Wednesday 14 October 2015

Carry On Fan of the Week: John!

It's time once again to meet another Carry On fan of the week. This week, John Hewer tells us why he loves Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Angela Douglas and the memorable Carry On Screaming! And who could blame him? 

What was the first Carry On film you ever saw?

I caught the slapstick pie-fight ending of Carry On Loving late one night, around the age of 7. The shot I particularly remember was Julian Holloway's ("keep them coming!") before being pelted with a lot of cream. It was followed, if memory serves, by a screening of Carry On Cruising, but it was long past my bedtime to stay up. Thankfully, C4 started screening a lot of the early ones on Sunday afternoons shortly afterwards. So Carry On Constable was my first "full" film.

Who is your favourite Carry On actor and why?

I think the 'character actors' of Sid James, Peter Butterworth and Kenneth Connor are 'the best', whereas Jim Dale is simply sublime at the comical stunts, but my absolute favourite is scene-stealer Charles Hawtrey. Hawtrey very often appears to be in a different film compared to the others, has no qualms about doing some direct address to the camera, and, for me, runs away with the best drag appearance in the series (for Carry On Again Doctor). Being arguably the most experienced performer in front of the camera lens due to his lengthy career beforehand, he was a master of his art.

Who is your favourite Carry On actress and why?

Hattie Jacques may embody all that is loveable about the series, but my personal favourite is the dynamic, versatile and incredibly quick-witted Joan Sims. Her contributions, no matter how small, are always finely tuned. Although Julie Walters is a close second, there has simply been no-one to match her for her performances. I think Angela Douglas deserves more credit than she often receives. Four performances, but each is strikingly different, light and gave those period parodies some gravitas. 

Who is your favourite Carry On supporting actor?

Is Windsor Davies a supporting actor? Far too many to list.... Peter Gilmore and Jon Pertwee for the lads, Marianne Stone and Esma Cannon for the ladies. All for the same reason; you see their names in the credits and you know their moment to shine is going to be more than worthwhile. 

Have you ever visited any Carry On film locations?

Hundreds. Best was tracking down the hotels that the cast and crew stayed in while filming Carry On Up The Khyber. Actually managed to pinpoint the 'Khyber Pass'. The hotel manager was extremely friendly and handed over some fascinating shooting reports schedules, and some rare signatures of the cast. I treasure them a lot.

Have you ever met any Carry On actors?

Quite a few, mostly from the Pinewood get-togethers many years ago. Too many to name and I'd hate to miss one out!! Bumped (literally) into Barbara Windsor, while she was having a night out with June Brown as she was getting into a taxi. Always seems to have time for her fans.

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia?

Yes, I wish I had a spare room to properly 'kit out' with it. I love the film posters and if I ever have a windfall, they're usually what I try to collect. Other memorabilia includes the various books, models, calendars, LPs, items of clothing, lobby cards.... One of the most treasured is Leslie Phillips' signed copy of his script forRaising the Wind. Not strictly a 'Carry On' mind...

Finally, what's your all time favourite Carry On film?

Like most folk, it varies... Carry On Screaming is so consistently funny and extremely well made, likewiseCarry On Cleo. I have a few guilty pleasures in Carry On Teacher, Carry On Again Doctor, Carry On Up the Jungle and Carry On Dick which some people don't rate particularly high. But Carry On Screaming, despite lacking the presence of Sid, is brilliantly executed. 

Many thanks once again to John for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about John here:

Darling... Have You Seen My Structural Surveys | A New Farce by John Hewer | Riverhead Theatre, Louth | 14th-19th September
A Fistful of Spaghetti | The Spoof Western by Hambledon Productions | Lincolnshire Tour 2015
Just Like That! The Tommy Cooper Show | ★ Production | Museum of Comedy, London l | December 2015

If you would like to be my next Carry On Fan of The Week, please email your answers to the questions to - I look forward to hearing from you!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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  1. Thanks for posting this Graeme! And the extra shout-out too! Long live the Carry Ons.

    1. You're very welcome! Thank you for taking part!

  2. Carry on carrying on a true fan that keeps on smileing every time eny of the films are on tv thank you.