Thursday 17 December 2015

Why Bernie loved Sleeping Beauty

Here is a rather sweet little story with a festive theme. In 1958, Bernard Bresslaw signed up to star in a production of Sleeping Beauty at the London Palladium. His co-stars included Charlie Drake and Bruce Forsyth. It was one of the country's premier pantomimes and proved to be a huge success.

Bernard was years away from Carry On fame, he didn't make his first in the series until Cowboy in 1965. However Bresslaw was at the height of his television fame thanks to the roaring success achieved by the Granada comedy series, The Army Game. As Private Popplewell, Bernard was a star, even recording a novelty record. 

Bernard was quoted as saying his role in Sleeping Beauty was his very favourite acting assignment. This is a man who starred in fourteen classic Carry Ons, countless television programmes and many successful, impressive serious theatrical roles. A giant amongst men in every sense of the word, it wasn't the acting involved that made it memorable.

Amongst the supporting cast on Sleeping Beauty was a young dancer called Liz who, in 1959 would become Mrs Bresslaw. Bernard and Liz would be married until his early death at the age of just 59 in 1993. Together they had three sons, Jonathan, Mark and James. You may remember James making an appearance in the Carry On Forever documentary earlier this year, reminiscing about his famous, talented dad.

There was a spell when the media wanted to darken the memories and reputations of many of the Carry On actors. Thankfully those days seem to have gone as there is no more muck to rake. The simple fact that actors like Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth and Kenneth Connor were ordinary, decent men has never received much coverage, mores the pity. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan  

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