Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Two Classic Carry Ons Coming Up on Film4!


Once again Film4 are delivering the goods. Two wonderful black and white Carry On films from the Norman Hudis era are being shown on the channel over the next seven days and here are the details: 

Carry On Teacher - Thursday 18 October, 17.00


Another favourite of mine from the early Norman Hudis era of the series, Carry On Teacher blends the best elements of Ealing comedy and St Trinian's to make one of the most innocent of all the Carry Ons. A group of children rebel during an official visit from some school inspectors in the hope they can prevent their beloved headmaster from leaving to take up a new job. Gerald Thomas coaxes some lovely performances from the child actors in the cast, principally from leads Richard O'Sullivan and Carol White. Ted Ray makes his only Carry On appearance as the headmaster William Wakefield and forms a superb double act with his longtime radio co-star Kenneth Connor as bumbling science master Gregory Adams. Rosalind Knight grabs a larger role in Teacher, following her cameo in Nurse, this time playing severe school inspector Felicity Wheeler while the likes of Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams are also along for the fun as the gaggle of accident prone, squabbling teachers. 

Further reading:  Carry On Blogging Interview: Josephine Bailey
Carry On Blogging: Whatever Happened to the Saboteurs?



 Carry On Regardless (1961) - Sunday 21 October, 16.50.



Although writer Norman Hudis is on record as saying this was his least favourite of all the Carry Ons he wrote, I love Regardless. It's the most episodic film of the entire series, basically made up of a series of sketches held together by the central comic force of Sid James as the owner of the Helping Hands Agency. Helping Hands employs a rag bag of diverse workers willing to undertake (almost) anything. This premise gives Hudis a huge amount of scope and the results, in the hands of a cosy bunch of lovable Carry On eccentrics, is just brilliant. It also features the biggest supporting cast of superb British comedy actors even seen. Everyone from Fenella Fielding and Stanley Unwin to Molly Weir, Jerry Desmonde and Joan Hickson appear, mostly fleetingly. Sid is assisted by the likes of Esma Cannon, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Bill Owen and a debuting Liz Fraser.

Further reading: Carry On Blogging: Why I love Carry On Regardless
Carry On Blogging: My Favourite scene - Carry On Regardless


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Joe, Kenneth and Mrs Edna Welthorpe


This Friday I am attending a very special event at London's Postal Museum. As part of the Bloomsbury Festival, I managed to grab a couple of tickets for Yours Faithfully Edna Welthorpe (Mrs) - Joe Orton's Prank Letters

I've been a fan of the late playwright Joe Orton since I first discovered him through Kenneth Williams' diaries. Kenneth and Joe were friends in the mid 1960s and although they shared some common attributes they were in many ways complete opposites. Both gay and from working class backgrounds, while Kenneth's private life was monk-like and the modern swinging sixties world around him both excited and repulsed him, Joe went for it and enjoyed being the glamorous toast of London. Joe became hugely famous thanks to two notorious plays - Loot and Entertaining Mr Sloane. Both plays shocked and intrigued contemporary audiences and have endured, becoming classics of their kind still often performed today.

Kenneth and Joe first met when Williams was cast in the first version of Joe's play Loot. Although the production was a disaster, the friendship endured and the pair even enjoyed trips abroad to more liberal environments. Having read both diaries and taken in these two famous, iconic men and their opinions of each other, we really can view them from a unique perspective. Kenneth was deeply shocked and affected by Joe's untimely death at the hands of Kenneth Halliwell in August 1967. It's worth reading his diary from around this time although it's pretty sober stuff. 



Joe was well known for producing deliciously camp, funny prank letters under the name of Mrs Edna Welthorpe and Kenneth was a regular receiver of these missives. The event on Friday will celebrate this aspect of Joe's creative outpouring in the company of several experts and Joe's sister, Leonie Orton. There will also be some new Edna letters, written by some well known comedy writers of today and a screening of a brand new animation on Edna, voiced by Alison Steadman. I'm particularly keen to hear what Leonie has to say as I've recently read her deeply touching, affecting and sometimes (darkly) hilarious memoir, I Had it in Me. I believe Joe would have loved the double meaning of this title. The memoir is as much about Leonie's own journey through life as it is about Joe and her thoughts about his life, his career and his untimely passing. 

