A new year is once again upon us. Many of us will make a load of new year's resolutions that we have no intention of keeping but I thought I would try and set out my Carry On hopes for 2017. So without further ado, here are my seven wishes for '17!
1. 2017 sees Dame Barbara Windsor celebrate a milestone birthday as our favourite chirpy blonde cockney turns 80 years old. The evergreen star is still very much a part of modern British culture and I hope the run up to the big day involves some suitably saucy celebrations. We already know the BBC are filming a special feature length biopic, Babs, and that is bound to be essential viewing for fans. I hope we see lots of Barbara during the publicity for this and also on her birthday itself.
2. This new year also sees a major birthday milestone for the glorious Fenella Fielding, star of Carry On Screaming and a good friend to this blog. Fenella has been promoting her audiobook of memoirs with some fantastic readings at the Phoenix Artist Club in association with the wonderful Misty Moon Film Society. As part of Fenella's special year, we're looking forward to more live performances and also, hopefully, a recording of her memoirs by Fenella herself for us all to buy.
3. 2017 marks the centenary of one of Britain's most fondly remembered comedians, the one and only Mr Francis Howerd. Frankie was born in March 1917 and during his long, diverse career, he appeared in countless films, including two brilliant Carry Ons. I hope the media in Britain remembers this important anniversary and we see a number of programmes on television to mark it and celebrate the contribution Frankie made to post-war British comedy.
4. Back in May 2016, there was a great deal of publicity surrounding the proposed new Carry On film, Carry On Doctors. Since then it's all gone rather quiet and I think that's a shame. Fans have had their hopes for a new film raised and then dashed many times before and it's not looking good. I hope early 2017 sees some more (hopefully) encouraging news about this project.
6. Come on television networks - stop showing the same few Carry On films again and again. I think it's time some of the early back and white films got a proper airing. Let's see the quality Norman Hudis era films back on the telly on a Sunday afternoon for the whole family to enjoy. The likes of Carry On Nurse, Teacher, Constable and Cabby are beautifully made and acted comedy films featuring a host of memorable comedy actors. I also wish Carry On Spying would be shown more often as although it misses many of the regulars, it's still one of my favourite series entries.
7. Over the years we've seen documentaries celebrate the careers of the main Carry On players - the likes of Sid, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Hattie Jacques always receive most of the attention. I'd really like to see a series of programmes focus on the brilliant careers of some of the lesser-known Carry On talents, all popular with fans of the series but perhaps not so well known with the general public. So let's see some telly time dedicated to the likes of Esma Cannon, Joan Hickson, Patsy Rowlands, Marianne Stone and Peter Gilmore.
So those are my Carry On hopes for the new year. What are yours?