Wednesday 10 August 2016

An Update on Whatever Happened to June Jago...

Last year I wrote the following blog on the life and career of the wonderful June Jago. Sadly June is now no longer with us and there was scant information on her later life after she moved to Australia. Earlier today I received some further information on June's life down under so I've updated this blog with the extra details provided...

I've been running an occasional series looking at semi-regular Carry On actors who are perhaps a little less well known to the general public than the main team. Their faces are instantly recognisable to us all but sometimes we don't know very much else about them.

So far I've blogged about Marianne Stone, Imogen Hassall, Esma Cannon and Carol Hawkins. Today I'm going to focus on another actress who appeared in two classic 1960s Carry Ons, June Jago.

June Jago first appeared in the series in Carry On Regardless in 1961. She played one of the nursing staff in the hospital sequence which also featured Sid James, Hattie Jacques and Joan Hickson. It was a brief but effective performance and the producers must have remembered her when they cast their next Carry On with a medical theme, Carry On Doctor, six years later.

In Carry On Doctor, June Jago played Sister, sidekick to the formidable Matron, Hattie Jacques. Jago is on no nonsense form in Doctor, providing an excellent supporting turn and featuring prominently in scenes opposite Frankie Howerd, Hattie Jacques and Anita Harris. Poor Sister gets her own comeuppance at the end of the film when Dilys Laye and co lock her in a cupboard. Her last appearance also provides a glimpse at Sister's red knickers! Ahem!

After such a memorable supporting role it is somewhat surprising that June Jago didn't return to the Carry On series again. She did pop up in a much earlier Rogers and Thomas offering, Please Turn Over, in 1959. Apart from these screen appearances, June's other career credits are relatively sparse. She guest starred in an episode of The Good Life in 1975 playing a doctor who tended to Tom Good's bad back. She also cropped up in the likes of The Dick Emery Show, Crown Court and Budgie. However June's last screen credit came in 1986. So what else did she do?

Most of June Jago's career was spent on the stage with long spells working at the Royal Court or with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Born in Australia in 1926 she arrived in Britain in the late 1950s and worked here for many years before returning home, presumably in the 1980s. She then devoted the rest of her career to working in the Australian theatre. She also worked as a drama teacher. 

I did once read that Ms Jago often refused to talk about her roles in the Carry Ons in her later career, although I have no idea why that could be. Perhaps she was trying to separate the serious stage actress she was from those knockabout comedy roles? Or maybe she didn't enjoy the experience of working for Rogers and Thomas - not everybody liked their way of working! Sadly, we'll never know as June Jago passed away in August 2010 at the age of 84. 

I certainly enjoyed her roles in both Carry On Regardless and Doctor and wish we'd seen June in more Carry Ons. If anyone knows anything more about her life and career, do get in touch!


Just to fill in the blanks of her time back in Australia, in the late 1970s June became one of the principle teachers at the Victorian College of the Arts where she introduced a generation of professional actors to Shakespeare. She was adored as a serene but steely guide through the complexities of verse speaking and emotional connection. Here insistence on correct enunciation ("it's Duke, darling, not Juke") was legendary. Many of her former pupils are familiar faces in the theatre, film and TV in Australia (Belinda McClory - 'Switch' in The Matrix, for example) and many attended her highly eccentric funeral when she died in 2010.

Unfortunately this update was provided by an unknown contributor to the blog - thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch whoever you are! If you have any more info please do contact me!

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