Saturday 16 January 2016

The Chayste Place Girls!

As I frequently write about some of the lesser known stars of Carry On, I thought I would attempt a mammoth post looking at the actresses who played the infamous girls from Chayste Place Finishing School in Carry On Camping! Led by Barbara Windsor as Babs, the girls accompanied Kenneth Williams' Dr Soaper and Hattie Jacques' Miss Haggard on a summer holiday to Paradise Camp Site.

While some of the actresses are already known to us, there are several who I know by face only. Only a handful of them actually had dialogue in the film - Sandra Caron, Elizabeth Knight and Trisha Noble however the rest of them did appear throughout the film so deserve a blog of their own. I won't write about Barbara as we know her well already, this blog will focus on the lesser known girls.

Sandra Caron, who played Babs' friend Fanny.

Sandra, the sister of legendary singer Alma Cogan, had the biggest supporting role of all the girls, playing Barbara Windsor's partner in crime Fanny. These days Sandra is best remembered for playing Richard O'Brien's Mumsie in the cult Channel 4 game show The Crystal Maze between 1990 and 1993. Sandra also featured in films such as The Leather Boys and Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World and her television parts included The Odd Couple, Charlie's Angels, Dixon of Dock Green and her most recent role in the Maureen Lipman comedy Agony Again in 1995. Sandra returned to Carry On to take part in the 2002 audio commentary for Camping alongside co-star Dilys Laye.

Elizabeth Knight, who played Jane.

Liz Knight made an eye catching appearance in Camping, playing the young girl who woos Peter Potter (Terry Scott) and subsequently puts life back in the Potters' marriage. Knight must have made an impact as she was back for a small role as Nurse Willing in the following film, Again Doctor, early in 1969. In Again Doctor she worked with Steptoe's Wilfrid Brambell. Away from the Carry Ons, Elizabeth appeared in television shows such as No Hiding Place, The Liars, Sorry I'm Single and It's Awfully Bad for your Eyes Darling. On film, she played Charlotte in the 1968 film Oliver. She also appeared in Villain and Doing Time. Liz Knight's last credited role was playing a party guest in a 1980 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I'm not sure what happened to her after that, sadly.

Trisha Noble, who played Sally.

Trisha Noble's role in Camping was meant to be much more to the fore than the final cut. Her character was due to have a romance with Julian Holloway's Jim Tanner. I'm not quite sure what happened to that plot line but very little remains. Sandra Caron mentioned in the audio commentary that Noble's expectations of the treatment she would receive on the film were perhaps adrift from what most artistes received on a Carry On! Born in Australia, Trisha Noble was primarily a singer however she has appeared in many other shows over the years. These include Z Cares, It's Tommy Cooper, Up Pompeii, Callan, Columbo, Mary Tyler Moore, The Rockford Files, Hart to Hart and The Love Boat. As these credits demonstrate, much of Trisha's later career took place in the United States.

Valerie Shute, who played Pat.

Valerie Shute is a familiar face to Carry On fans, playing small supporting roles in five of the films. Following her debut in Camping, Valerie played a nurse in Again Doctor, the Girl Lover opposite Mike Grady in Loving, a maid in Henry and finally Miss Smethurst in Carry On Matron. Away from Carry On, Valerie appeared in The Fenn Street Gang, Secret Army and Emmerdale. Valerie was at one time married to the writer Willis Hall, best remembered for That Was The Week That Was and the film Billy Liar.

Georgina Moon, who played Joy.

Georgina appeared alongside her real life father George in Camping. George played the handyman alongside Peter Butterworth's Mr Fiddler when Sid and the gang first arrive at Paradise Camp. Georgina returned to Carry On for the Camping follow up, Carry On Behind in 1975. She played Sally opposite Diana Darvey, Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas in the climatic, trouser ripping finale. Away from Carry On, Georgina had a regular role in Up Pompeii on television, playing Erotica. 

She also appeared in The Dick Emery Show, played Rose in Clochemerle and Sylvia in UFO. She played Christine Cropper in the series How's Your Father, Miss Finch in You're Only Young Twice and had two separate roles in the series Bless This House. She also played Moira in the big screen version of Bless This House, again for Rogers and Thomas. Georgina made a return to Carry On earlier this year, appearing in the second episode of the ITV3 documentary, Carry On Forever.

Jennifer Pyle, who played Hilda.

Sadly the non-speaking role of Hilda in Carry On Camping is Jennifer's only acting credit. If anyone has anymore information on her, please get in touch!

Jackie Poole, who played Betty. 

Betty was Jackie's only appearance in the Carry On series. She went on to appear in a few other small parts at around the same time in the 1960s. These included roles in The Dick Emery Show, Adam Adamant Lives, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde and a short film called Hot Girls For Men Only (!) played The Bird. Moving on...

Vivien Lloyd, who played Verna.

Vivien Lloyd has made a few other appearances on both the small and the big screen. She has appeared Armchair Theatre, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre and Sorry! On film, she also popped up in Change Partners and the big screen version of Steptoe and Son.

Lesley Duff, who played Norma.

Norma was Lesley's first screen acting credit and her only Carry On appearance. Lesley went on to have a regular role in Doctor's Daughters, Emmerdale, Streets Apart, Specials and Castles on television and has also had one off roles in Casualty, Minder, Juliet Bravo, Taggart and Class Act. These days Lesley is still active in the profession but as an actors' agent. 

Anna Karen, who played Hefty Girl.

Last but by no means least is the familiar name of Anna Karen. Given the rather unfortunate character name of Hefty Girl, Anna features early on in Camping in the famous fight scenes with Barbara Windsor. Anna returned for another brief role as a wife in the climatic food fight scenes in Carry On Loving. These days Anna is best remembered for her long running role in the classic television sitcom On The Buses in which she played Olive, from 1969 until 1973. Anna reprised her role as Olive in three big screen spin off films - On The Buses, Mutiny On The Buses and Holiday On The Buses. 

Anna has also appeared in Dixon Of Dock Green, the series Wild, Wild Women, the film Poor Cow, the Wendy Craig series And Mother Makes Five, The Kenneth Williams Show and Super Gran. In 1977 she reprised her role as Olive for another series, a revived version of The Rag Trade for ITV. Anna Karen was reunited with her Carry On co-star and life long friend Barbara Windsor in the BBC soap EastEnders. Anna played Peggy Mitchell's sister Aunt Sal from 1997 and still appears in the show on a recurring basis. 

So there you have it - a quick run through of the girls who made up that pack of Chayste Place little darlings! Some of them returned to Carry On for further adventures, some did well in other areas of the profession while others have vanished without trace. If anyone can fill in any gaps or knows of their whereabouts, do get in touch! 

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  1. Jennifer pyle is a very good friend of mine for over
    40 years. And lives 5 minutes away, what would you like to know ?

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for getting in touch - wonderful, if you'd be happy to talk to me or put me in touch with Jennifer, my email is - please drop me a line.