Saturday 24 September 2016

Hattie Carries On...As Sister in Carry On Regardless


Having covered every one of Joan Sims' 24 Carry On roles it now only seems fair that I turn the spotlight onto another great and loyal member of the team. Sticking with the wonderful women, I've decided to focus on all 14 of Hattie Jacques' Carry On appearances. Hattie's contribution to Carry On comedy was immense. Although appearing in far fewer films that Joan, Hattie created some iconic roles, none more so that the infamous Matron, a character which came to dominate her later career.

However there was far more to Jacques than that. She played Matron in all four of the medical films but there were ten other roles to enjoy too, from a budgie obsessed housewife to an angry, aggressive Spanish cook! So sit back and enjoy a run of blogs which looks at Hattie's Carry On contribution from the very first film in 1958 right through to her last supporting role in Carry On Dick 16 years later. So let's continue our journey today with a look back at Hattie's fifth role in the series, as Sister in Carry On Regardless


This is very much Hattie's smallest role in the Carry On series and is really only a cameo. While this is frustrating for fans, Hattie was very nearly not in the film at all. By the end of 1960 the Carry Ons had been a success at the box office for over two years and spanned four hit films. Hattie was strongly identified as part of the team and as a major contributor to their success. Hattie was originally destined to play a much bigger, main team role of Delia King which was eventually recast and rewritten for newcomer Liz Fraser. The downside was less of Hattie, however it did allow Liz to become a valued and much-loved member of the team for the next few films.

Sadly Hattie was ill as preparations for filming were finalised, however as she very much wanted to remain a part of the fun, the small role of Sister was created for her. It was fitting that her scenes took place in the hospital sequence of Regardless as by then Hattie was already strongly linked with the role of Matron. It was apt that Hattie shared her scenes with Carry On Nurse colleague Joan Hickson, although the roles here were reversed with Joan playing the Matron.


Hattie's sequence is a particularly funny one with Sid James' chancer Bert Handy being mistaken for a bombastic yet important old buffer he is standing in for in the hospital waiting room. June Jago's nurse makes the initial mistake although Sid is quite happy to be known as Sir Theodore, especially when it involves a tour that takes in a bevvy of young nurses in their underwear! Hattie's Sister comes into contact with Sid and is her usual officious self although there is a brief moment, yet again when her humanity is allowed to show through.

It's lovely to see Hattie however briefly and it was obviously done to please the already legions of Carry On fans. After a continuous run of films, Hattie would miss the next in the series, Carry On Cruising, before returning in the spring of 1963 for my favourite Hattie performance in my favourite Carry On film. Fittingly, Carry On Cabby was also Hattie's favourite role. I'll be writing about her turn as Peggy Hawkins soon!


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