Sunday, 21 May 2017

The A - Z of Carry On Characters - D is for...

 

This is part of a new series for Carry On Blogging looking at some of the best and most memorable characters in the Carry On films. I have already written a series looking at some of the best remembered supporting actors and this will be a similar A-Z format but based on my favourite character names.

Let's continue on today with D and first of all, and D is for Dan Dan! Dan Dan, the Gardening Man was a character brought to life by the wonderful Charles Hawtrey in the classic Carry On Screaming in 1966. Originally Charles wasn't even going to feature in this film with the role earmarked for Sydney Bromley, who had impressed in the previous film Carry On Cowboy. A newspaper critic heard that Hawtrey was not due to feature in Screaming and complained, leading to Charles grabbing the small but perfectly formed role of Dan. It's a brief performance but beautifully played.

We encounter Dan while Harry H Corbett, Peter Butterworth and Jim Dale are conducting their investigation into the disappearance of Doris Mann (Angela Douglas). Their scenes in the gentleman's convenience are superb and it's just a shame Hawtrey left the action so quickly.

D is also for...


...Nurse Stella Dawson, the accident prone junior nurse that brought Joan Sims into the Carry Ons with the second film in the series, Nurse, in 1959;

 

...Sir Roger Daley, a gloriously named booming character brought to life by big Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Dick in 1974;

 

...Desiree, the no better than she ought to be associate of Citizen's Camembert and Bidet in the French Revolution Romp, Don't Lose Your head, played by none other than Joan Sims in 1966;

 

...Nurse Dorothy Denton, the nurse who made Terence Longdon's heart flutter in the 1959 black and white classic, Carry On Nurse. Played by the original Carry On leading lady, Shirley Eaton

 

...Mrs Dangle, another Joan Sims character, the housekeeper in the dreadful last gasp film in the original run, Carry On Emmannuelle, in 1978;

 

...Dandy Desmond, the under-cover name for Kenneth Williams' blundering Bow Street Runner in Carry On Dick; 

 

...Gabriel Dimple, Charles Hawtrey's character who infamously takes on Tom Clegg in the boxing ring (and wins) in Carry On Regardless; 

and finally...Dancy, the lead villain who abducts Peggy and Sally in the climatic scenes of the 1963 film Carry On Cabby. The first role in the series for semi-regular actor Peter Gilmore.

 

 
Stay tuned for the next in this series when we tackle more memorable Carry On characters. And if you can think of any more, get in touch!



You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also on Facebook

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Carrying On with Doctor Who!

 

I'm afraid Doctor Who is one of those phenomenons which completely passes me by. I've never really understood the appeal although what I do get is that it is very much a peculiarly British show. Since it first debuted back in 1963 it has enthralled, scared, entertained and captured the imagination of each and every generation.

As with many classic series of the era, Doctor Who called upon the talents of many wonderful character actors to add spark and charm to its endless out of this world adventures. And some of these faces will be familiar to Carry On fans, so let's take a look back at some of the Carry On actors who moonlighted across at the BBC in Doctor Who serials! 

We must start with two familiar faces who became the Doctor himself. The first, and the very first to play Doctor Who was none other than William Hartnell. Hartnell had another first of course, playing Sergeant Grimshawe in Carry On Sergeant, the beginning of the franchise in 1958. William played the Doctor in the very early black and white days of the series and its the role he's still best remembered for. 

 

Fast forward ten years or so another familiar face to pick up the reigns of the series was Jon Pertwee. Pertwee was the third incarnation of the Doctor, playing him between 1970 and 1974. To Carry On fans Jon is best remembered for his cameo roles in Carry On Cleo, Carry On Cowboy and Carry On Screaming before returning to the series in 1992 as one of the few original faces to join Carry On Columbus. 

Wanda Ventham, who had small parts in Carry On Cleo, Up The Khyber and The Big Job, played the character of Jean Rock in the 1967 adventure "The Faceless Ones". A year before, series regular Peter Butterworth, a popular part of the Carry On team between 1965 and 1978, appeared in eight episodes of Doctor Who as the memorable villain, the Meddling Monk. He appeared alongside William Hartnell, Jean Marsh and Peter Purves, the future Blue Peter presenter!

 

Fellow Carry On regular Bernard Bresslaw played yet another villain in Doctor Who during 1967 when he portrayed the Ice Warrior, Varga. There are some wonderful shots of Bernard getting into costume at the BBC Television Centre. Another veteran of British film, the legendary character actor Victor Maddern popped up in Doctor Who for six episodes in 1968. Victor played Mason in the story "Fury from the Deep". Kenneth Cope, best known for Coronation Street, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and of course Carry On At Your Convenience and Matron, played the role of Packard in four episodes of Doctor Who broadcast in 1981. 

Five years after Kenneth, the brilliant Joan Sims signed up for four episodes, playing the character Katryca in the Colin Baker adventure "The Trial of a Time Lord". According to Joan's autobiography, her appearance left her completely cold as she failed to understand the script or the point of the series! She just said the lines and picked up the cheque - Fair enough! Joan's Carry On Emmannuelle co-star, the lovely Suzanne Danielle also appeared in four Doctor Who episodes broadcast the year after she joined the Carry On team. In "Destiny of the Daleks" she played Agella.

 

Angela Douglas, the star of four 1960s Carry Ons - Cowboy, Screaming, Follow That Camel and Up The Khyber - played the recurring character of Doris Lethbridge-Stewart in the 1980s adventure "Battlefield". Angela's Up The Khyber co-star and love interest, that multi-talented entertainer Roy Castle appeared in the big screen outing Doctor Who and the Daleks in 1965. This film starred the legendary Peter Cushing as the Doctor while Roy played Ian, the boyfriend of Jennie Linden's Barbara. 

Carry On Jack and Spying favourite Bernard Cribbins holds a unique place in the heart of many a Doctor Who fan. Bernard first joined the Doctor for the big screen follow up to Doctor Who in the Daleks, released in 1966. His film, also starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor, was Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 AD. Cribbins played a young special constable, Tom Campbell. This film also featured future Carry On Abroad cast member Ray Brooks playing the character David. Bernard would return to the world of Doctor Who four decades after making this film, this time on television, playing Wilfred Mott opposite the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. 

 

Finally, one more cheeky addition before I go. In 2009, British comedy legend June Whitfield guest starred in a two part Doctor Who Christmas Special, "The End of Time". Playing the rather fruity pensioner Minnie Hooper, who rather memorably cops a feel of the Doctor's bottom...

So there you have it, a run down of some of the most famous, familiar Carry On actors to have appeared in Doctor Who over the years. I'm sure I've missed out plenty of others so do feel free to write in and let me know!


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram


Carry On Following on Twitter!

 

One of the joys of social media, and Twitter in particular, is connecting with not only other fans of the Carry Ons but some of the stars of the films too. I was a late starter with Twitter, taking a few years to get to grips with it for my personal account however when I started this blog it was essential to have a blog account to spread the word. It has proved invaluable and I love interacting with fellow fans all over the world.

Since I started the blog several well-loved Carry On actors have "taken to Twitter" as the BBC is want to report it these days! I thought I'd do a quick run down of who to follow and where you can find them. 

First up is the glorious Fenella Fielding, star of countless stage, television and film productions but best loved for her role as Valeria in the classic Carry On Screaming. You can find Fenella on Twitter @FenellaFielding 

 

Another legend of 1960s Carry On is the very lovely Angela Douglas, the star of Cowboy, Screaming, Follow That Camel and Up The Khyber. Another lovely lady who regularly interacts with her many fans@CarryonAngela14  


A more recent addition to the world of Twitter is Cleo herself, the Coronation Street and Bad Girls star Amanda Barrie who can be found @amandabarrie11 . And one of Amanda's former Corrie castmates and fellow Carry On actress, the lovely Sherrie Hewson also tweets away @SherrieHewso

 

Legendary Hammer Horror, James Bond and Carry On actress Valerie Leon has also joined Twitter. Valerie made her name playing roles in the likes of Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, Carry On Up The Jungle and The Spy Who Loved Me. You can follow Valerie on Twitter @thevalerieleon 

And finally, only last week the gorgeous Madeline Smith signed up to Twitter. Madeline is best known for her roles in Hammer Horror, Up Pompeii with Frankie Howerd, James Bond (as Miss Caruso opposite Roger Moore in Live and Let Die) and for her cameo in the classic Carry On Matron. Madeline's Twitter account is @maddiesmith007

 

So there you have it! Carry On Following! 
 


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

From Biba to Bond with Madeline Smith

 

Thanks to the wonderful Twitter, my attention has been drawn to this lovely event taking place next month in London. The Walthamstow Women's Institute, the Stow Roses, are hosting an evening with the gorgeous Madeline Smith. Madeline has enjoyed an extremely sucessful career in British film, stage and television which of course has included outings with the Carry On team, James Bond and Hammer Horror. 



An engaging and humorous raconteur, Maddy Smith brings to Walthamstow an evening of conversation about her life and career as model and actress in the 1960s and beyond. 

A temporary job at famous London fashion boutique, Biba, led to encouragement from Biba founder, Barbara Hulanicki, for Maddy to enter the world of modelling. Acting roles soon followed, first in Hammer Film Productions, then in a vast array of film, TV and stage roles, including her most high profile role, at Sir Roger Moore's personal request, as his first ever Bond girl, Miss Caruso, in 'Live and Let Die.'

Join Maddy for an evening of tales from stage and screen as she recalls her days starring alongside the likes of Ava Gardner, Peter Cushing, Frankie Howerd. the Two Ronnies, Alec Guinness, Leslie Phillips, the Carry On team and many more.

Tickets are free to all WI members (please bring proof of membership) and £5 for non-members (plus 90p booking fee). Men and women welcome. Licensed bar. Over 18s only. Please make sure you select the correct ticket option.

 

You can buy tickets here and you can follow the Walthamstow WI here

Date and Time: Wednesday 7 June, 19.30 - 21.30.





You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Follow Carry On Blogging on Instagram!


Did you know that Carry On Blogging was now on Instagram? Well it is and if you are too why not follow me there?

You will find the usual great photos of some of your favourite Carry On films and their stars and it provides another great forum to interact with me and other Carry On fans. 

So why not boost my page on Instagram by following and liking some of my posts? It would be much appreciated. I look forward to seeing you there! My Instagram page is here: Carry On Blogging

And in the meantime, do follow me on Twitter too - I love your comments, feedback and general Carry On banter, so keep it coming! Links to both Twitter and Facebook pages at the bottom of this blog! 

Carry On Following!



You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram

Art & Hue Presents Joanna Lumley



Not strictly Carry On related, but this new art work is too good not to share! Art & Hue is pleased to present Joanna Lumley, a new pop art collection inspired by the absolutely fabulous model, Bond-girl, and Avenger.



An official collaboration with Studiocanal, think Andy Warhol meets Patsy Stone in this new range of six stylish pop art prints featuring national treasure Joanna Lumley.



For six decades, Joanna Lumley has left her mark in iconic productions that endure to this day, most gaining a cult following and lifelong fan-base, from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "The New Avengers", to "Sapphire & Steel" and of course "Ab Fab".



Available in 18 colours and 3 sizes, the collection is printed on 310gsm fine art archival matte paper, made from 100% cotton, using pigment inks which last several lifetimes, and come in three sizes that fit widely-available picture frames.
See the full collection at http://artandhue.com/joanna 

And watch a preview here:
  
Art & Hue presents Joanna Lumley from Art & Hue on Vimeo.




You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram
 

Carry On Cruising with the Carry On Girls!

 

If you fancy a Carry On themed break this May bank holiday, this trip up the Seine might be just the ticket. Cruise and Maritime Voyages run special cruises featuring appearances from some familiar faces. This May, three of your Carry On favourites - Anita Harris, Jacki Piper and Valerie Leon - will be taking part in a very special trip.

This from the Cruise and Maritime Voyages website:

Celebrate the cheeky comedy of the legendary Carry On Films with this dedicated cruise featuring some of the stars from the classic films and TV series. Meet Carry On legends including; Anita Harris; Valerie Leon; Jacki Piper and other special guests. With the news of Carry On returning to the big screen after an absence of nearly 25 years, this is a cruise celebrating British Film Comedy at its best.

Sail to delightful Antwerp, with its impressive cathedral, medieval buildings and delightful boutiques. Magellan then navigates the Scheldt River before cruising the River Seine to historic Rouen and discover this ‘city of a hundred spires’. Finally, opt to visit charming Honfleur from Le Havre, at the mouth of the Seine, which will delight you with its cobbled streets and old harbour or choose to visit Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny.

 

Anita Harris is best known as a singer and stage performer, first rising to prominence in the 1960s. Anita starred in two Carry Ons in 1967, first of all the supporting role of Cork Tip in Follow That Camel before returning to play Nurse Clarke in Carry On Doctor.

Valerie Leon provided glamorous support in six Carry Ons, beginning with Up The Khyber in 1968. Returning for a featured role in Camping later the same year, Valerie would go on to play Deirdre in Again Doctor, Leda in Up The Jungle, Jane Darling in Matron and finally, in 1973, Paula in Carry On Girls.

Finally, Jacki Piper was the only actor ever to sign a contract with Peter Rogers to appear in the Carry Ons. Jacki starred in four Carry Ons, first of all appearing as June in Up The Jungle in 1969. She played Sally Martin in Loving, Myrtle Plummer in At Your Convenience and finally Sister in 1971's Carry On Matron.



The Medieval Cities and River Seine Experience will depart from London Tilbury on Sunday 28 May and last for 5 nights. Further information can be found here



You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram

Do You Mind if I Smoke? The Memoirs of Fenella Fielding

 
Following a series of extremely popular shows late last year, Fenella Fielding will be returning to the Phoenix Artist Club this June for more tales from her new audio book of memoirs. 

Fenella Fielding is best known for her film appearances in Carry On Screaming (1966), Doctor in Clover (1966) and Carry On Regardless (1961). She was the voice of the Blue Queen in Dougal and the Blue Cat (1970) and the telephone operator and loudspeaker voice in The Prisoner (1967). Her stage credits include the title roles in Hedda Gabler (1969) and Colette (1970). 

She’s fondly remembered for a number of appearances on the Morecambe & Wise Show (1969-1972) as well as playing The Vixen in Uncle Jack (early 1990s). Her most recent TV appearance was Skins (2012).

During her career, Fenella has worked with many of the greats and has known, or at least met, practically everybody else. She has amazing recall and can tell a story about most of the people who were special in the 60s or 70s… Kenneth Williams, Peter Cook, Tony Curtis, Francis Bacon, Joan Sims… the list is endless.

During a total of four Saturday matinee appearances Fenella will be reading a series of chapters from her forthcoming audio book ‘Do You Mind If I Smoke?’ Each show will be different. There are stories about innocence, her struggle to get started, family strife, professional jealousies and intriguingly a chapter about London tarts and gangsters. The stories are witty and beautifully observed scenes from her life and all told in that unmistakable and ever alluring Fenella Fielding voice.

Each performance will include a short Q&A about the book with Misty Moon's special guest MC Simon McKay, co-author of the book and a personal friend of Fenella.

There’s also an opportunity to pre-order the audio book with extra goodies included. 

Fenella will be appearing at the Phoenix Artist Club in London's West End for four shows, the first of which will be Saturday 3rd June at 2.30pm. More details are available  here



You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Barbara Carries On ... as Daphne Honeybutt

 

Barbara Windsor will be celebrating her 80th birthday this August. In the run up to this milestone, I've decided to blog profiles of each of her nine famous Carry On roles. Much the same as I did with both Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques, these blogs will take each part in turn and provide my own personal take on them. 

Barbara, or Dame Babs as it is now, is a showbiz legend in the UK, with a career dating back to the 1950s. As the recent Babs drama on BBC1 revealed, things haven't always been easy for Windsor, but her hard work and determination have seen her bounce back time and time again. No matter what else she has done in her career, the Carry Ons will always dominate and from our point of view, as Carry On fans, rightly so! So let's begin today by going right back to where Barbara's Carry On story began, with her role as trainee agent Daphne Honeybutt in the 1964 release, Carry On Spying.

 

This by far is my favourite Barbara Windsor performance in a Carry On. Yes it's a knowing performance and yes the comedy occasionally focusses on her considerable assets, but the role of Daphne is much more than that. There is none of the bawdy, in your face innuendo that followed and the sweeter, slightly more innocent character really does suit Miss Windsor. Spying follows a group of rather inept British secret agents as they attempt to track down a missing formula, stolen from a laboratory by one of the evil Dr Crow's henchmen. Of course the plot of Spying borrows rather heavily from the then recent trend for cinematic spy stories, not least the wonderful James Bond franchise. Bond was a fellow Pinewood production and as Spying was made, Goldfinger was about to hit cinema screens to wild acclaim. Although the Bond producers were less than happy with Peter Rogers' send up of their big budget success story, Spying went ahead regardless.

What Spying actually gives us is much more of a nod to the Orson Welles classic The Third Man, a film which included a young Gerald Thomas in its crew. This black and white Carry On "epic" is Gerald's homage to the mastery of that film and Alan Hume's film photography and lighting is staggering good for a low budget slapstick farce like Spying. As always Peter and Gerald employed the very best and all the money was on screen! The film follows the four spies (Kenneth Williams, Bernard Cribbins, Charles Hawtrey and our Barbara) as they journey across Vienna and North Africa, finally ending up on the Orient Express, all courtesy of Pinewood Studios of course! 

 

Spying came at a time when the cosy, comfortable familiarity of the early Hudis films was being challenged. New scriptwriter Talbot Rothwell was slowly injecting a saucier line in gags and situations and the early ensemble casts in well-loved British institutions had been broken up and shifted out further afield. Following a major departure with the first period costume film in the series (Carry On Jack), Spying was a move towards tongue in cheek pastiche which would lead to more classics in the form of Cleo, Cowboy, Screaming and Don't Lose Your Head. Missing in action are favourites Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Sid James and Kenneth Connor, while other regular faces in Liz Fraser, Bill Owen, Terence Longdon and Esma Cannon had all moved on to other projects. 

Into this evolving Carry On world came the original Cockney bubbly blonde Barbara Windsor. Barbara is very much the star of the film, grabbing the limelight from her more experienced male co-stars with. As Daphne, Windsor brings a fresh approach to the films and her wide eyed sexy innocence is a very welcome presence. Unlike several later efforts, this film does not solely present Barbara as a glamorous accessory. Oh no, Daphne Honeybutt is by far the most intelligent, fast-thinking agent of the lot with her photographic memory and determination to get the job done. It's great to see Barbara holding her own (as it were) and you can see why she was attracted to the part. 

 

It's no surprise, looking back, that Babs would find herself working on a Carry On film. After all, she was big news in the early 1960s. As well as her legendary theatre work at Stratford East with Joan Littlewood, Barbara had also starred in the hit BBC sitcom The Rag Trade (alongside Peter Jones, Sheila Hancock and Esma Cannon) and had begun to make her mark in films with Sparrows Can't Sing and the Ronnie Fraser and Bernard Cribbins comedy Crooks in Cloisters. Barbara fitted in with the rest of the gang with complete ease and soon became one of the series' biggest names. All this despite only featuring in nine of the 31 original feature films. 

Barbara works really well with her real life mate Bernard Cribbins and the pair make a lovely romantic double act throughout the film. Apparently Bernard's advice to Barbara on starting the film was to watch out for Kenneth Williams! As well she might, given their much-repeated first encounter involving a false beard Kenneth was wearing and Barbara's cheeky reply! Barbara and Kenneth became firm friends and remained close through many other Carry Ons, television and radio appearances. Indeed the pair were friends right up until Kenneth's death in 1988. As a duo both on and off set, one can only imagine the outrageous behaviour! 

 

I love the scene in Cafe Mozart with the champagne cocktails - Barbara's reaction to drinking the drugged cocktail is priceless and definitely one for the scrap book! Other highlights for me are the sequence with Barbara and Bernard when they attempt to get the formula back from The Fat Man. The belly dancing scenes are hilarious. Also, Daphne's comedic interrogation by Judith Furse's fiendish Dr Crow is very funny to watch. Barbara's performance in Carry On Spying is so strong it's no surprise she came back to Pinewood for more adventures with the gang. My only question is, why did it take them three years to bring her back?!

Carry On Spying is probably the big cross-over film between the Hudis era and Talbot Rothwell fully hitting his stride as the Carry Ons' most prolific writer. His treatment of the James Bond/Third Man spy genre is sublime in many ways and despite the fact it misses several key players, the strength of the script and the main performances makes it one of my very favourite Carry Ons. As for Babs, well it doesn't get much better than this! Stay tuned for my next blog in this series, looking at Barbara's return to Carry On in 1967 for Carry On Doctor.   
   
 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram