Wednesday 5 October 2016

Carry On Blogging Fan Interview: Callum Phoenix


Following my recent interview with Carry On superfan Robert Jervis-Gibbons, another Carry On lover has stepped forward to feature in a Carry On Blogging fan interview. So it's over to Callum Phoenix to find out more about his love of the brilliant Carry On series...

Can you remember the first time you ever saw a Carry On film and which film was it?

My first real recollection and introduction to the Carry On's was the Carry On Laughing compilation series in the 80's. I fell in love with them straight away and wanted to see more. There was something quite magic about them, the actors and the vibrancy of the colour films really stood out. The first actual Carry On film I saw was possibly Carry On Doctor.

You are obviously a massive fan of the films. What is it about them that you love so much?

It has to be the actors and the characters. Peter Rogers always said that it was the title 'Carry On' that was the star. I have to disagree with that. It was the 'team' that made them what they were. The formula they had was rare and may never be repeated. They are great to watch anytime, especially if you are a bit bored or wanting to relax in front of the TV. They are equally brilliant if you are ill or feeling a bit down!

Do you prefer the black and white charm of the early Carry Ons or the full on saucy colour films of the Seventies? And why...

Many would disagree but for me it's the ones from the mid sixties to early Seventies. The black and white ones I always tend to think of as 'nice for a Sunday afternoon'. By the time they were in colour they were in full swing and well established. 


Do you think the likes of Carry On England Emmannuelle went too far from the traditional Carry On brand?

I don't think they are as bad as many fans make out but they were poor choices. At the time England went into production there were other Carry On ideas and scripts floating around such as Carry On Sailor and Carry On Again, Nurse as well as some unused scripts from Norman Hudis that may have done better. That said with the departure of Charlie Hawtrey after Abroad and Sid, Barbara and Hattie having other work on during the time of England and Emmannuelle perhaps ANY new addition would have been weaker without them.

Are you fan of any of the other comedy films Rogers and Thomas produced at the time? If so, what are your favourites?

I am but have only seen a few and not all the way through. I saw 'Raising The Wind' a few years ago and loved it. I've started to buy a few online recently to experience them properly.

Why do you think the Carry Ons are still so universally popular in 2016?

They are legendary. There has been nothing else like them. They hold special memories for people from times past and from growing up. The actors were immensely talented. Look at Joan Sims, how many actresses could pull off that range of characters? Lady Ruff-Diamomd.....genius.

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia or signed photos?

I certainly do. It has been a hobby of mine for many years and I've been very very lucky having a great network of friends who are associated with the special events they hold for them and the conventions. I have spent literally hours researching the stars still around and trying to track them down for an autograph. I've had an incredibly positive response and have signed photos, autographs of all the core team and about 80-100 signed DVDS and memorabilia! I recently discovered the invitation to Jack Douglas's 80th birthday at Pinewood, happy days indeed. I've also got an original Carry On London script/treatment. Of course it was never to be.

I set up my blog as a tribute to the late great Joan Sims. Were you a fan of Joan and if so, what are your thoughts on her career?

Dear Joan. It is strange as I had always been a fan of Carry On but only started seriously collecting about 2000. Sadly Joan died a year later and I never had the chance to meet or correspond with her. Her talent was very underrated. The sad thing is that many of the core team died quite young and it is wholly possible for many of them to still have been around today! I've read a lot of books on Joan and there is a deep sadness there.


Are there any Carry On actors still around today that you would love to meet? Who would they be and why?

I've been fortunate to have met many of the existing stars. I met Barbara Windsor last year in London and she was as fabulous as you can imagine. I met Jim the same year after his one man show in the West End. This year I was invited over to Bill Maynard's home and we chatted about all things Carry On and his career. That was a very special day.
Who do you think is the ultimate unsung hero of the Carry On films? And why do you think so?

For the gentleman it would have to be Peter Butterworth.  He never had top billing but he was a fantastic character actor. For the ladies Patsy Rowlands or Esme Cannon. Her performance in Cruising is brilliant. She had a wonderful vulnerability and was a natural comic.

As you know there are plans to relaunch the series for the 21st Century. What are your thoughts on this?

Part of me thinks go for it and part of me! Can that magic formula work again? Well, considering Columbus had Peter and Gerry Thomas involved and still flopped does not give me much confidence in anyone else trying it. If they made it a parody then that would likely outrage the fans. We have some great comics in the UK but I think even they would struggle in a new Carry On. I think it would also be a tad disrespectful to the old team. It works with Bond I suppose so it isn't impossible.

Who is your all-time favourite Carry On actor?

Predictable but Kenneth Williams. Again, another tragic figure. I've read extensively about Kenny and have a signed book from him that I treasure. I love him in Don't Lose Your Head and Behind! Years apart but he never failed.

And finally, what's your favourite Carry On film of all time?

It has to be Don't Lose Your Head. It was one of the first I saw and the one I've seen the most times. Closely followed by Abroad!


Thanks again to Callum for taking part. You can follow him on Twitter @CallumPhoenix

If you would like to take part, please send your contact details to me via the Get in Touch form on the blog!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also on Facebook

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