Thursday 24 March 2016

The Silent Stars of Carry On

We all love hearing from those involved with the Carry On films, especially those who appeared in front of the camera. Sadly many of the original cast are now, as Bernard Cribbins referred to it as "in the bar upstairs", however there are still plenty of interesting characters around with stories to tell.

It is always great to hear from the likes of Bernard, Jim Dale, Shirley Eaton and Fenella Fielding, however there are many other Carry On actors who we rarely (if ever) hear from. While some actors may not want to (or enjoy) being interviewed or others may prefer not to discuss their involvement in the Carry Ons, there are a few who have stayed silent for no known reason.

Back in the day, there just weren't the same kind of opportunities for actors to be interviewed. When Hattie, Peter and Sid were still with us there were only three television channels and the internet was a long way off. 

So who would I like to hear more from these days? The actress Ann Firbank is still working today in her early 80s and although she only appeared in one Carry On, it was the marvellous Carry On Nurse. Together with her colleague in that film Susan Beaumont, they are rare surviving members from those early days. It would be great to hear their recollections of working on that wonderful medical Carry On.

Another actress I'd love to hear from is the great Carole Shelley. Carole has gone on to a highly successful career in stage and screen in the United States however she began her career in Britain and with supporting roles in two early Carry Ons, Regardless and Cabby. Much later on in the lifespan of Carry On, but another actress who left for work over in America is Judy Geeson, star of Carry On England. While we often see her sister Sally Geeson interviewed or appear at film conventions, Judy has never spoken about England (to my knowledge). 

Staying with the later Carry Ons, one figure who has stayed silent on her appearance in Emmannuelle is Suzanne Danielle. It would be fascinating to hear Suzanne's memories of working on this controversial film and on working so closely with Kenneth Williams. 

If Carry On Abroad actress Gail Grainger is out there, I'd love to hear from her on her work with the team on what many consider the last truly great film in the series. She appears to have completely disappeared but I'd love to track her down. 

Two stars of Carry On Behind who are both very definitely still around have never really spoken about their involvement in the series. International guest star Elke Sommer has long been based in Hollywood but wouldn't it be fascinating to hear what she made of her few weeks filming with Williams, Connor and Sims in the orchard at Pinewood? Also, legendary star of the small screen Windsor Davies has been retired for several years now, but it would be lovely to hear what he thought about stepping into Sid James' shoes for his role as butcher Fred Ramsden.

Finally, one more actor I'd like to hear from is the infamous Trisha Noble who played Sally in Carry On Camping. Legend has it that this young Australian actress didn't quite fit with what the Carry On team at Pinewood expected and the role was cut back as a result. It would be great to hear her take on all that!

It is possible we'd one day here from these actors on their times making the Carry On films. After all, some years back it was thought Margaret Nolan had retired into obscurity somewhere in the Spanish countryside. Now, back in London it was great to see her take part in Carry On Forever last year. So here's hoping more of these names break their silence!

So who would you like to hear more from?

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

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