Saturday 31 December 2016

An Alternative Auld Lang Syne!

I posted this clip last year but as it's both completely wonderful and very suitable for 31st December, I'm sharing it again this year. As the year draws to a close, it seems fitting to make my final blog post of 2016 a Carry On take on a classic tradition. Being a proud Scotsman, I'm a big fan of the work of Robert Burns. I'm an even greater fan of the work of Kenneth Williams, and in this clip we see the two worlds collide, with a little help from one of my fellow countrymen, the late great Gordon Jackson.

I love Kenneth's Audience With show, filmed towards the end of 1982. It is Williams at his finest - a sublime raconteur holding a celebrity audience in rapture with a series of beautifully delivered anecdotes and tales from his colourful life and career. It's a real classic. One of the highlights is this musical diversion that wrapped the whole show up at the end. Kenneth had performed this reworking of Auld Lang Syne on other shows but I think this is the definitive version. He credits Gordon Jackson for helping create this mini masterpiece but I'm not sure if that's true or not!

It doesn't matter, it's just a hilarious comedy number packed full of wonderful Kenneth Williams touches and brilliant comic timing. It may not be the traditional Scottish song, but Kenny's version entertains me a great deal more than the original!

So take it away Kenneth and a Happy New Year to you all!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Happy Hogmanay from Carry On Blogging!

The end of the year is nigh! And what a year it has been. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year of Carry On Blogging, it has been wonderful to write about my favourite series of films and to interact with so many fellow fans.

I have lots of lovely blogs planned for 2017 and I hope you'll stay with me to enjoy them. For now though, it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy a right good knees up this New Year's Eve. So how will you be celebrating?

Perhaps you'll be enjoying a little drinkie?

Or maybe you're off to a party with friends?

Maybe you are popping down the local pub to see the new year in with friends?

Or perhaps just a quiet night in in front of the telly?

Whatever you are up to this hogmanay, stay safe, enjoy yourself and don't forget to ....


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Friday 30 December 2016

Carry On Blogging Review of 2016


It's not normally very British to blow your own trumpet (Matron!) however I wanted to do a little blog post as a round up of Carry On Blogging highlights in 2016. It's been quite a year and I've loved every minute of it!

I'm thrilled that the blog has now received nearly 300,000 page visits since I set it up in March 2015! November this year was the most visited month so far with over 38,000 views!

The blog Twitter account now has nearly 8000 followers and over 300 of your have "liked" my Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who tweets, follows, likes and comments - it's always great to hear from you!

I marked what would have been Kenneth Williams' 90th birthday in February with a special week of blog posts celebrating the life of the great man.


I have published a series of blogs covering each of Joan Sims' 24 Carry On performances, giving my own opinions on the roles she played.

I have started to publish a series of blogs covering each of Hattie Jacques' 14 Carry On performances. 

I have started a project of blogs running through some of the lesser known Carry On supporting actors in an A - Z feature.

I have cast the net out far and wide for a range of guest blog posts to bring in different opinions on the Carry On films.

I got a sneak previous of Sarah Miller Walters' new book Joyce To The World

I visited the London Film Convention earlier in the Spring where I had the great pleasure of meeting Carry On actors Jacki Piper and Fenella Fielding. You can read about that here 


One of the biggest developments this year has been the start of my Carry On Blogging interview series. So far I have interviewed several Carry On actors, authors and interesting folks connected to the series and British comedy:

- I interviewed the lovely Angela Douglas - you can read that here 

- I caught up with the delightful Valerie Leon to discuss her new Forever Carrying On show - you can read that here 

- I interviewed the wonderful Jacki Piper - you can read that here 

- Carry On writer and historian Robert Ross answered my questions and celebrated twenty years since the publication of The Carry On Companion here 

- I learned more about Steve Lilly's wonderful British comedy art work when I interviewed him - read that here


- I asked the brilliant Simon Sheridan all about his book Keeping The British End Up and the saucier side of British film comedy here

- I found out more about the fantastic Sid's Place blog in an interview with Stuart Ball - you can read that here

- I interviewed screen legend Fenella Fielding about her new audio book of memoirs - you can catch up with that here  

- I published an interview with Odysseas from the superb Art and Hue, celebrating the best of British film and television in Pop Art! You can read that here

- I interviewed the lovely Louise who runs the fantastic Joan Hickson tribute Twitter account and you can read that here

- I interviewed the brilliant Craig Deeley and you can read that here


- I caught up with the fabulous Judy Matheson for a chat about Hammer Horror, Robin Askwith and all things Carry On and you can read that here

- I interviewed Stuart Morriss from the terrific Misty Moon Film Society and you can catch up with that one here

- You can read my blog interview with Peter Reed, Senior Producer at the BBC Radio station 4 Extra by clicking here

- I had the great pleasure of visiting Elstree Studios to meet and interview Morris Bright and I even got to sit at Sid's piano! You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by following these links. 

- I blogged an interview with the lovely Ben Peyton, which you can read here 

- And I've also published a blog interview with the legendary actress Francoise Pascal  

- In September I enjoyed a wonderful chat with the lovely Madeline Smith and you can read the blog interview of that encounter here

- I interviewed the brilliant film director and Carry On fan Jason Figgis and you can read that here


- I published a guest blog by Carry On fan Adam Endacott who is currently writing The Kenneth Williams Companion. You can read that here

- I interviewed Carry On Super Fans Robert Jervis Gibbons and Callum Phoenix about their love of the films and their stars. You can read that here and here

 - I caught up with Please Sir! actor and author David Barry and you read all about that here

- I published a fantastic guest blog by Dr Laura Mayne on the relationship between two of the leading lights of Carry On - Producer Peter Rogers and writer Talbot Rothwell. You can read that here

- I interviewed Bless This House and Carry On star Sally Geeson and you can find that blog here

I most recently interviewed Carry On actress and all round entertainer Anita Harris about her time with the team making Carry On Follow That Camel and Carry On Doctor in 1967. You can read about that here

At the start of November I had the great privilege to catch up with the lovely Robin Le Mesurier, a true gentleman who answered my questions on life with his wonderful parents, Hattie Jacques and John Le Mesurier. You can read that interview here


And finally, I recently celebrated reaching 1000 blogs. I invited many of those who have contributed to Carry On Blogging over the past eighteen months to tell me what Carry On films mean to them. I was thrilled that so many people took part, including the likes of Fenella Fielding, Robert Ross, Sherrie Hewson, Jessie Wallace, Jacki Piper, Francoise Pascal, Angela Douglas and Madeline Smith. You can catch up with these special blogs here:

Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3 

And there's plenty more to come! All being well I'll be blogging some more great interviews in the New Year.

A huge thanks to everyone who's kindly taken the time to answer all my questions - it has brightened many a day and been completely and utterly enjoyable.  

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I only do this as a hobby and your kind comments and observations keep me going even when the chips are down and I think I'm too tired to Carry On! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

My Hopes for a Right Carry On in 2017!


A new year is once again upon us. Many of us will make a load of new year's resolutions that we have no intention of keeping but I thought I would try and set out my Carry On hopes for 2017. So without further ado, here are my seven wishes for '17!

1. 2017 sees Dame Barbara Windsor celebrate a milestone birthday as our favourite chirpy blonde cockney turns 80 years old. The evergreen star is still very much a part of modern British culture and I hope the run up to the big day involves some suitably saucy celebrations. We already know the BBC are filming a special feature length biopic, Babs, and that is bound to be essential viewing for fans. I hope we see lots of Barbara during the publicity for this and also on her birthday itself. 


2. This new year also sees a major birthday milestone for the glorious Fenella Fielding, star of Carry On Screaming and a good friend to this blog. Fenella has been promoting her audiobook of memoirs with some fantastic readings at the Phoenix Artist Club in association with the wonderful Misty Moon Film Society. As part of Fenella's special year, we're looking forward to more live performances and also, hopefully, a recording of her memoirs by Fenella herself for us all to buy. 


3. 2017 marks the centenary of one of Britain's most fondly remembered comedians, the one and only Mr Francis Howerd. Frankie was born in March 1917 and during his long, diverse career, he appeared in countless films, including two brilliant Carry Ons. I hope the media in Britain remembers this important anniversary and we see a number of programmes on television to mark it and celebrate the contribution Frankie made to post-war British comedy.


4. Back in May 2016, there was a great deal of publicity surrounding the proposed new Carry On film, Carry On Doctors. Since then it's all gone rather quiet and I think that's a shame. Fans have had their hopes for a new film raised and then dashed many times before and it's not looking good. I hope early 2017 sees some more (hopefully) encouraging news about this project.

