Sunday, 17 July 2016
Who should have been more regular?
There were so many wonderful actors involved in the Carry Ons which is something we all must be very grateful for. They made the films the classics we still can't get enough of today. While the likes of Sid, Joan, Kenneth and Charles made many, many appearances in the series, there were lots of other actors that left us wanting more.
The first name that springs to mind is Patsy Rowlands. Although Patsy made nine Carry Ons between 1969 and 1975, she was often rather maddeningly restricted to very brief cameos. An incredibly talented performer with massive amounts of experience in other films, television and stage productions, I have never understood why Peter Rogers didn't sign Patsy up for both more films and bigger parts.
I also think it's a real shame it took Peter Rogers Productions fourteen years to invite June Whitfield back to Pinewood after she filmed Carry On Nurse in 1959. Her subsequent appearances in Carry On Abroad and Girls were both stand out roles for her and she steals many a scene. I know she was incredibly busy on television throughout the sixties and seventies but I struggle to believe that they didn't even attempt to woo her back for other Carry On films.
Bernard Cribbins is another big favourite of mine and I loved both his early Carry On appearances in Jack and Spying. Bernard is on record as saying he was offered the role of Hengist Pod in Carry On Cleo (which subsequently went to series regular Kenneth Connor) but turned it down as he didn't want to be part of a team. Fair enough but I wish he'd made more Carry Ons. Having said that, if he had perhaps Kenneth Connor would not have returned in the late 1960s and given us so many delightful character parts. Cribbins' ongoing involvement might have also meant Jim Dale would not have progressed to the romantic lead role he played so well.
While the likes of Fenella Fielding, Harry H Corbett and Frankie Howerd were all superb in the Carry Ons, I can't see them in other roles in the series as the parts they did play were so iconic and perfect for them. I do wish we'd seen more of Dilys Laye though. A natural comedy performer, she worked so well with the likes of Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Williams and of course, her best friend Joan Sims. Dilys herself made it clear many years after she had worked with the team that she wished she'd been asked to play in more of the films. Likewise, Liz Fraser became a favourite in the early 1960s but eventually took the advice of her agent and moved on to other projects, before an ill-advised return for a cameo in Carry On Behind in 1975. Reflecting on this years later, she admitted she may as well have appeared in more of the series. Amanda Barrie, who I have always adored, was another popular actress who could have become part of the regular team, instead opting to spend a season at the Bristol Old Vic. I guess it didn't harm her career after all!
I wish Julian Holloway had become Jim Dale's full time replacement in the early 1970s. He was great in the films he appeared in, however for some reason his big chance to become a regular was dashed after much of his role in Carry On Camping was cut. He was a great cheeky chappy and could have easily been the next generation Sid James. The likes of Angela Douglas and Jacki Piper both joined the team for four films and played similar parts. Both actresses were a natural fit and I always think it was a shame they didn't return to Pinewood after their original stints. Perhaps the roles they played so well would not have fitted in with later Carry On adventures.
I always think one of the greatest shames of the Carry On series was that the late great Beryl Reid only joined the gang for the abysmal last gasp of the original run, playing the cameo role of Mrs Valentine in Emmannuelle. Beryl was a great talent and I could easily have seen her fitting in seamlessly with some of the classic, earlier films in the series.
So that's my take on it. Who would you like to have seen make more Carry On appearances?