blog has now received nearly 160,000 page visits since I set it up in March 2015! July this year was the most visited month so far with nearly 17,000 views!

The blog Twitter account now has over 5,500 followers and 200 of your have "liked" my Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who tweets, follows, likes and comments - it's always great to hear from you!

I marked what would have been Kenneth Williams' 90th birthday in February with a special week of blog posts celebrating the life of the great man.


I have published a series of blogs covering each of Joan Sims' 24 Carry On performances, giving my own opinions on the roles she played.

I have started a project of blogs running through some of the lesser known Carry On supporting actors in an A - Z feature.

I have cast the net out far and wide for a range of guest blog posts to bring in different opinions on the Carry On films. I have several lined up for the next few weeks so stay tuned for that!

I visited the London Film Convention earlier in the Spring where I had the great pleasure of meeting Carry On actors Jacki Piper and Fenella Fielding. You can read about that here 


One of the biggest developments this year has been the start of my Carry On Blogging interview series. So far I have interviewed several Carry On actors, authors and interesting folks connected to the series and British comedy:

- I interviewed the lovely Angela Douglas - you can read that here 

- I caught up with the delightful Valerie Leon to discuss her new Forever Carrying On show - you can read that here 

- I interviewed the wonderful Jacki Piper - you can read that here 

- Carry On writer and historian Robert Ross answered my questions and celebrated twenty years since the publication of The Carry On Companion here 

- I learned more about Steve Lilly's wonderful British comedy art work when I interviewed him - read that here


- I asked the brilliant Simon Sheridan all about his book Keeping The British End Up and the saucier side of British film comedy here

- I found out more about the fantastic Sid's Place blog in an interview with Stuart Ball - you can read that here

- I recently interviewed screen legend Fenella Fielding about her new audio book of memoirs - you can catch up with that here  

- Only the other day I published an interview with Odysseas from the superb Art and Hue, celebrating the best of British film and television in Pop Art! You can read that here

And there's plenty more to come! I'll be blogging interviews with the lovely Judy Matheson and Peter Reed from BBC Radio 4 Extra over the next few days with hopefully a few other surprises up my blogging sleeve.

A huge thanks to everyone who's kindly taken the time to answer all my questions - it has brightened many a day and been completely enjoyable. 

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I only do this as a hobby and your kind comments and observations keep me going even when the chips are down and I think I'm too tired to Carry On! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Carry On For Me by James Briggs


In the latest guest blog for Carry On Blogging, James Briggs writes about how he discovered the Carry Ons and his favourite Carry On actor, the late great Kenneth Williams...
The Carry On films have always been an extremely important part of my life and there is not a time when I don’t remember them being around. Being seventeen years old the carry on films had finished long before I was born and so I never had the experience of watching the films as they were released or seeing many of the cast members alive. My mother is a very big fan of the carry on franchise and so would show me the films as I was growing up and very quickly they became a ‘go to’ film series for when we wanted to sit down and watch a film together. There was one film in the series that I was not able to watch until much later on of course and that was ‘Emmannuelle’ due to its risqué nature. 


With over thirty films in the franchise there was something for all to enjoy and two personal favourites of mine have always been ‘Carry On Teacher’ and ‘Carry On At Your Convenience’. I may only be seventeen but mentally I think like a seventy year old and so the story and setting for ‘Carry On Teacher’ is exactly what I believe schools should be like today. The authority the teachers have over the children is strict but behind the closed doors of the staff room they are relaxed and also rather playful. I also feel there is something very fitting about the teachers wearing a cap and gown showing they are not to be trifled with. Some pupils in today’s society feel they can simply mess around and know they will not receive a strict punishment but in the times of ‘Carry On Teacher’ they had the ‘Kane’ to contend with.  There can be no forgetting the iconic moment during ‘Ten Green Bottles’ when Charles Hawtrey’s piano collapses in front of the inspectors. 

A polar opposite to this film is my other favourite Carry On film ‘Carry On At Your Convenience’. In my opinion the roles within this film are cast to perfection. Kenneth Williams as the manager of bathroom ceramics factory ‘W.C. Boggs & Son’ is very well cast and shows off his love for tradition and his longing to ‘let himself go’ and go on a works outing for the first time. Of course however, this would not be a classic Carry On film without Sid James. In this film he plays Sid Plummer a site foreman who finds out he has an exceptionally clever Parrot who helps him with the horse racing bets he places. It is a feel good film that shows a powerful message in a way that allows the audience to understand it yet have a great time while watching. 


Being a great lover of music too, the Carry On franchise does not disappoint on that front with some of the most famous film themes to be composed. The various composers Bruce Montgomery, Eric Rogers and Max Harris composed music that suited the films extremely well and gave the audience a real feel for the story. It also shows the playful nature of the films. Many of the films soundtracks used the bases of famous tunes everyone knew and rewrote them to fit in with the film. A clear example of this is in ‘Carry On Camping’ with the inclusion of ‘One Man Went To Mo’. 

Of all the Carry On cast there is one actor who influenced me the most and that is Kenneth Williams. Kenneth Williams was often regarded as being an overly camp actor but this was not just the case. There was so much more to Kenneth Williams and I felt I was able to relate largely to him as a person. After reading his published diaries I could see the ‘true’ Kenneth Williams and allowed me to relate to a whole new side of his.  His love of years gone by and writing in his diary rang true for me. Kenneth Williams is that one person I would have loved to meet but he sadly passed away ten years before I was born and so I never got to see him when he was alive but the wealth of interviews of Kenneth Williams available on the internet of him talking help to keep him alive and allow a whole new generation to find out about this true legend.  


So there we have it that is how I discovered the Carry On films and how Kenneth Williams has and still plays a big part in influencing me as a person. I only hope that when the Carry On films make a return later this year under the leadership of Jonathan Sothcott they will be done very well and encapsulate the camaraderie and spirit included in the traditional films without the use of bad language or vulgar behaviour. 

Many thanks once again to James for submitting such a great guest blog. You can follow James on Twitter here 

And if you fancy writing a guest blog about your favourite Carry On actor or any aspect of the series and its stars, please email me at 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Carry On Blogging Interview: Art & Hue


I recently caught up with the lovely Odysseas from Art & Hue, the company which has created the wonderful Carry On pop art prints you may have seen on the blog. I asked Odysseas all about the Carry On films, the inspiration for the brilliant pop art and what it's like to work at the legendary Pinewood Studios...

- First of all what made you want to become an artist and can you tell me a little more about the inspiration for your Art and Hue pop art?

My background is graphic design, mainly in the fashion industry and most recently on a freelance basis for small to large businesses. Whilst it's always satisfying to work on a client's brief and successfully interpret their feelings into a solid brand identity, I felt I needed a creative outlet through which I could concentrate on art that was driven by my own personal interests and aesthetic. I'd been creating halftone designs since 2006 for various projects and in 2014 decided to create and launch Art & Hue as a collection of pop art that spoke to me, and hopefully other people! At the moment I'm focusing on Mid-Century subjects such as Jet Set travel and architecture and more recently, classic and retro film and TV.

- I have blogged about your Carry On collection - why did you choose to focus on the earlier films in the series? 

Whilst it's before my time, I feel drawn to the 1960s which seemed an incredibly exciting era of tremendous change and innovation, from the birth of modern music and fast fashion, to social upheaval and progress. One of my favourite shows from the era was The Avengers with Patrick Macnee as John Steed - it was a thoroughly modern show, ahead of it's time, with a female equal who could compete with, and out-do, men. I had the pleasure of going through the archives of the show at Pinewood Studios which is where I spotted posters of the earlier Carry On films. The first 12 Carry On films were produced by Anglo Amalgamated before the franchise moved to Rank - I have a soft-spot for the earlier films as they're charming, gentler, and with a far less blatant innuendo than the later films. Plus they're important to show the progression of the films development as well as societal changes as to what humour was deemed acceptable at the time. The writing on the earlier films had to be more subtle to get around the censors.


- You recently launched a new set of prints based on Joanna Lumley's career. Can you tell me more about that project? 

I've always been an admirer of Joanna's work, from her Bond film appearance and The New Avengers to Sapphire & Steel and of course Absolutely Fabulous. After launching The Avengers pop art collection, I considered taking a look at The New Avengers as Joanna Lumley was fantastic as Purdey but then I discovered that there were images of Joanna in the Pinewood archives of her appearance in a little-known film called "The Breaking of Bumbo". Never released in cinemas at the time, it was filmed after her appearance in the Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" but before "The New Avengers. She looked great with back-combed 60s hair and I've nicknamed the pop art collection "Andy Warhol meets Patsy Stone" as you could imagine Patsy scaring Warhol into creating pop art of her.

- As part of your research you have often mentioned using the archives at Pinewood Studios - what is it like to work at Pinewood?

It's wonderful to visit the archives at Pinewood as you can feel the history in the walls of the place. You can walk down Goldfinger Avenue, where the Aston Martin sped around in the film, see where the cab forecourt was in Carry on Cabby (where the cabs drove around in a circle) and the Carry On hospital corridors, as well as seeing gardens from Carry On Henry and the grand white building that featured in Up The Khyber and as Dr Nookie's clinic in Carry On Again Doctor. The archives themselves are in a heavily secured building with climate controlled rooms to preserve the original film cans and documents so it can be quite chilly, even in July!

- You recently created art work based on the classic comedy film School for Scoundrels, even presenting the star of the film (Janette Scott) with one of your prints. What was that like? 

Elstree Studios arranged a screening of School for Scoundrels at the actual location where the original iconic tennis matches, between Terry-Thomas and Ian Carmichael, were filmed. It used to be a private members club but became a hotel which is now owned by Laura Ashley Hotels. The screening was outdoors on the very spot where the tennis court used to be, and after the screening there was a Q&A between Janette Scott and Morris Bright. Morris is the chairman at Elstree Studios and organised the whole event. He's been good friends with Janette Scott for many years (as well as her mother Thora Hird who he wrote a book about). It was wonderful to meet Janette, who was absolutely adorable, and it was great to hear how the hotel was exactly the same as she remembered it from 1959 when School for Scoundrels was filmed.

- Why do you think the Carry Ons are still so popular after all these years? 

I suppose there's obviously a nostalgia in remembering simpler times but I think we all grow up with the Carry Ons and pleasantly discover more about them as we age. When we're young children, we enjoy the slapstick but as we get older we can appreciate the innuendo and humour that would have gone straight over our heads as kids. Each new viewing can reveal a fresh detail, even if it's having fun spotting locations or continuity mistakes. Ultimately, I think the Carry Ons endure because of the performances - sometimes the script wasn't THAT funny, but Sid, Joan, Kenneth, Charles, Hattie, Babs, the whole gang were such great performers they could make any line work. Looking back it's a shame they weren't as well looked after as they could have been by the production as it really was the great cast that made the films the lasting successes they've become.

- As an artist, why do you think the original Carry On poster art was so successful? 

I adore the first few posters of the Carry On films with the Mid-Century graphic illustrations on Carry On Nurse, Teacher, Cruising, etc but no-one knows who the illustrator was - if any of your readers know, do let me know! There's no record apparently of who was commissioned to illustrate the original posters which is a shame. It was a pleasure to be able to work on them to then offer the artwork in a choice of three sizes and 16 colours, so a Carry On fan can have artwork of their favourite films in colours to suit their home. 


- Do you have any more projects in the pipeline? Can you tell me anything about them? 

There are several collections on the way, either in the planning stages or ready to launch once all the paperwork's in place. I can't say what's coming just yet other than there are some new 1960s-inspired collections on the way that I'm excited to share, featuring iconic film, TV, and cultural influencers from the era. 

- Who is your favourite Carry On star and why?

That really is an impossible question to answer! It's the combination of Sid, Joan, Hattie, Charles, Kenneths, Babs, Bernard, the whole cast, that makes the films so successful. If I had to choose just one, I'd have to say Joan Sims - she was wonderful at whatever age in every Carry on film she was in, from the young nurse onwards.

- Finally, which is your favourite Carry On film in the series and why? 

Another tricky question! I have to say Carry On Cleo - I loved the film as a child and it still stands up to repeated viewing with great lines and performances, plus who could resist the lavish Pinewood sets originally intended for Liz Taylor! 

Thanks again to Odysseas for taking the time to answer my questions! You can visit the Art & Hue website here 

And a big thank you to Odysseas for letting me share these wonderful photos from Pinewood:



And you can also follow Art & Hue on Twitter

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

What a Carry On at the London Film Convention!

The London Film Convention is now in its 43rd year.  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 17th September and although it's early days, there have already been some guests announced with strong Carry On connections! Leading the field is Carry On, James Bond and Hammer Horror legend, the lovely Valerie Leon! Valerie of course starred in six Carry Ons: Up The Khyber, Camping, Again Doctor, Up The Jungle, Matron and Girls. She also took the lead role in the classic horror film Blood From The Mummy's Tomb and appeared opposite two James Bonds - Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again. 

Also flying the Carry On flag will be fan favourite Margaret Nolan. Margaret is well known for her many years in the best of British comedy and drama in both film and television. Margaret got her big break in films playing Dink opposite Sean Connery in Goldfinger, also appearing in the classic title sequence. She went on to star in six Carry Ons - Cowboy, Henry, At Your Convenience, Matron, Girls and Dick.

Also attending will be the original Carry On girl, Shirley Eaton. Bond girl Shirley starred in Sergeant, Nurse and Constable as well as appearing in the very first Doctor film and the likes of The Naked Truth, What A Carve Up and Dentist On The Job. 


I'm sure more guests will be announced soon and I'll do my best to keep you up to date! 

The London Film Convention will be taking place on Saturday 17th September, between 10am-5pm at Central Hall, Westminster, in Central London. You can find out more by visiting their website here

If you attend this event please do get in touch and let me know how it went and who you met!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Friday, 29 July 2016

Joan Carries On ... As Jennifer Ffoukes-Sharpe


This blog is part of a new regular series on Carry On Blogging. I'm going to attempt to blog about each of Joan Sims' wonderful roles in the Carry On films. Joan was the most prolific of all the actresses involved in the series, clocking up 24 films. Indeed, only Kenneth Williams made more Carry Ons. 

Today I am going to write about one of Joan's later roles in the series. In 1976, just weeks after the sad death of Sid James, what remained of the Carry On team regrouped at Pinewood for Carry On England. Joining Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas and Peter Butterworth was Joan as Jennifer Ffoukes-Sharpe. Those four actors were the only members of the proper team to turn up from England and they probably ended up wishing they hadn't. England was a disaster with the Carry Ons attempting to keep pace with the racy Confessions films. New writers were brought in and a new composer created the musical score and none of it quite worked. Add to that several new faces who couldn't really play traditional Carry On comedy and it was no surprise that the film was withdrawn from most cinemas after a few days.


Sadly Carry On England isn't kind on Joan Sims. Her role wasn't even offered to her originally. The producers had television star Penelope Keith in mind for the role of Ffoukes-Sharpe however due to commitments on The Good Life, Keith turned it down. It baffles me that after almost twenty years and 22 films, Joan wasn't an automatic choice for England. In retrospect Joan probably wished she had not accepted the role at all. Jennifer is probably Joan's smallest and least significant Carry On role, practically a walk on in a sea of dreadful comic turns. Joan herself was quite disparaging about the film and loathed the tight-fitting army uniform she had to wear. Joan always craved a little glamour in the parts she played and England was far than glamorous.

While Kenneth Connor grabs most of the screen time, sadly such prize comedy actors like Sims and Peter Butterworth are shamefully restricted to a few scenes of little note. Joan's role mainly consists of painful romantics with returning star Windsor Davies. I can't even tell if Joan and Windsor have any screen chemistry as they hardly have any time together on screen with the likes of Patrick Mower and Judy Geeson dominating the action. One of the few funny moments involving Joan sees her character take on Peter's in an arm wrestling competition. Yes, that's as good as it gets.

Viewing it today, England is relatively tame and does not deserve its reputation as a dirty film. However at the time it was a step too far for the loyal Carry On audience. For the first time families could not go to the cinema to see a Carry On together. It really was the beginning of the end and a rare misstep from producer Peter Rogers. The idea of bringing in a whole host of new faces to freshen up the series is one thing, however at the same time Rogers and Thomas managed to overlook the talent they already had. 

As with the previous entry, Carry On Behind, England shamefully neglects Joan Sims' wonderful talents. After a break of a year, the team would reunite one final time in the original run of films. If you thought England was bad, you obviously haven't seen Carry On Emmannuelle!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook