Wednesday 15 November 2017

Carry On Blogging Exclusive: From Fenella's Diary...

A bit of a Carry On Blogging exclusive for you now. I've already blogged that Fenella Fielding's memoirs will be published in hardback version on 16 November, the day before the legendary actress turns an amazing 90 years young. Before publication, I wanted to share an interesting Carry On related snippet with you from Fenella's very own diary. 
In Fenella Fielding’s memoir, written with Simon McKay, she says she turned down a few Carry On roles including that of Cleopatra in Carry On Cleo because it clashed with her schedule, although adds: “That would have been a nice thing to do… There were some other ones that, after reading the script, my agent more or less turned down for me. Carry On Camping was one; I got the impression it was a bit much. Usually your agent says, ‘I don’t know, see what you think of it. Read the script and we’ll talk about it.’ Sometimes they go so far as to tell you, ‘It’s a wonderful part, you really ought to do it.’

This diary entry is from January 1964 when Fenella had lunch with Gerry Thomas and Peter Rogers at Mirabelle’s and turned down the lead in Carry On Cleo.
I’d said to him, ‘I want to do some straight plays. I want to do some Shakespeare and so forth, but I don’t want to be laughed out of court.’ He said, ‘Fine, but you’ll have to be prepared to turn a lot down.’ I think despite everything he’d have been jolly glad if I had done Cleo, and there didn’t seem to be any ‘yes or no’ about Screaming.” 
Later in the book, Fenella expands on the reason there was a clash in her schedule Cleo: “I turned down Carry On Cleo to go to New York to spend time with an American boy I’d met in London. I was led to think that it was on between us, but when I got there it was all awkward. It was in the winter. I was only there for a few weeks. I was wearing my little fur coat, but it was like wearing a bit of tissue paper. Winter in New York is bitterly cold. I should have done Cleo really.”


Fenella’s memoirs, Do You Mind If I Smoke? is published by Peter Owen on 16th November. Ask your local bookshop to make sure they will be stocking it or order a signed copy from

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