Wednesday 10 June 2015

Keeping it in the Carry On Family

Following on from Jim Dale's month long residency at the Vaudeville Theatre will be another actor with Carry On connections.

Richard O'Callaghan, who brought Bertram Muffet to life in Carry On Loving and played Kenneth Williams' son Lewis in At Your Convenience, will be starring alongside David Suchet and Michele Dotrice in a production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Richard is now one of a only a handful of Carry On actors still working regularly on the stage so it's great to see him back in the West End. 

Richard also shares quite a rare position in Carry On history as his mother, the late actress Patricia Hayes also appeared in a Carry On. Remember her cameo as Mrs Beazley in Carry On Again Doctor? This made me wonder how many other occasions of family members appearing in Carry Ons there were. It took me a while but I've come up with a few.

Probably the most famous is that of Carry On regular Kenneth Connor and his son Jeremy. Jeremy first appeared along side his dad in Carry On Nurse way back in 1958. After a long gap, the grown up Jeremy then returned to Pinewood to film cameo roles in three later Carry Ons, playing a footpad in Dick, a man with an ice cream in Behind and finally a gunner in Carry On England in 1976.

Two sets of sisters also appeared in Carry On films. The most well known pair are probably Sally and Judy Geeson. Sally of course appeared in the classic Carry On Abroad in 1972 and returned a year later for a brief cameo in Girls. She also appeared in the Ideal Home crowd sequence in Carry On Regardless back in 1961. Judy Geeson had a starring role in the less well received Carry On England. 

Carol White played one of the saboteur school children in Carry On Teacher in 1959, a good few years before she rose to fame thanks to Cathy Come Home. Her sister Jane White also appeared as a pupil in Teacher, featuring in a memorable classroom scene as Irene, opposite Kenneth Williams. 

Man of the moment Jim Dale returned to the Carry On films for the series swan song in 1992. Appearing in the small role of an Inquisitor in Columbus was Jim's son Toby. There was another father and son double act on Columbus, albeit behind the camera. Legendary cinematographer Alan Hume had his son Martin working with him on that picture as a camera operator.

Finally, another couple who were of great importance to the success of the Carry Ons, behind the scenes. Husband and wife team Geoff and Nora Rodway were the chief make up artists on over twenty Carry On films during their careers at Pinewood and many of the actors involved have spoken very fondly of this talented and dedicated couple.

Those were all the family connections I could think of - perhaps you can think of others I might have missed?

The Importance of Being Earnest begins its run at the Vaudeville Theatre in London on 24 June. More information can be found here.

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  1. Great blog.... Don't forget bill and Jon pertwee 2nd cousins I think!

  2. It's great to hear people still talking about my grandparents Geoff and Nora Rodway .

    Alex Rodway

    1. Dear Alex, Thank you for getting in touch. The Rodways were such an important part of the Carry On story. If you would like to get in touch, my email address is - it would be great to hear from you!