I thoroughly recommend it to you and you can find it here

And you can read more about Kenneth and Joe in my blog from last year here 

And if you want more, here's a video of Kenneth Williams discussing Joe from the BBC Arena documentary A Genius Like Us: A Portrait of Joe Orton from 1982:



And finally, here's Leonie talking about her brother back in 2012:



I can't wait for Friday night to hear more about the brilliant Joe Orton, his life and work.

More on the Bloomsbury Festival can be found here: bloomsburyfestival.org.uk

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Monday, 15 October 2018

Three Classic Comedies tomorrow on Talking Pictures TV


Talking Pictures TV are showing three classic British comedy films back to back tomorrow morning. First up is the 1956 film Sailor Beware, starring Peggy Mount, Ronald Lewis and Gordon Jackson. This is followed up by a rather bizarre little curio, Cuckoo Patrol from 1967 and then bringing up the rear the 1964 canal boat classic, The Bargee, featuring the likes of Ronnie Barker, Julia Foster, Miriam Karlin and Eric Sykes. 

More details below:


08.10 - Sailor Beware! (1956)


Carry On Faces: Esma Cannon, Shirley Eaton, Anthony Sagar, Fred Griffiths
Royal Navy sailor Albert Tufnell is to marry Shirley Hornett the next day. He and his best man, fellow sailor Carnoustie Bligh, travel to the Hornett household. However, Albert begins to have second thoughts when he spends the day with her family. He has no problem with her father Henry or with meek spinster aunt Edie, but her domineering mother Emma is another matter entirely. 
On the day of the wedding, Albert does not appear at the church, so the Hornetts go home. Then Albert shows up, as does the Reverend Purefoy, who was to preside over the ceremony. Albert states that he loves Shirley and wants to marry her. However, he has his doubts. Mr. Purefoy asks to speak to the couple privately. Everyone else leaves the room (but eavesdrops). Albert then explains that the unhappy example of her family life and the unilateral decision about where they were to live have made him hesitate. Henry comes in and surprisingly states that his wife has actually taken good care of him, and that he is fond of her. Upon hearing that, Emma breaks down and weeps; she tells Purefoy she wants to change her ways. Albert marries Shirley, but after they leave, Emma finds it hard to break old habits.
Read more on this film here: Carry On Blogging: Sailor Beware

09.50 - Cuckoo Patrol (1967)
Carry On Faces: Kenneth Connor, Victor Maddern, Peggy Ann Clifford 
The late Freddie Garrity (of Freddie and the Dreamers) stars in this 1967 film comedy. The film is directed by Duncan Wood who produced the likes of Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son amongst many others. A good British cast including Kenneth Connor, Victor Maddern, John Le Mesurier and Arthur Mullard tell the story of a troop of scout misfits, The Cuckoo Troop, led by Garrity on their way to scout camp and all the scrapes they stumble into!

11.25 - The Bargee (1964)
Carry On Faces: Harry H Corbett, Eric Barker, Patricia Hayes, Ronnie Brody, Brian Wilde, Ed Devereaux 
Hemel Pike is a canal barge casanova, aided and abetted by his illiterate cousin, Ronnie. Hemel has a girl in every town along his route, and each one is intent on marriage. He is finally caught when one of the girls, Christine, falls pregnant. Her protective father, a 'larger than life' character, who holds the canal record for drinking 29 pints of 'Brown & Mild' in a single session, is understandably upset by his daughter's situation…

Something for everyone there!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Bernie Carries On … As Ernie Bragg


Over the past year I have written a series of blogs covering each of the roles of some of our favourite Carry On stars. I began my looking back at each film role played by the three leading ladies in the series - Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor - and most recently I've written about all of Kenneth Connor's Carry On performances in the run up to the great man's centenary. 

Today I am continuing a new strand of this series by turning the spotlight on that gentle giant of British comedy, the late Bernard Bresslaw. Probably one of the most under-rated actors in the main team, Bernard was a part of the series for ten years and fourteen films, tackling a superb range of crumbling villains and delightfully dimwitted foils to the likes of Sid James and Kenneth Cope. Bernard enjoyed a long career away from the Carry Ons and spent much of his later life wowing audiences in legitimate theatre. However he will forever to remembered for his clutch of hilarious Carry On supporting turns. 

Bernard joined the Carry On team in the mid 1960s and along with Peter Butterworth was the last main team member to join the gang. Along with Butterworth, Bernard played a series of smaller, supporting roles to begin with before graduating to major roles towards the end of the decade. Bernard fitted in effortlessly with the rest of the team and he's the kind of actor who is working hard but making it look oh so easy. A quiet, erudite, thoughtful family man away from the film studios, I often think Bresslaw has never received the credit he's due as like Connor and Butterworth, he didn't ever seek the limelight or splash his life over the front pages.

So today, we'll continue this new series looking at Bernard's role as Ernie Bragg, a part of Sid James' criminal gang in the 1971 medical comedy cum crime caper, Carry On Matron. 


 

The basic premise of Carry On Matron is an update of previous medical entries (Matron!) The saucy Seventies allowed even more near the knuckle humour and Talbot Rothwell takes full advantage with a script that is part hospital knock about farce and part crime caper. Sid James and his gang of Bernard Bresslaw, Bill Maynard and Kenneth Cope plan a Too Many Crooks like heist on Finisham Maternity Hospital to steal a load of morning after pills. To do this, Sid's screen son Cope goes under cover in drag as a student nurse, attracting the dodgy attentions of Terry Scott's amorous Dr Prodd in the process. Scott is at his most lascivious here in his final Carry On role and he plays the part extremely well. 

Away from the crime caper element, the rest of the film sees three Carry On stalwarts camp about the hospital with innuendo-encrusted delight. Joining Jacques is an on form and over the top Kenneth Williams as Sir Bernard Cutting and Charles Hawtrey in his penultimate role as Dr F.A Goode (!). Although Charles is criminally underused in the film, he does have some priceless moments with Williams during the "newts" sequence and again with Hattie with all the comic misunderstandings as they sit down to watch television together in her room. The appearance of Hawtrey, however brief, could lift any script and this would be proved again and again once he had left the series in 1972.



So what about Bernard's role in the film? Once again Bernie is very much a supporting player but his acting prowess and flair for comedy keep him front and centre. While the medical mayhem of Williams, Hawtrey and Jacques take centre stage and Kenneth Cope's brilliantly innocent criminal in drag proves wonderfully eye-catching and sympathetic, we mustn't overlook Bresslaw's superlative turn as the ultimate dim-witted crook. In many ways Bernie is playing an updated version of the character he played in the already mentioned Too Many Crooks, a classic of its kind. He blends elements of that performance with his stock in trade Army Game simpleton and Ernie Bragg is always one step behind the rest of the gang.

Once you get past the ridiculous sight of Bernard's long flowing wig (!) it's straight down to business as he plants himself in the back of Sid's car alongside Bill Maynard as they survey the object of their criminal affections - the Finisham Maternity Hospital. One wonders why Ernie is part of Sid's gang as he contributes very little and sticks out a country mile but as always, Bernard's height is used to great advantage, particularly in a prolonged appearance in drag towards the end of the film. I love Bernard's reaction to Kenneth Cope's first appearance in nurses' uniform and trendy 70s lady wig. He quite naturally falls under Cyrile Carter's spell, despite the fact Cyril has his trousers on under his skirt and boasts a couple of rather unconvincing fake boobs!



Without a doubt one of the finest sequences in Matron sees Sid, Bernie and Bill Maynard sit down to discuss their plans to break into the hospital. For no specific reason, the whole scene is dominated by a rambling tale about London bus routes that would not have been out of place in a West End revue. It's inspired, slightly surreal stuff and provides a wonderful breather from the madcap farce in the hospital wards. The dialogue between Sid, Bernie and Bill is so natural, so effortless it just raises the entire film up to a different level. My only problem is that we didn't get more of it! 

Bernard's own high point in the film must be his turn in drag as an extremely unconvincing expectant mother who Sid uses to get into Finisham Hospital late at night to steal the birth control pills. Somehow fooling Arthur the security guard, Sid and Bill guide Bernie's dragged up mother to be to the lift, but the only big bang that follows is a load of dynamite which wakes up half the hospital and brings on Mrs Tidey's much delayed labour! What follows is the much anticipated Carry On film finale which sees the entire hospital chase Sid, Bernie and the gang around the hospital corridors. The sight of Bernie, still in drag, a little straw hat atop his female wig and him caringly shielding his fake baby is a joy! 



In the end, Sid's gang are released without charge and with Cyril settling down with Barbara Windsor's Nurse Ball, Sid plans the next big raid for the remnants of his gang. The idea of going undercover in a nudist camp is step too far though and the last shot of the film sees a speeded up Bernie and Bill taking flight and running for the hills! 


So those are my thoughts on Bernard's role in Carry On Matron. Stay tuned for my next blog in this series, as I look back at Bernard's role in the classic Carry On Abroad!


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Bernard Bresslaw Stars in The Ugly Duckling this afternoon on Talking Pictures TV!


Talking Pictures TV are once again showing a rather rare curio from the vaults this afternoon. Carry On regular Bernard Bresslaw rarely took a starring role on the big screen and was more often the ensemble player in films such as Too Many Crooks, the Carry Ons and the television series, The Army Game.

In the late1950s, at the height of his Army Game fame, Bernard was much in demand he starred in a spin off feature film named after his Army Game catchphrase, released a number of novelty records and took the lead in a comedy called The Ugly Duckling. The film, a parody of the classic horror tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was directed by Lance Comfort and produced by Michael Carreras for Hammer Films. The script came from Jack Davies and Sid Colin, a long time friend and collaborator of Talbot Rothwell. Colin went on to contribute to Carry On Spying in 1964.


The film tells the story of Henry Jekyll (Bernard Bresslaw) who is a bungling, awkward and socially inept buffoon working in his uncle's pharmacy. One day he discovers an old formula created by his uncle which claims to turn 'a man of timid disposition into a bold, fearless dragon'. He eagerly mixes the formula, takes one drink, and is transformed into the suave, dashing and self-confident Teddy Hyde. Teddy immediately becomes a darling of society and a big hit with the ladies. However he also craves the thrill of becoming a master criminal, and recruits a gang of expert crooks to join him in carrying out a series of daring and ambitious jewel robberies.
The formula wears off, and Teddy changes back into Henry, who is appalled at the crimes committed by his alter ego. Feeling overcome with guilt, he helps the police to round up and capture the robbers who have evaded them for so long.
Starring alongside Bernard are several well known comedy character actors who went on to enliven the Carry Ons. Jon Pertwee co-stars as Victor Jekyll while familiar names such as Richard Wattis, David Lodge, Michael Ward and Cyril Chamberlain also pop up in supporting roles. 
Apparently, the film was not a success when first released, losing money at the box office, which is a bit of a shame. I can't really comment as I haven't seen it yet but I plan to put that right by tuning in to Talking Pictures TV this afternoon at 13.40!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Isn't it time it was Sir Bernard Cribbins?


I love Bernard Cribbins as the bumbling leading man in both Carry On Jack and Carry On Spying. Although Bernard only appeared in two of the original run of films (Jack and Spying) I think he was an excellent addition to the series. He takes over from where Kenneth Connor left off and does well with his material. He's also quite physical in the same way as Jim Dale would be in later films. Bernard is also incredibly entertaining in both his Carry On audio commentaries, forming a truly delicious double act with the late, great Dilys Laye on the commentary for Spying. 

This made me realise just how fab Bernard is and how many classic projects he's been involved with over the years. There's his association with Doctor Who - both in classic 1960s film and much more recently in the revamped BBC series. He's been in Coronation Street as Wally Bannister (paired with the wonderful Maggie Jones as Blanche). He's worked with Peter Sellers in the classic comedy film Too Way Stretch and Barbara Windsor in Crooks in Cloisters. Bernard has made comedy records with the legendary producer George Martin. He's starred opposite Ursula Andress in the Hammer film She and Dinah Sheridan and Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children. He also famously played the deeply irritating Mr Hutchinson in Fawlty Towers. He has even worked with Alfred Hitchcock in the film Frenzy in 1972.



And who can forget his long association with two classic children's television series: The Wombles between 1973-75 and over one hundred appearances on Jackanory between 1966 and 1991, making him the record holder for most appearances. 

Bernard is just one of those famous faces who has been a constant in so many of our lives and means so many things to different generations. Thankfully he's still going strong in his 90th year. Isn't it time it was Sir Bernard Cribbins though?



What do you think?

Find out more about Bernard's newly published autobiography here and you can listen again to Bernard's recent radio interview with Danny Baker right here


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Listen Again: Bernard Cribbins on The Danny Baker Show


There was an absolutely smashing interview with Bernard Cribbins on the BBC Radio 5 Live Danny Baker Show this morning. I only caught it half way through but it was a total delight and well worth listening to again on 'catch up'.

Bernard was on to promote his recently released autobiography Bernard Who? 75 Years of Doing Just About Everything. I'm already half way through it and I can't put it down. Get it now or order it for Christmas! Anyway, Danny's interview with Bernard was wonderfully warm, witty, funny and full of fantastic stories and clips from Cribbins' incredibly long and diverse career.

Bernard talked about making records in the 1960s, some of his stage work over the years and film appearances in the likes of She, Carry On Jack, Dr Who and of course, The Railway Children. I've said it before and I'll say it again, listening to him I just can't believe Bernard is nearly 90 years young. He puts the rest of us to shame.



The show should be available to listen again online shortly after broadcast and you can find it here

You can read more about Bernard's autobiography right here

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Dame Barbara Windsor's Husband Scott Mitchell to run London Marathon in aid of The Dementia Revolution


We all know about the very sad news that Dame Barbara Windsor is battling Alzheimer's disease. Since Barbara and her husband Scott went public with the news, there has been so much support for the couple which has been wonderful to see. Barbara and Scott have conducted themselves with such dignity and I know they are in all our thoughts.

Scott Mitchell, Barbara's husband of many years now, has proven himself to be a tower of strength to Barbara and they are now doing their bit to raise awareness and much needed money for research into Alzheimer's. It was in the news the other day that Scott will be running the London Marathon next year, on his 56th birthday, on behalf of The Dementia Revolution. Scott has set up a fundraising page so I thought I would share the details on the blog to help make sure as many people are aware of it as possible. He has also shared his own personal message which I've shared here:

Thank you for taking the time to read this page. As some of you may be aware through the press, my darling wife Barbara was diagnosed in 2014 with Alzheimer’s disease and has been and is living with it along with 1 million other people to this day in the UK alone. To watch first hand as a loved one is slowly stripped of their memories and how they function in day to day life is a heartbreaking and often painful experience for any family member or friend as well as the person living with it, who at times can feel confused, disorientated, frustrated and afraid. And it has been no exception for Barbara. Barbara was fortunate enough to have had a career where she entertained people and has been able to have helped others in her numerous charity efforts and in some way her own involvement in The Dementia Revolution (www.dementiarevolution.org) is a continuation of that generosity of spirit to be of use to others.

I will be entering The Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 (28th April 2019 and also my 56th birthday) in support of The Dementia Revolution in the largest push ever to raise funds to help research and find preventative measures and hopefully a cure for this awful disease. I will be joining a team of Barbara’s ex TV soap Eastenders cast colleagues (to be revealed at a later date) and together we hope we can with your support raise vital funds towards future generations being spared the painful experience that so many families have and will continue to experience.

Please I am asking you to give as much or as little as you can spare and no amount will be considered too small! Every pound helps! Let’s all try and help find a day when everyone’s memories will stay with them for all of their lives and time with our loved ones can last longer. This effects all our futures. Thank you.

Scott and Barbara are calling on people to run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution, to raise desperately needed funds for the UK Dementia Research Institute. Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK have joined forces for the Dementia Revolution campaign as charity partner for the marathon in 2019. To find out more about the Dementia Revolution and how to take part, visit www.dementiarevolution.org


If you'd like to support Scott you can visit his fundraising page here


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Friday, 12 October 2018

Bernard Cribbins Publishes his Autobiography


The legend that is Bernard Cribbins has written his life story and it's out now. Bernard, who will rather astonishingly turn 90 this December, has told the story of his life and 75 year acting career, working with writer James Hogg. As soon as I heard about this new book yesterday, I downloaded it to my Kindle and I'm already three chapters in. Bernard's is a fascinating tale and definitely worth a read.

Bernard Cribbins is currently celebrating his seventy-fifth year in showbusiness, having first joined Oldham Repertory Company as a full-time actor way back in 1943. Working a seventy-hour week, he was paid just fifteen bob for his services then, all of which went straight to his mother.

After serving as a paratrooper during National Service – and getting shot at several times in Palestine – Bernard returned to the theatre where he was eventually spotted by George Martin, then A&R man for Parlophone Records. Just months away from producing The Beatles, Martin thought that Bernard might have a future in the recording industry and after hooking him up with a couple of writers he became a pop star. His two hit singles ‘The Hole in the Ground’ – which reached no. 1 – and ‘Right Said Fred’ – reaching no. 10 – catapulted Bernard to stardom and after appearing in three Peter Sellers classics, Two Way StretchThe Wrong Arm of the Law and Crooks in Cloisters, he took starring roles in two Carry On films, Carry on Jack and Carry on Spying.

By the time he appeared in The Railway Children in 1970 Bernard was already bordering on being a national treasure. This was all but confirmed just a few years later when, as well as becoming Jackanory’s longest serving storyteller, he also delighted millions by bringing The Wombles to life. Since then, Bernard’s CV has become an A-Z of the best entertainment that Britain has to offer, and he has undoubtedly become one of our best-loved actors.

Jam packed with anecdotes, Bernard Who? is a book that is almost ninety years in the making and divulges the full story behind one of the longest and most celebrated careers in show business. 



Bernard Who? 75 Years of Doing Just About Everything, the memoir of Bernard Cribbins is out now in hardback and ebook, published by Piatkus, Constable and Robinson – a division of Little, Brown Book Group.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Angela Douglas Releases Debut Novel


Award-winning independent publisher Candy Jar Books is delighted to announce the upcoming publication of the debut novel by Carry On actress, Angela Douglas.

Josephine: An Open Book is a powerful and compelling story of a young woman’s journey to stardom and the trials and tribulations of showbusiness and celebrity. Set against the backdrop of London’s 1960s, her paths cross with the likes of Kirk Douglas, Steve McQueen Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Neil Armstrong.

Though a work of fiction, the novel draws extensively on Angela Douglas’ own experiences, weaving a story which is at its very heart, universal in its themes: love, loss, the breakdown of a marriage and the decline of health. Josephine is ultimately an uplifting memoir of determination and conviction in the face of adversity, and is sure to resonate with the reader. 

Angela Douglas is best known as an actress and for her roles in the iconic Carry On feature film series. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s she made numerous appearances in theatre, film and television, including the iconic series: The Avengers, The Saint, Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Doctor Who, Holby City and Coronation Street. 

In 1962 she met the British movie icon, Kenneth More. They fell in love and married in 1968, remaining together until More’s death in 1982.

In 1988 she met acclaimed director and playwright, Bill Bryden. They married in 2009. 

Josephine is Angela’s first work of fiction, having already worked as a journalist and author, writing two non-fiction titles, including her autobiography Swings and Roundabouts, which received great praise from audience and critics alike.

As Angela put it herself, Josephine’s life is set in a world she knows well:

“I have described Josephine as ‘made up truth’. Many of the characters with whom Josephine meets are famous names because they are lifted from real-life experiences of my own. Josephine and I share many things, but there are also many differences... She is very much her own woman, and she finds herself in a lot of scrapes and circumstances, which I luckily did not. Josephine is an ambitious, fiercely independent bundle of energy who never settles for less than she deserves. As her father says: “when she was little she tried to ride the rainbow. Her ambition was up high....her reality was at times down there.”

What parts of Josephine’s life are based on truth and what are a work of fiction? That’s what you’ll have to determine for yourself…”

Candy Jar’s Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, explains the book’s rare appeal:

“Josephine has so much for a reader to enjoy. There’s the genuine insight into life of an aspiring young actress, struggling for expression and self- fulfillment in an industry often more interested in exploiting such ambition; a timely theme if there ever was one, and based on life. And most of all, an emotionally honest, compelling, and moving central story. That’s at the heart of everything: Josephine herself, a strong, vivacious woman won’t settle for the life she’s been given, but instead shoots for the moon. Does she make it? You will have to find out…” 

  
Find out more about Candy Jar, and order your copy of Angela's novel here: www.candyjarbooks.co.uk

Josephine: An Open Book was published on 11 October! 

You can follow Angela on Twitter @ImAngelaDouglas

And Angela will be in conversation at The Kenneth More Theatre on Sunday 4 November. Read more about that here


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Happy Birthday Robin Askwith!

 

Many happy returns to star of stage and screen Robin Askwith, who turns 68 years young today! Robin, still a prolific and rather vibrant presence on television and at fan conventions and events, has had a long and varied career in British entertainment.

Getting his big break in the film If in the late 1960s, Robin quickly made a name for himself in the usual range of cult horror and comedies that were the backbone of the British film industry during the 1970s. He first came to the attention of Carry On fans with his role as Mike Abbott, son of Sidney in the big screen version of the sitcom Bless This House, in 1972. Working for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas on this film, packed with familiar Carry On faces, meant an appearance in the series was only a matter of time.

The following year, Robin played Larry Prodworthy, photographer son of June Whitfield's legendary Augusta, in Carry On Girls. Robin enjoyed a memorable scene with Margaret Nolan on Brighton beach (!) More Carry Ons would surely have followed had the Confessions films not come calling in 1974. The Confessions series took Carry On innuendo to a whole new level with a much more relaxed attitude to sex and nudity, while still peppering the cast with legends of film comedy. 

Robin continues to act today, with recent appearances including television shows such as Casualty, Emmerdale and two stints in Coronation Street. Although he has lived on the island of Gozo for many years, he makes regular trips back to the UK and has struck up a regular working relationship with the lovely people at The Misty Moon Film Society.

 

And long may it all continue! Whatever Robin is up to today, I hope he has an excellent birthday!  

You can read the first part of my interview with Robin here

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Guest Blog: Carry On and Me


I'm delighted to bring you another lovely guest blog with a Carry On theme. Helena has written about how she came to find the Carry On films and what they have meant to her over the years. It's a really nice read and I hope you enjoy it.

I need to fess up from the start to you all. I am not English. I need to tell you this because as someone who was not delivered into an environment that is intrinsically tuned in to the culture and humour that only the English understand ‘Carry On, I truly believe taught me and my sisters how to be British.

From a very young age when I first witnessed the black and white ‘Carry On s’  ...I was introduced to the subtlety’s of self depreciation, innuendo and British post card humour  which in my everyday immediate circle I never encountered. I had never been on a British seaside holiday and I had never seen a saucy postcard. My experience of ‘the Battleaxe’, ‘camp gentleman’ and vixen etc was extremely limited.

I almost osmotically put two and two together and started seeing these characters in my own environment. I could see how some of my neighbours and teachers store keepers kind of fitted some of these stereotypes. It came alive in my little world.



As an adult I now can I truly appreciate the genius scripts and the comic timing. In addition I can also critique the depiction of women and other not so great things but taken in the paradigm of when they were made I consider the ‘carry Ons’ as works of cinematic art.Yes I can see that the men are lecherous idiots and the women one dimensional and the actors behind the smiles had sad stories. But they shaped my childhood which was largely introspective and based on black and white television. My sisters and I did not look that deeply at the time. As we watch them now we still laugh despite what we know and nostalgically think of an innocent less politically correct world which we know was not necessarily better but less censored.

As I began with confessions may I lay my cards out …these are my own personal favourite top three.

My sisters and I have scrutinised analysed and debated into the small wee hours on this and after much deliberation and reflection we have concluded that these are the beacons in the carry on portfolio and no further discussion is needed. Some of the Carry Ons are far better than others in my humble opinion. Some try too hard to get the laughs .The latter I felt lacked the articulate wit of the early scripts and were just plain smutty. The top three are;
 In no particular order:

Carry On Screaming
Carry On Cleo
Carry On up the Khyber.

My sisters and I have watched these three films so often we can break out into quoting the scripts at whim. While my parents worked day and night in the restaurant trade my sisters and I would cuddle up to watch a carry on whenever it was on TV.



I recall on one particular occasion my mother was home and we were watching the last scene of Khyber ,the dinner party scene and she stood in the middle of the  sitting room staring at the tv screen and said;

‘Why are they eating when there is war?’

The three of us guffawed. And I piped up ‘because they are British mum ‘

She still did not get it. But we did. It was the essence of the British stiff upper lip.

You did not capitulate, certain things were important. A good claret, dressing for dinner, not being rattled. Keeping order not allowing anything to spoil the punctuating rituals that make life civilised. Literally carrying on so that those that wish to de rail the nice order of British life were shown that they could not whatever they did. I may have been young but it was insidiously being embedded into my psyche. To the point when I was Nursing and faced with a builder that had split his head with a dado rail and had plaster all in bits in his hair in casualty I merely responded ‘oh dear you seem to have been a little plastered’ my homage to dear Joan.

My sisters and I were being disconnected from the Greek Mediterranean histrionic responses we were used to. In addition we were learning that you can have an empire and be the land of Shakespeare and routinely take the mickey out of yourself which Carry on did so perfectly. 
Small references within ‘Carry On’ would only make you giggle if you are part of the everyday life in Britain. In ‘Carry On Cleo’ the slave market was’ Marcus & Spencius’ which is just sublimely witty and only funny if like me you knew the addiction and affection the British have towards that particular retailer especially in the 60s and 70s.



Other lines are almost childishly endearing in their deliver include ‘Frying tonight’ always caused side splitting mirth with the three of us especially when we all shouted it out in my dad’s fish and chip shop. My father glared at us as he chucked the chips into the hot oil and we in uniform chorused the famous words.

The Carry On films have long been a part of my family’s entertainment life. The mad humour, double meaning jokes, the classic lines "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" from Cleo, all reveal the British sense of humour. They are also a cinematic catalogue of a countries social change; in many areas for example, Sexual attitudes, homosexuality, workers’ rights foreign holidays.

My family and as kind of first generation migrants took them at face value. We had no presumptions that we were watching art and they had no important message. They were simply an affectionate sideways look at Britain, and all the eccentricities and quirks showed what made Britain.

It was an austere Britain of class, sexual repression and spam sandwiches and smog.
I went on to train as a nurse and my colleagues and I fought against the saucy nurse stereotype throughout the 80s . Barbara Windsor has a lot to answer for. But in truth we loved the Carry Ons and I have met many Consultants that have that God like Kenneth Williams’s presence and Dr Nookys among the houseman. We also lament the demise of the compliant patent that obeyed us and did as they were told in deference. Maybe Charles Hawtrey , Sid James et al were predicting the patient rebellion of the future in Carry on Matron ,they knew their rights.

So finally let me say the Carry On films are a British institution for those of us of a certain age’ in the words of Dr Tinkle Enigma’
 … (Of course famously responded to by Mr Roper ‘Oh Im not having another one of those’)

So let’s just carry on watching laughing and enjoying!



A big thank you to Helena for taking the time to write this wonderful guest blog. If you would like to have a go yourself, please either email me at carryonfan15@gmail.com or send me a message via Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram