Saturday 4 April 2015

My thoughts on Carry On Forever, Part 1

It was with slight trepidation that I sat down to watch the first part of ITV3's documentary, Carry On Forever. I was keen to see it and looking forward to reliving the Carry On glory days as well as seeing some of the wonderful actors again.

However at the same time I was worried that the programme would be sensitive to the fact that given the amount of time that has now passed, it is unlikely that such a programme could be made again. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility involved in producing such a show.

Despite my initial worries, I absolutely loved it. Look away now if you haven't watched it yet!

It was a beautifully made first hour dealing principally with the early films in the Carry On cannon. There were so many highlights for me I don't know where to begin. I loved seeing original Carry On girl Shirley Eaton being driven back to Pinewood Studios, where it all began. 

I got slightly moist-eyed seeing the amazing Liz Fraser back at the studios too. There was something very touching seeing Liz wandering around the massive studio, reliving moments from Carry On Cruising. It was very moving.

Then up popped the wonderful Julian Holloway! That was a surprise! I had really hoped he would be involved in this programme and it was so good to see him contribute. I don't think I've ever seen him interviewed about the Carry Ons before so that was great and it looks like he'll be back tonight to talk about Carry On Camping!

It was also a treat to see Rosalind Knight interviewed about her time making Carry On Teacher. A thrill too to see her back on location at the school used for Maudlin Street in 1959. She looked very pleased to be there which was a joy to behold. Then came Sally Geeson, looking amazing and sounding exactly the same. As always she spoke about Sid with warmth, honesty and great affection. Heart-warming stuff.

I was glad to see original Carry On writer Norman Hudis involved in this project too. Still going strong into his 90s. His recollections and memories of the early years are so important. Meanwhile everything was held together beautifully with regular input from Carry On historian Robert Ross. We saw brief snippets of Amanda Barrie and Jim Dale, more to follow I'm sure.

I adored the glimpses of old footage, the introduction, one by one of the main players both behind and in front of the camera. Everyone had their moment in the sun. The photography, long since archived was given a new lease of life and it was amazing to see it all. I'm looking forward to more of that.

For me though, the absolute highlight of the episode was Bernard Cribbins and Juliet Mills meeting up for the first time since Carry On Jack, made some 50-odd years ago. It was obvious that both actors had a great deal of affection for both the film they made together and for each other. It was very moving to see Juliet sneak up on an unsuspecting Bernard back at Frensham Ponds where they had filmed so many years before. It brought a tear to my eye.

It was all top quality, sensitively handled and full of warmth and affection. Sure, I'd heard most of the stories before but it still felt fresh and worthwhile. My only question is given how good it was, why is this not being shown on the main ITV channel? It should be getting a much wider audience. 

I cannot wait for Part Two! So what did you think?

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