Sunday 31 December 2017

An Alternative Auld Lang Syne from Kenneth Williams!

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 2017 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 another 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 2018 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

Saturday 30 December 2017

Carry On Blogging Review of 2017!


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 so far. It's been quite a journey since I started blogging back in 2015 and I've loved every minute of it!

I'm thrilled that the blog has now received nearly 750,000 page visits since I set it up in March 2015! December this year was the most visited month so far with over 50,000 views!

The blog Twitter account now has nearly 13,00 followers and nearly 700 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!

In January this year I interviewed the lovely actress and author Josephine Bailey about her time as a child actor, studying at the Corona Academy and of making Carry On Teacher. You can read that here

I also had the great pleasure of interviewing the glorious Amanda Barrie about her long and successful career which of course has included two Carry Ons and Coronation Street. You can read that here

In February I spoke to the delightful Judy Buxton about her career as an actress, her time with the Royal Shakespeare Company and of meeting and working witht he great Joan Sims on the series On The Up. You can read that here

In March I celebrated Frankie Howerd's centenary by interview his agent and long-time friend Tessa Le Bars. You can read that interview here

I also spoke to the actor Mark Farrelly about his love of Frankie and his plans for a new one man show telling Howerd's story. Read this here.

Paul Taylor-Greaves told me all about his love of blogging and podcasting and that can be found here 


Carry On Nurse actress Christine Ozanne spoke to me earlier this month about her long and varied career and her new memoir, The Tome of the Unknown Actor. Find out what Christine had to say here

And more recently I interviewed Jennie Linden on her long stage and screen career, finding out what it was like to work with Kenneth Williams on the play My Fat Friend. Read more from Jennie here 

To celebrate my second anniversary, on 29 March this year I interviewed my blogging colleague and Coronation Street Blog Editor Glenda Young about blogging, Corrie and of course, Carry On. You can check that out here.

Having written about all of Joan and Hattie's Carry On adventures, I have also started blogging about Barbara Windsor's nine Carry On roles as part of the run up to Barbara's 80th birthday in August. You can read the first of those blogs here 

I'm also now beginning a new series of blogs looking back at all of Kenneth Connor's Carry On performances in the lead up to his centenary next June. You can read the first of these blogs here.

Earlier this summer saw comedy historian Robert Ross embark on a special Carry On Cruise with some very familiar faces. Robert very kindly answered some questions on his European jaunt with Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Anita Harris and Richard O'Callaghan. You can find that article here 

Having interviewed the fabulous Madeline Smith last year it was a thrill to finally meet her in person in June. I attended "From Biba to Bond: An Evening with Madeline Smith" at the Stow Roses Women's Institute in North London. You can read about my encounter with the lovely Maddie here 

Another great moment in June was interviewing the writer Mark O'Connell on his long association with Pinewood Studios and his love of all things James Bond. You can read that interview (and find out more about Mark's book Catching Bullets) here

Also, something I have been blogging about and calling for since I started Carry On Blogging actually happened in June (an apt month). Yes, June Whitfield was finally made a Dame. You can read my thoughts on this wonderful news here 

I was thrilled to receive an exclusive chance to review Network's newly released The Complete Sykes on DVD (many thanks again to Blue Dolphin). You can read that review here.

I was absolutely delighted to be contacted recently by Patrick Purcell, son of the late great Irish actor Noel Purcell. We had a smashing interview and you can read all about that here 

In the summer I interviewed actor and writer Jack Lane about his passion for the work of Sir Norman Wisdom and Jack's one man show, Wisdom of a Fool. You can read that interview here

In July published my interview with the lovely Georgy Jamieson, passionate comedy fan, BBC Suffolk presenter and Director of the British Comedy Society. You can read our interview here

Also that month I enjoyed a hysterical hour on the phone with British film legend Robin Askwith. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here  

I celebrated Carry On legend Barbara Windsor's 80th birthday with a series of blogs at the beginning of August - you can read the main one here

I started a new series of blogs in August asking some of my favourite people to write in about the five greatest influences on their careers. You can read Judy Matheson's blog here, Sarah Miller Walters' blog is here, Stuart Ball's blog is here and you can read the blog from Jason Figgis here

Also in August I had the great pleasure of chatting with television legend Derek Griffiths and you can read my blog interview with him here  

In September I travelled to Elstree Studios for a celebration of the very best of 1960s and 70s British television. Hosted by Morris Bright and featuring classic clips and interviews with Dame Diana Rigg and Carry On actors Angela Douglas and Valerie Leon, you can read my review of the evening here

In October I went to see Robin Askwith's superb one man show at the Phoenix Artist club and you can read my review here: Carry On Blogging Review: Robin Askwith Live!

In November I interviewed the super lovely actress Jayne Bickerton and we chatted about her time in Coronation Street, classic comedy and how she got to know the legendary Bob Monkhouse. You can read that interview here 

Also in November I interviewed my friend, the actress and singer Kathy Jones about her love of Carry On, her time in Coronation Street in the 1970s, life at Granada Studios and even what it was like to record an album at Abbey Road. That interview can be found here

I also brought you an exclusive peak at Fenella Fielding's diary ahead of the publication of her wonderful memoirs. You can check that out here

I also interviewed Ty Jeffries, the fabulously talented son of the late actor Lionel Jeffries. You can read that interview here 

December has brought an excellent guest blog from the lovely David Powell on Frankie Howerd's classic comic horror, The House in Nightmare Park, which you can read here

My last interview of the year was with actor, writer and director Andrew Lynford who talked to me about his diverse career and friendships with the likes of Wendy Richard, Barbara Windsor, Anita Harris and Dilys Laye. You can read this here.

Since I started the blog over two years ago I've managed to clock up 44 different interviews with a wide range of fans, authors and actors from the films and it's been an absolute pleasure.

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 on Facebook and on Instagram

Wogan's Radio Fun: Molly Weir and Deryck Guyler

Every Christmas I post a series of special blogs on the run up to the big day. This year I posted a different festive image from the Carry Ons every day up until Christmas Day. In addition to this, I've also found some wonderful old clips to share this festive season.

The wonderful, late great Terry Wogan hosted his famous chat show on the BBC for several years during the 1980s and early 1990s. Those were the days of great guests, intelligent conversation, wit and warmth. Well, most of the time. Until the BBC rather unwisely pulled the plug to make way for the soap Eldorado (remember that?) Terry was the best possible replacement for Parky. 

This Christmas marks thirty years since a very special festive show which celebrated the very best of radio comedy. Terry reunited many classic stars from a bygone era and sadly, for some, it would be the last time we would see them perform. Amongst these big names were several actors with Carry On connections, so over the next few days I'm going to share some great clips from "Wogan's Radio Fun", originally broadcast back in December 1987.

We continue today with some lovely memories from two actors who made their names on radio and dropped by at Pinewood for some Carry On cameos. First up is the smashing Molly Weir, the Scottish actress who popped up in Carry On Regardless as a confused lady surprised by Bill Owen who turns up to collect her birds. And then we hear from the legendary Deryck Guyler, best remembered for his small screen comedy roles in the likes of Please Sir! and Sykes. Deryck played a rather shaky surgeon opposite Kenneth Williams in the 1967 comedy Carry On Doctor and before that worked for Peter and Gerald in two other cracking comedy films - Nurse On Wheels as Juliet Mills' driving instructor and The Big Job as a rather pompous policeman.

Both Molly and Deryck joined the cast of ITMA (It's That Man Again), which starred Tommy Handley and future Carry On great, Hattie Jacques:

Stay tuned for more in this series coming up soon!

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

Friday 29 December 2017

Is Esma Cannon's son Michael Littman still in Australia?

Over the past few days I've attempted to reignite my search into the life of the late, great Esma Cannon. Esma has long been a fan favourite and she was incredibly prolific in British film over a period of thirty years until her retirement in 1964.

While we all love her performances in the Carry On films, very little is known about Esma away from the limelight. Apart from some sparse details - we know she came from Australia,  was married, had a son, lived in North London and ended up in France - most of Esma's life remains a mystery. 

Esma married accountant Ernst Littman in London in 1945 and the following March she gave birth to her only child, a son - Michael Anthony Littman. Records show that the Littman named was registered to a property in Camden, North London from 1958 (when Esma, Ernst, Michael and Esma's mother moved there) until 1983, 11 years after Esma died. It's in the records that despite Esma having moved to France and actually dying there in October 1972, her husband died in London in September '83.

My main search is now focussed on Esma's son Michael, as it's presumed all other relatives are deceased. Last year I managed to track down some official documents from the Australian authorities, but in the past few days I've been helped enormously by blog reader Alex Edwards, who has sent me scans of as many documents on Michael Littman (or Mick as he seemed to be known) as he could find.

Michael as pictured in 1980
The Michael Anthony Littman named in these documents is definitely the one as his mother is given as Esma Ellen Charlotte Littman, with the maiden name of Cannon. Interestingly, despite Esma ending up in France after she retired, there is no sign that Michael went too. Indeed between 1962 and 1974 Michael was employed as a cleaner at a McVitie's biscuit factory. It was in 1974 by all accounts that Michael made the move to his mother's homeland. Arriving that year, he worked for the Victorian Railways as a Shunter from November 1974 until March 1975 before taking on a role later that year as a cleaner at the tourist resort of Fraser Island.

Sadly, some of Michael's time in Australia seems to have been quite difficult as at one point in 1979 he was in trouble with the police and charged with carrying dangerous drugs after an altercation in a public park. Despite this, and the authorities considering his right to remain in the country, Michael was still in Australia at the turn of the decade. Indeed he is known to have married Susan Doris Pinter in 1981. I believe from what I've found that Susan sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 65. 

I have found nothing to suggest that Michael is no longer with us, but also sadly nothing to give any clues on what happened to him after 1981. Michael would be 71 years old this year so there's every chance he is still living in Australia. If anyone, either in the UK or in Australia knows anything about Michael Anthony Littman (could be known as Mick Littman) please do get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or at

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Isn't it time it was Sir Bernard Cribbins?

I love Bernard Cribbins as the bumbling leading man in both Carry On Jack and Carry On Spying. Although Bernard only appeared in two of the original run of films (Jack and Spying) I think he was an excellent addition to the series. He takes over from where Kenneth Connor left off and does well with his material. He's also quite physical in the same way as Jim Dale would be in later films. Bernard is also incredibly entertaining in both his Carry On audio commentaries, forming a truly delicious double act with the late, great Dilys Laye on the commentary for Spying. 

This made me realise just how fab Bernard is and how many classic projects he's been involved with over the years. There's his association with Doctor Who - both in classic 1960s film and much more recently in the revamped BBC series. He's been in Coronation Street as Wally Bannister (paired with the wonderful Maggie Jones as Blanche). He's worked with Peter Sellers in the classic comedy film Too Way Stretch and Barbara Windsor in Crooks in Cloisters. Bernard has made comedy records with the legendary producer George Martin. He's starred opposite Ursula Andress in the Hammer film She and Dinah Sheridan and Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children. He also famously played the deeply irritating Mr Hutchinson in Fawlty Towers. He has even worked with Alfred Hitchcock in the film Frenzy in 1972.

And who can forget his long association with two classic children's television series: The Wombles between 1973-75 and over one hundred appearances on Jackanory between 1966 and 1991, making him the record holder for most appearances. 

Bernard is just one of those famous faces who has been a constant in so many of our lives and means so many things to different generations. Thankfully he's still going strong at the grand old age of 89. Isn't it time it was Sir Bernard Cribbins though?

What do you think?

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Stanley Baxter's Musical World on BBC Radio 2

With thanks to @FutureUrban on Twitter for alerting me to this one. I have always loved the comic actor Stanley Baxter and not just for his long friendship with one of my comedy heroes, Kenneth Williams. A hugely successful performer in his own right, Stanley has had a very long and diverse career on stage, television, film and radio. 

In the two part series, Stanley Baxter's Musical World, Paddy O'Connell meets Stanley, the renowned, award-winning Scottish actor and impressionist, known for his highly popular British television comedy shows.

Stanley shares a selection of his favourite music from across the years and around the world including Hollywood Classics, Broadway Blockbusters, Light Classical Favourites and Swinging Standards.

The programme was, I think, first broadcast last year. The first part is available to listen again here

I'm so pleased Stanley is still going strong at the grand old age of 91. As a fellow Scot I'll always love his work and as an extra aside, apparently Stanley was at the same school as my Gran during the war and used to be told off for impersonating the teachers! As with many very talented individuals, he was told he would never amount to anything...I wonder what happened there?

And if you are interested in reading more, here's my blog on Stanley's friendship with Kenneth Williams: Carry On Blogging: Kenneth and Stanley

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

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 

Thursday 28 December 2017

Fenella Fielding returns for more Memoir Shows in 2018!

Fenella Fielding will be back at the Phoenix Artist Club in Central London for four more wonderful shows next year. Fenella will be reading more extracts from her delightful memoirs and having attended a couple of the shows earlier this year, I can tell you her performances are amazing.
Fenella Fielding is best known for her 1960s film appearances in classic comedies including ‘Carry On Screaming’, ‘Doctor in Clover’ and ‘Carry On Regardless’. She was the voice of the Blue Queen in ‘Dougal and the Blue Cat’ and the telephone operator and loudspeaker voice in ‘The Prisoner’. Her illustrious career in theatre includes the title roles in ‘Hedda Gabler’ and ‘Colette’. She’s fondly remembered for a number of appearances on the ‘Morecambe & Wise Show’ as well as playing The Vixen in ‘Uncle Jack’. Her most recent TV appearance was ‘Skins’ in 2012.

Fenella will be reading excerpts from her recently released audio book and hardback of memoirs ‘Do You Mind If I Smoke?’ They are very personal stories about innocence, early struggles, professional jealousies and intriguingly a chapter about London tarts and gangsters. The stories are witty, warm and beautifully observed scenes from an extraordinary life – expressing great warmth for the characters encountered… and all told in that unmistakable, ever alluring Fenella Fielding voice.

The afternoon will conclude with a short Q&A with Fenella hosted by Misty Moon guest MC Simon McKay, co-author of the book and a personal friend of Fenella. Afterwards, there’s a chance to meet Fenella and get a signed copy of the book.

Fenella will be performing at the Phoenix on Saturday 10th, 17th and 24th February and Saturday 3rd March. All shows start at 2.30pm and you can buy tickets here

You can also purchase a signed copy of Fenella's memoirs via her website 

And you can read more about the publication of Fenella's book here

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