Thursday 24 December 2015

The Carry On Soap Bubble

The festive season is peak time viewing for many British soap operas. Love them or loathe them, they are still some of the most popular programmes on television these days. I have a passion for Coronation Street but one must recognise that other soaps do exist!

There are plenty of Carry On connections with the main soaps. Less so these days sadly, as Carry On actors become increasingly thin on the ground, but here are some of the most famous links.

Let's start off with Corrie. Although there aren't any connections left these days, there was a period in the 1990s when the Manchester drama boasted three Carry On actors in the regular cast. Amanda Barrie spent well over a decade as cafe owner Alma Sedgwick, while Johnny Briggs played her on screen husband Mike Baldwin for thirty years. Sherrie Hewson also appeared, as Maureen Naylor for four years before moving on to other soap roles in both Crossroads and Emmerdale.

Other Carry On actors to pop up in Weatherfield have included: Bernard Cribbins, Kenneth Cope, Dilys Laye, Bill Maynard, Noel Dyson, Angela Douglas, June Whitfield, Brian Oulton, Brian Capron, Rosalind Knight and Bill Kenwright.

Let's head down south now to the BBC drama EastEnders. Again during the 1990s, the Albert Square soap opera featured three Carry On actors in its cast. Of course Carry On blonde bombshell Barbara Windsor played Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell for sixteen years during the 1990s and 2000s. Wendy Richard, who appeared in two Carry On films and a Christmas television special was an original EastEnders cast member, appearing as Pauline Fowler from 1985 until 2006. Dilys Laye, already mentioned as having a role in Corrie, played a recurring role as Maxine Palmer in Walford between 1994 and 1995.  

What about Emmerdale? The late actress Shirley Stelfox appeared briefly in Carry On At Your Convenience. She would spend the last fifteen years of her career as Edna Birch. Carry On England star Patrick Mower is still a regular cast member in Emmerdale today, having played Rodney Blackstock since 2000. 

Over in Hollyoaks, despite it being a youth-oriented soap opera, it has still got a Carry On actress in its cast. Diane Langton, who played Private Alice Easy in Carry On England has been playing Nana McQueen on and off for several years now. Back in 1996, semi-regular Carry On actress Carol Hawkins appeared in a one off role.

So do you know of any other Carry On connections with the best of British soap operas? If you do, get in touch!

Read more about Corrie's Carry On Connections .

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

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