5. The new year will see the usual New Year and Queen's Birthday Honours. While I have mixed views on this British tradition, there are a few Carry On people I really wish the establishment would recognise for their amazing achievements. Top of my list would be a Damehood for the glorious June Whitfield, still a working actress at the grand old age of 91. She is an inspiration to us all. I'd also really like to see honours for some of my other favourites - Angela Douglas, Fenella Fielding, Amanda Barrie and surely it must be Sir Bernard Cribbins?

6. Come on television networks - stop showing the same few Carry On films again and again. I think it's time some of the early back and white films got a proper airing. Let's see the quality Norman Hudis era films back on the telly on a Sunday afternoon for the whole family to enjoy. The likes of Carry On Nurse, Teacher, Constable and Cabby are beautifully made and acted comedy films featuring a host of memorable comedy actors. I also wish Carry On Spying would be shown more often as although it misses many of the regulars, it's still one of my favourite series entries.


7. Over the years we've seen documentaries celebrate the careers of the main Carry On players - the likes of Sid, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Hattie Jacques always receive most of the attention. I'd really like to see a series of programmes focus on the brilliant careers of some of the lesser-known Carry On talents, all popular with fans of the series but perhaps not so well known with the general public. So let's see some telly time dedicated to the likes of Esma Cannon, Joan Hickson, Patsy Rowlands, Marianne Stone and Peter Gilmore. 

So those are my Carry On hopes for the new year. What are yours?

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

Thursday 29 December 2016

Happy Birthday Bernard Cribbins!

Many happy returns to that legend of British comedy, Bernard Cribbins, who celebrates his birthday today. What a joy it is to see Bernard still going strong after all these years.

To us Carry On fans, Bernard will always be remembered for his starring roles in two early 1960s Carry Ons, Jack and Spying. He returned to Pinewood for Columbus in 1992 but not even Cribbins could help that ship sail!

The Carry Ons are only a minute part of Bernard's career, which dates back to the 1950s. He is a legend in children's television, having been a part of both The Wombles and also a prolific storyteller on one of my favourite shows, Jackanory. He has appeared in countless plays and many superb films including Two Way Stretch, She, the Dr Who film Daleks: Invasion Earth, The Railway Children and Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.

On television, Bernard has appeared in everything from The Avengers and Fawlty Towers to Coronation Street, Last of The Summer Wine and Worzel Gummidge. 

And he even dabbled as a pop star in the 1960s:

Whatever Bernard is up to today, I hope he has a smashing birthday!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

Monday 26 December 2016

Kenneth Williams in Season!


Here's another classic Carry On-tinged Christmas treat. The 1960s and 1970s saw many of our favourite comedy stars release some lighthearted novelty records. The likes of Joan Sims, Bernard Cribbins and Sid James all got in on the act. 

Kenneth was a regular recording artist, after all his vocal gifts were legendary and much sought after on the radio. He made several records capitalising on his classic BBC radio character voices from Round The Horne and the Hancock shows. One of my all time favourites is Rambling Syd Rumpo - some of his nonsense songs crack me up no matter how often I listen to them.

This recording, "Kenneth Williams In Season" sees Kenneth take on four classic Christmas songs, putting is unique comedic spin on them all! The tracks are 'Drop Your Portcullis' and 'Good Queen Wenceslas' on the A Side, and 'Twelve Switched-On Days of Christmas' and 'She Saw Three Ships' on the B Side. The final track is sung by Judie Bryan, with Kenneth doing his bitching and moaning about someone taking over his record!

I've never heard this record before - thank heavens for the internet! Anyway, I hope this recording and Kenneth's joyous vocal talents get you in the festive spirit!

Carry On Singing!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Sunday 25 December 2016

What A Carry On this Christmas on ITV3!

ITV3 haven't let us down this Christmas! The channel, which brought us the wonderful Carry On Forever documentary last year, is showing some fantastic classic Carry Ons over the festive season.

Christmas Day is the main focus, with back to back Carry Ons being shown from late morning! So here, without further ado, is the all important ITV3 Carry On Schedule!

Christmas Day:

11.30 - 13.25 - Carry On Cleo (1964)

Kicking off Christmas Day is this classic from 1964. A parody of the major blockbuster Cleopatra, Pinewood boasts Amanda Barrie as the legendary Queen of the Nile with able support from Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor, Jim Dale, Joan Sims and of course, Sid James.

13.25 - 15.15  - Carry On Girls (1973)

A later outing for the gang from the early 1970s. Focusing on the antics of a beauty contest in a down at heel seaside town, GIrls features larger than life performances from the likes of Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Bernard Bresslaw. My favourites however are the wonderful Patsy Rowlands as Mildred Bumble, Joan Hickson as Mrs Dukes and Peter Butterworth as the randy old Admiral.

15.15 - 17.05 - Carry On Camping (1968)

An iconic Carry On that is probably the most instantly recognisable thanks to a certain scene featuring Barbara Windsor. It broke box office records in 1969 and follows a group of misfits who converge on a camp site run by the dodgy Mr Fiddler (Peter Butterworth). The film stars a host of favourites including Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Bresslaw and Dilys Laye.


17.05 - 19.00 - Carry On Up The Jungle (1969)

Frankie Howerd returns for his second and final guest starring turn in a Carry On film with this romp up the Amazon. Join regular team members Sid James, Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor for the usual low brow antics and delightful slapstick. Watch out for the first appearance in the series for the lovely Jacki Piper and an eye-catching turn from the statuesque Valerie Leon. 

19.00 - 21.00 - Carry On Cowboy (1965) 

The Carry On team give American accents a bash in this glorious western romp. Sid James stars as the Rumpo Kid with Jim Dale as the English Sanitary Engineer Marshall P Knutt. Joan Sims shines as saloon owner Belle while the rogues gallery includes first Carry On appearances for Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw and Angela Douglas.


Boxing Day:

16.05 - 18.00 - Carry On Jack (1963)

The first costume romp with the Carry On team was this sail on the high seas with a smaller than usual roster of regular actors. Joining Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Jim Dale are Bernard Cribbins and the delightful Juliet Mills.

27 December:
16.05 - 18.00 - That's Carry On (1978)

Join Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor in the Pinewood viewing room for a gallop through twenty years of classic Carry On moments. Many of the classic scenes are featured with additional material of Kenny and Babs larking about for one last time. With Carry On Emmannuelle around the corner, things would never be the same again.

Plenty there to enjoy on Christmas Day! I will blog about any other Carry On films shown across the television networks over the festive period as I hear about them, but please do contact me if you spot them first!

Carry On! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Merry Christmas from Carry On Blogging!

Merry Christmas! I have been running a daily Carry On Blogging Christmas Countdown blog for the past month and we've finally made it to the big day itself.

To celebrate, here is the wonderful, much-missed Kenneth Williams as everyone's favourite, rather outlandish Christmas Fairy! Although Kenneth sadly didn't appear in any of the Thames Carry On Christmas specials, he did host a Christmas Carry On clip show alongside Barbara Windsor in 1983. 

This image seems a suitable way to bring my Christmas countdown to an end. I hope you've enjoyed this festive trip down memory lane.

All that remains to be said is I hope you all have a very, very Merry Christmas!

What a Carry On at Christmas! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Saturday 24 December 2016

Carry On Stuffing with your Hampton Court!


It's time for another festive treat with a Carry On flavour and today's tasty morsel comes from way back in 1972. This year saw the third Carry On Christmas television special made by Thames Television and they were by now an institution.

This special, otherwise known as Carry On Stuffing, is possibly my least favourite of all the festive shows the team made for television however it still has it's highlights. The cast is headed up by the three regular Carry On ladies - Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims and Barbara Windsor - which makes a change and give the actresses more time to shine. Although Sid James, Terry Scott and Charles Hawtrey are absent, there is still plenty to enjoy with Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Connor and Jack Douglas adding to the festive cheer.

This clip shows the team demonstrating their vocal talents as they join together for an innuendo-laden comedy song, "Hampton Court". All those featured were used to singing on stage, with the likes of Joan and Barbara well-versed in classic revue sketches and songs and Hattie a regular at the Players' Theatre for many years. It's a delight and shows off more of these great performers' broad range of skills than perhaps the main Carry On film series ever allowed.

Hope you enjoy!

Sadly this programme also marked the end of the road for Charles Hawtrey. Annoyed at Hattie Jacques being given top billing for this special, Hawtrey fell out once and for all with Carry On producer Peter Rogers. The films that followed missed his special brand of magic keenly.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Carry On Blogging Christmas Countdown: Christmas Eve!

And so, once again December is upon us. This will be my first Christmas at the helm of Carry On Blogging so I wanted to go all out, bringing you a daily dose of festive Carry On cheer each day on the lead up to the 25th. 

So every day I will bring you another cracking Carry On photo with a festive theme. They will probably all be rather naughty, but hopefully all quite nice.

We've made it to Christmas Eve! And to celebrate, here is Sid again, this time in full Father Christmas get up! There's something about our Sidney that suits the Santa outfit and he wore it with aplomb in the 1973 Carry On Christmas. I'm not sure who is responsible for this image of Sid but I love it.

The addition of his Carry On At Your Convenience and Bless This House pipe is a great touch. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve! 

What a Carry On at Christmas! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Friday 23 December 2016

Unwatchable? Stop Messing About!


Earlier this week my attention was drawn to some comments made by the well known comedian Stewart Lee. Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Lee was contributing on the subject of favourite British films. As I started reading the paragraph, kindly provided by a follower on Twitter, I found myself in total agreement as Stewart waxed lyrical about the cinematic charms of Carry On Screaming and also Carry On Up The Khyber. 

However, the tone soon changed as he became critical of many of the other films in the Carry On canon. The quote ended "it's Victorian gothic milieu protects it from the ravages of squeamish social revisionism that have rightly rendered many Carry Ons unwatchable." Now, I understand the language in this quote but for me it takes the whole subject far too seriously. Do you really think Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas were at all concerned with 'social revisionism" when they were churning out their cheap and cheerful pantomimes on film?

What really ticks me off about Stewart's comments is the apparent snobbishness throughout. I will defend the Carry Ons and their stars to my last breath - I adore them. Sure not all the films were of the highest quality but it would be virtually impossible to create an endless stream of classics when the team were making an average of two feature films a year over a twenty year period. However the Carry Ons as a body of work remain an absolute joy. They are pure escapism; light, frothy confections of bawdy antics which manage to entertain across the generations. They were naughty but never filthy and compared to many of the mainstream films released today, really very sweet and innocent, lacking the copious amounts of violence and bad language that appear to come as standard in 2016.

Yes the films were made quickly and on a tiny budget and yes the actors weren't paid huge sums and that's always regrettable. They all looked like they were having terrific fun though and this still bounces out the screen no matter how many times they are shown. The Carry Ons captured countless truly brilliant, top quality comedy actors in their prime. How could any of these actors ever be deemed 'unwatchable' - Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Peter Butterworth, Patsy Rowlands, Fenella Fielding, Jim Dale, Barbara Windsor, Sidney James, Liz Fraser, Peter Gilmore, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Bresslaw, Angela Douglas, Dilys Laye, Marianne Stone, Kenneth Connor, Hattie Jacques, Esma Cannon, Joan Hickson, Julian Holloway, Eric Barker, Amanda Barrie and of course, the wonderful Joan Sims.


The Carry Ons have become part of British culture, beloved by generations across the country and now around the world. They keep these wonderful comedy actors in our living rooms and in our thoughts long after all too many of them have sadly left us. I honestly believe that the vast majority of the Carry Ons remain timeless and stand up well to repeat viewing, even after all these years. I agree with Lee that the likes of Screaming and Khyber raised the bar and the quality of that era was hard to replicate however even later, contemporary films like Convenience, Abroad and Behind had terrific moments, wonderful humour and memorable performances from the cream of British comedy talent. 

I also think Stewart Lee makes the fatal mistake of viewing the Carry On films with a modern eye. They are all period pieces coming from a Britain of long ago and we should not be apologetic about that. They were honest films and the working classes loved them, flocking to the cinema every time one was released. Yes there are elements that don't necessarily appeal in 2016 but they weren't made in 2016 for a 2016 audience! In my view there are far many more appallingly gross elements in so-called enlightened modern day comedy than there ever were in a Carry On. I think it's a huge mistake to judge any of the Carry Ons from a 21st Century point of view. Enjoy them for what they are. 


We only have to look at the more recent effort, Columbus in 1992, to show that today's modern comedians just don't cut it at broad, Carry On comedy. Their failure showed that the performances the likes of Sid, Kenneth and Joan turned in again and again over the years were not as effortless and easy as these legends made them look. They were highly skilled performers, adept at comedy across film, television, radio and on stage and were true all-rounders. 

You could have Joan Sims and Charles Hawtrey sit and read out the phone book and their talent would shine through. These actors and the glorious Carry On films could never ever be unwatchable in my eyes. I love them all and I always will. Long live the Carry Ons!  


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook