Wednesday 23 November 2016

What A Carry On Abroad!


I'm off on my holidays tomorrow so I won't be carrying on blogging for a couple of weeks. Don't worry though, I'll be back next month and I have plenty of (hopefully) interesting and entertaining blogs lined up for when I return. 

In the meantime, here's hoping my holiday features none of this:


I can stay well clear of scenes like this:


And that it certainly does not end up like this:

However I wouldn't say no to a few Flo Dears!


Anyway, keeping Carrying On and I'll see you soon!

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

My Favourite Carry On Photos: Carry On Abroad


This is part of a new series of blogs looking back at some of my favourite photos from the Carry On archive. I plan to blog some of the photos from the Carry On films and of their stars that mean the most to me and why I love them so much. As simple as that!

Today I'm back at one of my favourite Carry Ons, Carry On Abroad. Released in 1972, it featured the main gang all together again for the last time. It was Charles Hawtrey's last film with the team and the films that followed suffered from his absence. Abroad sees a ramshackle bunch of British eccentrics fly off for a four day package holiday to the dreadful Spanish island of Elsbells! Of course all goes less than swimmingly but it's a well observed, quick paced farce and I love it.

The picture above only surfaced in the past couple of years but it's a beautiful colour shot of Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams on location in their costumes as holidaymaker Sadie Tomkins and Wundatours courier Stuart Farquhar! This being a Carry On, the glamorous location is Slough high street, but nevertheless it's a joy and the chemistry and off screen friendship between Windsor and Williams is clear to see. They always reveled in each other's company and often behaved like a couple of naughty school children!

The scene they were preparing to film sees the holidaymakers all assemble for the first time for the coach trip to the airport at the start of the holiday. It's a classic scene and one I can watch again and again - it's the Carry Ons at their very best.

Stay tuned for more of my favourite Carry On images coming up soon!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Tuesday 22 November 2016

A Fenella Christmas Evening!


Yes I know Christmas is a long way off but if you are looking for an evening out to get you in the festive spirit, how about a trip to the Cinema Museum for an evening with the legendary Fenella Fielding on 10 December? 

Fenella Fielding returns to the museum to talk about her remarkable career in theatre, film, TV and radio. In particular, the evening will be a celebration of Fenella’s film roles that began in 1959 with Sapphire.Subsequent titles include Foxhole In Cairo, The Old Dark House and then a run of very successful comedy roles: various Doctor films (most notably as Tatiana Rubikov in Doctor in Clover), Carry On Regardless, and of course, her iconic Valeria Watt in Carry On Screaming. This was followed by a role in the big MGM production starring Tony Curtis, Drop Dead Darling. 
The evening, hosted by Simon McKay (Break London Radio), will begin with a reading from Fenella’s forthcoming audio book of memoirs. 
Doors open at 18.30, for a 19.30 start. 
Refreshments will be available in the licenced cafe/bar. 

TIckets are £14 (plus booking fee). You can buy tickets here 
This event is brought to you in association with the fabulous Misty Moon Film Society. Find out more about them here 
And find out more about The Cinema Museum here 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Carry On Blogging Fan Interview: Adam Endacott


In the latest of my Carry On fan interviews I caught up with the lovely Adam Endacott. Adam is currently researching for a book he is writing on his comedy hero, Kenneth Williams. So Carry On Reading for more on his love of Kenneth and the Carry Ons...

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

Good question! My Mum remembers me watching Cowboy when I was about 4 in 1986 and can you believe I didn't like Kenneth Williams in it apparently!! Very odd. I think it has to be At Your Convenience though in 1988 - I excitedly phoned my Nan when it was on the TV as she had a video recorder and we didn't!

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

What gives you that impression? Ha ha! I think it's the company of actors, easy narratives and the great sense of fun. They are easy to watch and it's typically 90mins of escapism. 


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...

For me, they come into their own from Cruising onwards - the first ones are watchable but for me there is something missing. I much prefer Talbot Rothwell's work and I think it's because his humour mirrors mine. The greatest b&w one is Spying - pure brilliance.

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

My least favourite is England - having said that perhaps I should try watching it again! Now, I like Emmannuelle - yes, it's no masterpiece but it is watchable and the old guard make the film. I pestered the Carry On Office for when it would be released on VHS! I digress, I think they pushed the boundary a bit too far with tits and bums but it's of its time with the Confession films and how Britain was at that time between 1976-78. 


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

Yes, they all have a charm and fun about them - it's like the Thomas and Box films. A familiar cast, easy plot and just good fun to watch. I think it has to be Twice Round the Daffodils and Raising the Wind - both have Kenneth in I know!

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

They're a stable part of our lives and good entertainment stands the test of time. Just look at their contemporaries such as Dad's Army and others. They are all so readily available now that you can watch them at any time and by anyone. Let's hope they continue to 'carry on' in that way!

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia or signed photos?

Yes - a fair few! I've got a collection ranging from lobby cards and press books through to clothing and toy cars! I was fortunate to collect autographs from 1988 onwards so I treasure my Carry On ones. 


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?
Very much so - a versatile and lovable lady. She could make you laugh one moment and be serious the next - her pathos and timing was impeccable. I grew up watching her in Simon & The Witch also so she's always been in my life. Her career was remarkable and covered pretty much everything! So sad when she was strangled by the clothes line in a Miss Marple, delighted when she said 'Just the one' in On the Up, stole the scene in 'Martin Chuzzlewit' and tugged at the heart strings in 'My Good Friend' with George Cole. What a great comeback she had with The Last of the Blonde Bombshells. An amazing talent and should have been recognised more in my opinion.

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

I would like to meet June Whitfield - another favourite - to thank her for all the wonderful years of entertainment she has provided and for always being there! Someone you would like to hug!

Who do you think is the ultimate unsung hero of the Carry On films? And why do you think so?

I think it's Dilys Laye - she was always underlooked in my opinion and yet she made significant appearances in core films of the series. Shame there's no 45 of 'The Magic of Love' from Spying.

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

I wish they wouldn't - it needs to be laid to rest! The only good thing is that it helps keep ahead of Bond and then remain the longest running series of films. 


Who is your all-time favourite Carry On actor?

A very easy answer - Kenneth Williams! He is my hero. He always makes me laugh and made all his parts believable and the characters he played in the films individual and different. Just a look or a gesture allowed him to scene steal.

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

I struggle with this, but I always go back to my 8th birthday and when I received my first Carry On on video and that was Camping. Closely followed by Screaming, Spying, At Your Convenience and Abroad.

I'd like to thank Adam for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish him well with his book on Kenneth. The Kenneth Williams Companion is due for publication in 2017/18. You can follow Adam and find out more about his project on Twitter here

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

Monday 21 November 2016

Kenneth Williams Live at Two


Kenneth Williams became a doyen of the chat show during the peak of their powers in the 1970s and 1980s. He frequently appeared on the Parkinson Show and other favourites were shows fronted by the likes of Mavis Nicholson, Russell Harty and the late, great Sir Terry Wogan, with Kenneth even standing in for Wogan several times.

I had never seen this interview from the afternoon Granada show, Live at Two, first broadcast in February of 1980, shortly before Kenneth's 54th birthday. By this stage, Kenneth's acting career in its traditional sense, had already all but dried up. The Carry Ons had finished two years before and he would never make another feature film. He would never act in another drama or comedy series on television and the previous year had seen his last West End theatre appearances. 

The dawning of the 1980s would see Kenneth's career go off in different directions. He directed a couple of plays written by his late friend, the hugely talented Joe Orton. He continued to appear on a wide variety of radio programmes, chiefly the classic series Just A Minute and he began to focus on writing - both for magazines and in books - his autobiography and collections of stories. Although his acting career more or less came to an end as he became more of a personality, he did still thrive in one medium - children's television. Jackanory and Galloping Galaxies remain two of my favourites. Kenneth was a natural communicator with young children who loved his directness and childlike innocence. 

At the centre of his career would continue to be performances just like this one on the chat show circuit and he would always be a reliable guest who could turn up and talk about any given subject with an air of authority while always entertaining the masses. He hated it more and more but as the 80s progressed it became his main source of artistic outpouring. Anyway, enjoy this little appearance from 1980, it's classic Kenneth.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Sunday 20 November 2016

The A - Z of Carry On Supporting Actors - Kenneth Waller


This is the latest in a brand new series for Carry On Blogging. It might be slightly ambitious, but I'm going to attempt to do a run through the alphabet of some of the more interesting Carry On supporting actors. One of the reasons I set up this blog was to turn the spotlight on some of the lesser known Carry On actors who nevertheless played an important role in the success of the film series. 

Today we continue with the next letter in the alphabet, W and W is for Kenneth Waller.

Carry On films: Kenneth Waller only appeared in one film in the series, as the Barman in the clubhouse sequences in Carry On Behind in 1975. 


Best known for: Waller is best known for playing long running roles in two highly successful BBC sitcoms. First of all, playing Old Mr Grace in Are You Being Served? from 1981 until 1985 and then following that up with another old man role as Grandad in Carla Lane's hugely successful 1980s Liverpudlian comedy Bread, between 1986-1991. 

Did you know: In 1988 Kenneth Waller joined the cast of the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, playing the father of established character Curly Watts.

What are they up to now: Sadly Kenneth passed away at the age of 72 on the 28th January 2000.


Stay tuned for the next entry in my A - Z of Carry On Supporting Actors! 

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

Saturday 19 November 2016

Carrying On with British Pathe - Film Fanfair with Joan & Shirley

Some more wonderful old British Pathe newsreel footage has appeared on the interweb and I feel that it's my duty to share some of these gems with you! Right up until the mid-1960s, British Pathe presented regular short films and features on a wide range of subjects, promoting businesses, the best of British events and updating cinema-goers on the latest news from both near and far.

A good many of these brilliant shorts featured some very familiar faces from the world of British comedy and in particular, the Carry On films. I have tracked down a fair few and plan to share them in a series of blogs. They present a fantastic glimpse back into possibly simpler times, to a Britain that probably no longer exists and gives a precious, fleeting glance at some of our comedy heroes still on duty but away from the familiarity of Pinewood. 

Today we're going all the way back to 1956 for a spot of film reviewing! Host Paul Carpenter chairs the Celebrity Film Quiz and there are a few Carry On connections. Look out for a couple of young actresses who would soon go on to become big hits in the team. Already a star name by 1956 was 19 year old Shirley Eaton, who had been making a name for herself since her eye catching appearance in Doctor In The House in 1954. Also joining in the fun is none other thanJoan Sims, two years before making her Carry On debut as Nurse Stella Dawson. Joan was going from film to film at this stage of her career, working alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Sid James in lovely cameos. 

Also look out for PEter Noble, a noted film critic and husband of that wonderful Carry On supporting actress Marianne Stone!


You can view the film here 


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Friday 18 November 2016

The Comic Mastery of Connor


Kenneth Connor is a pretty unique actor in the Carry On team. He's also one of those actors I think we take for granted, because of the number of films he made with the gang and his long career. And also because his private life was just that, private. He did not seek out fame and fortune during his acting career so those that did perhaps stole the limelight.

Of course I'm not just a fan of Kenneth because he makes me laugh, which he always does. I think that he achieved a remarkable transformation during his twenty year Carry On career, unlike any of the other male actors who appeared regularly with the team. While Sid James was the comedy King, a stable pair of hands who played the authority figure with a cheeky eye for the ladies and Kenneth Williams played the increasingly camp, outrageous intellectual type, Kenneth Connor transformed from bumbling romantic lead to crumbling character player. 

The strength of Kenneth's acting talent meant that this happened almost seamlessly. It should true progression over the years and tested his range as an actor. Connor emerged as the main star of the early Carry Ons, mainly based on the eye catching supporting role as the wimpish Horace Strong in Carry On Sergeant, chased by Dora Bryan's Norah and frightened of just about everything! This role promoted him to the top of the pile for the films that followed, with major screen time in both Nurse and Teacher. He continued to shine in the likes of Constable and Regardless, despite the arrival of one Mr Sidney James. However following his memorable turn as Hengist Pod, inventor of the square wheel in 1964's classic Carry On Cleo, Connor opted out of several further 1960s Carry On capers to concentrate on his stage career.

This break from all things Carry On meant that when he did rejoin his colleagues at Pinewood for Up The Jungle in 1969, the films had moved on and were much less innocent and more more fruity! While Connor's role in Jungle as Frankie Howerd's assistant Claude Chumley is basically an older version of the characters he played in the late 1950s, the roles that came after his return to the ranks displayed a much more varied talent. Connor stayed with the Carry Ons until the very last of the original run in 1978 but his roles became increasingly diverse as the years progressed.


He played a fiendish plotter in Carry On Henry, intent on bringing down the KIng; a frustrated little man with an endlessly pregnant wife in Matron; a sexually frustrated, put upon middle-aged husband with the wife from hell in Carry On Abroad and a petty, small-minded civic dignitary in Carry On Girls. As the years progressed, Kenneth's roles became more surprising and more skillful. After his early years as the star, his later roles certainly had much less screen time but what he achieved with that time was masterful. The crumbling old constable in Carry On Dick is a case in point. I loved his frustrated, randy old Major Leap in 1975's Carry On Behind too. In 1976 he grabbed a rare late top billing role and was just about the only watchable actor in the otherwise dreadful Carry On England.

Unlike many of the other actors, with the exception of the legendary, endlessly talented Joan Sims, he was never pigeon holed as a particular character. I think it is time to reappraise the wonderful Kenneth Connor and enjoy his beautifully played Carry On characters once more. 

So what's your favourite Connor performance in a Carry On? Drop me a line and let me know!


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