Tuesday 28 February 2017

Carry On Blogging: My Highlights So Far


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 400,000 page visits since I set it up in March 2015! January this year was the most visited month so far with over 45,000 views!

The blog Twitter account now has nearly 8500 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 last 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 preview of Sarah Miller Walters' new book Joyce To The World

I visited the London Film Convention back in Spring 2016 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 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

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

Most recently 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

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! I'll soon be blogging more interviews to link in with Frankie Howerd's centenary in March.

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

Guests Announced for the ODP Autograph Show!


As you may know I like to blog updates on when some of your favourite Carry On actors are appearing at events and conventions. It's only in the past year or so that I've discovered the joy of fan conventions and if you can along to one I really recommend you give it a go.

On 20th May the "Our Disappearing Planet" Autograph Show will take place in Stevenage in Hertfordshire. There is a very varied guest list providing something (or should that be someone) for everyone. And of course there is some Carry On representation. The wonderful Melvyn Hayes, probably most famous for his role in the 1970s BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum, will be in attendance. Melvyn starred in Carry On England and made several appearances in the ATV Carry On Laughing television series.


Also in attendance will be the glamorous star of many a British comedy and horror classic, the lovely Madeline Smith. Madeline is well known for her appearance in the James Bond film Live and Let Die as well as The Vampire Lovers and Up Pompeii. For Carry On fans, there's her memorable cameo in Carry On Matron. Next up is the lovely Georgina Moon. Probably best remembered for her role in the television series UFO, Georgina also appeared in Carry On Camping and Carry On Behind.

And last but not least is Wanda Ventham, or Mummy Cumberbatch as she's known these days. Wanda has enjoyed a long career on stage and screen and appeared in both Carry On Cleo and Carry On Up The Khyber, as well as a further role in the Rogers and Thomas film The Big Job in 1965.


Also in attendance will be the lovely Judy Matheson, a great friend to this blog. Judy has appeared in classic horror films such as Twins of Evil and Lust for a Vampire, the comedy film Confessions of a Window Cleaner and wonderful television shows such as Coronation Street, The Professionals, The Sweeney and Citizen Smith. She has recently made a return to acting in the Misty Moon short film Frankula, co-starring David Barry and Caroline Munro. 

I also recently interviewed the lovely Judy Buxton - Judy will be at the show with her husband Jeffrey Holland.

I hope everyone involved has a great day on 20 May. The Autograph Show will run from 10am - 5pm at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. You can find out more here


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Carry On Blogging Interview: Judy Buxton


I've recently had the great pleasure of interviewing the actress Judy Buxton. Judy has enjoyed a successful career on stage and screen, including three years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and television roles in the likes of Rising Damp and On The Up with the wonderful Joan Sims. Read on for more on Judy's rich and varied career and some fascinating insights into the great people she has worked with.

First of all, I'd love to know why and how you became an actor in the first place.

It was really my mum who got me started. When I was very young, about 2 and a half, I went to a nursery school and the lady who ran the school had a strong German accent. We all had to have elocution lessons, reciting poetry and things like that, to make sure we didn’t pick it up. At the age of 3, I made my first appearance at a local festival, reading a poem called “The Dustman”. I went through junior and senior school and started going to drama classes, sat exams and performed at local festivals in places like Purley and Wimbledon.

I then applied to various drama schools but chose to go to the Rose Bruford because they allowed you to do a teaching course. My parents were very supportive but wanted me to have something to fall back on. I do have a diploma in teaching but I’ve never had to use it, I’ve always been acting. My mum liked amateur dramatics so understood and both my parents were supportive.

When you left drama school you spent time in rep. How important an experience was that for you and do you think young actors today lose out because it's no longer around.

I did rep at Chesterfield. It was really important because you learned your craft. We did different shows every two weeks, so we were performing one and rehearsing another. Younger actors today don’t get the chance as the rep system has gone and they have to go straight into television. I started out at Chesterfield as an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager). I played small parts and did jobs liking making the tea and helping with props. In those days you had to work for 42 weeks so you could get your Equity Card so that’s what I did. The first play I did there was “The Dance of Death” and I only had a small part. I went on to play bigger parts and some leading parts. There was huge scope to learn your craft, learn from the other actors and it was really a team as it was the same company. It was a great experience. In 2008 I was contacted by a group of people who had seen my work at Chesterfield and they now come to see me when I’m touring in shows. It’s lovely.


I saw on your website that you worked on stage with the late Lewis Collins. What was he like to work with?

Yes I worked with Lewis at Chesterfield. We were both ASMs together. He was a very good looking young man, very suave and definitely had something about him. He was a bit naughty though – if the stage manager gave him something to do, he’d suddenly disappear and he’d be in the loo getting out of whatever it was. He was a good actor though and went on to be very successful in The Professionals. His dad was around while we were at Chesterfield and he was a character too, it was obvious they were close. It’s such a shame Lewis is no longer with us.

Your big break on television came with General Hospital. What was that series like to be a part of?

My first part on television was actually in an episode of Dixon of Dock Green, I think it was the final series. It was great to have been in it. I then went on to do General Hospital, playing Nurse Katy Shaw. There was a lot of publicity around it because it went out in the afternoon, twice a week. Until then there hadn’t really been television in the afternoon, apart from children’s programmes. We came on at the same time as programmes like Emmerdale Farm, Crown Court and The Cedar Tree. It attracted big audiences and was very successful.


I had to audition for the part and I remember the producer telling me afterwards that originally they wanted a buxom blonde like Barbara Windsor for the role but they changed their minds after meeting me. That was also where I first met and worked with the lovely Lynda Bellingham – she was terrific and really talented. Amazing actors would come in and guest on General Hospital too, I remember we had June Brown at one point, years before she did EastEnders.

You worked with one of my favourite actresses, Dinah Sheridan, in the play A Murder is Announced. What was she like to work with?

Oh Dinah Sheridan was a gorgeous lady, very elegant and great to work with. I took over the part I played from Patricia Brake who had been playing it for a year. Dulcie Gray was also in the cast – it was at the Vaudeville Theatre. I remember Dinah’s husband was not well at the time but she was very professional and great in the play. I saw her several times after we’d worked together and she always remembered me.


What was it like being a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company?

I did three years with the RSC and it came completely out of the blue. I was asked to go and audition at very short notice so I went to the library and learned some text for the Greek plays they were doing. John Barton was the director and when I did my speech he asked if I’d just learned it for the audition. When I said I had he asked me to perform something I knew well, off by heart. I’d recently done a Wodehouse Playhouse on television with John Alderton so I did a bit from that. He asked me to do more and more, act drunk, dance, the audition took ages. He then asked me to go away and learn a speech and then come back and perform it. This went on and on until I finally got the job.

We did 21 weeks of rehearsal as there were ten plays to perform. I was also asked to go to Stratford and play Juliet with Anton Lesser as my Romeo and the lovely actress Brenda Bruce as the Nurse. I was then asked to play Kit the Glovemaker in a pantomime written by Bille Brown. It was called The Swandown Glove. I went on to play in this at the Barbican and the Queen was in attendance. The pantomime told the story of a young Shakespeare going to London to seek his fortune and meeting various characters along the way. People like Alan Howard, Barbara Leigh-Hunt and her husband Richard Pasco were in it. I then played Lady Teazle in School for Scandal at the Haymarket Theatre with Sir Donald Sinden.

You have appeared in some iconic and fondly remembered television shows during your career. Two of my favourites were The Sweeney and Rising Damp. What are your memories of working on those shows?

I only had a small part in The Sweeney, playing a shop assistant. I remember filming early one morning near Notting Hill Gate. I knew Dennis Waterman by that stage as he’d married Patricia Maynard who I’d worked with in General Hospital. 


The first Rising Damp episode I did was called “Clunk Click”. I went for an interview and got the part. We rehearsed close to where I was living in London and then went up to Yorkshire Television in Leeds to record the episode. I remember Leonard Rossiter coming over and saying that rather than bring in another actress to play another of Richard Beckinsale’s girlfriends later in the series, why didn’t they just have me back again. So he went and talked to the director and I ended up going back for another episode, “Cocktail Hour”. My mother in that episode was played by a lovely actress called Diana King.

Leonard had a reputation for being a perfectionist and I think if people didn’t fit, they wouldn’t be back so I was pleased he’d actually asked for me again. He was such a good actor. I also loved working with Richard Beckinsale, he was a gorgeous actor and great in the series. He obviously got on very well with Leonard. Richard was great to work with. I remember vividly us all going out for a Chinese meal after the recordings. It was wonderful. Frances De La Tour was in it too and she’s an amazing actress. I remember hearing that Richard had died and I was in complete shock.

I remember you best from the BBC sitcom On The Up from the early 1990s. What are your memories of that show?

On The Up came about because I went to a reunion at Rose Bruford with a friend. The director Gareth Gwenlan was there and it turned out he had studied there ten years before I did. At the time he asked me what I was working on and I told him I was going off to do an episode of Lovejoy. The next Monday I received scripts for five episodes of a new television comedy series from my agent. Gareth was the director and he’d put me forward for the part. I went to see him and the casting director but I was told it was up to Dennis Waterman to approve the decision to cast me. Fortunately he knew me through Patricia Maynard and The Sweeney so he said yes. 
I had been doing lots of theatre so I was a bit terrified of going back into television, in a series written by the great Bob Larbey. Of the cast I only knew Dennis, both Sam Kelly and Joan Sims were new to me.


My comedy heroine is Joan Sims. What was she like to work with in On The Up?
Joan was so lovely and we had so many laughs together making the series. She would laugh so much in rehearsals that she’d actually cry with laughter. It was so infectious. She always had a joke and a story. I think she was quite a shy person and I know they had tried to get her to go on the Parkinson Show but she said no. She was such fun though and we all adored her.

I remember being quite scared as it had been a while since I’d done a television series in front of an audience but she was very reassuring. She could have done anything, she was so talented. I think she was nervous about playing to the audience as it was recorded with a live audience present. I remember that if she ever forgot her lines she seemed upset about it so she was a perfectionist and wanted to do the best she could. The audience always loved it when an actor forgot a line but she took it seriously. She was wonderful in the part and great to have in the show.

I remember her having quite a serious scene in the On The Up, it was almost a monologue which she delivered beautifully.

Yes I remember the scene – she was just a brilliant actress. I also remember working with Bernard Bresslaw – he was a lovely man. We did a production of Twelfth Night in Newfoundland with the London Shakespeare Group. He was Sir Toby Belch and I played Viola. He was another great actor.

You have worked mainly in the theatre in recent years. If you had to pick a favourite medium from stage, television or film, which would it be and why?

I think the theatre because that’s how I started. I love working in front of a live audience, the performance and reaction is different every night and especially good when you’re playing comedy. I also enjoy television but it’s changed a lot. It’s difficult to be seen for parts these days and younger casting directors don’t necessarily know what would suit you. I’d like to do more television but theatre is my favourite.


If you had to choose one role from stage or screen, which would be your favourite and why?

I think probably Juliet at Stratford with the RSC. It was definitely a highlight for me. I’ve enjoyed every role I’ve played in my career so far though. Last summer I got to play Madame Arcati for a short run in Blithe Spirit and I absolutely loved that. I’d love to do that again for a longer run.

Finally, what's up next for you?

I’m starting rehearsals in April for a tour of an Emlyn Williams play called Trespass. It’s a ghost story set in the 1940s and I play the mother of a deceased man.

I’ll also be at the ODP Autograph Show in Stevenage with my husband, Jeffrey Holland. That’s on 20 May. 

You can find out more about the show here


I'd like to thank Judy for taking the time to answer my questions, it was an absolute pleasure to find out more about her work as an actress. You can find out more about Judy on her website and follow her on Twitter here

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

Monday 27 February 2017

Carry On Blogging Interview: Amanda Barrie


Earlier today I had the great pleasure of chatting with the Queen of the Nile herself, the wonderful Amanda Barrie. It was quite a surreal moment to have Amanda ring me up at home for a chat but it was absolutely joyous. Amanda is best known for appearing in two Carry On films, for her twenty year stint as Alma in Coronation Street and more recent appearances in series like Bad Girls and The Real Marigold Hotel. As well as finding out more about all this, I also wanted to ask Amanda about some her earlier work as a leading lady on the West End stage. 

Here's how I got on...

I wanted to ask about your time working as a dancer with Barbara Windsor and Danny La Rue. What are your memories of that time?

That was back in the 1950s, we did cabaret together! Bryan Blackburn produced a lot of those shows and there was an incredibly high standard with lots of good people. That was how a lot of people like Barbara and Una Stubbs got started and we all went on to do revues in the theatre. Of course the revues don’t happen any more which is a shame.

The cabaret shows were always late at night and people would come and have dinner and sometimes stay up all night and have breakfast! I remember one night staying up talking to Judy Garland’s husband all about race horses. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe it all actually happened. 


You appeared in the revue On The Brighter Side with Stanley Baxter and Betty Marsden. What were they like to work with?

I’d known Stanley even before we did the revue. I did a panto up in Glasgow at the Theatre Royal on Hope Street and he was Buttons! He is a great man and very talented. On The Brighter Side had a great cast – people like Pip Hinton, David Kernan, Ronnie Barker, Una Stubbs. Wonderful.

I remember while we were doing the pantomime in Glasgow I ended up in a Police Station! In those days the dancers weren’t listed on the theatre posters and I was caught adding my name to one of them! I was dragged down to the station and made to rub it off!

Six of One saw you work with the great Richard Wattis and Dora Bryan. Were they happy times?

I’ve never laughed so much! It lasted a full year and I think it’s probably the happiest show I have ever been involved in. We once laughed so much that they actually had to bring the curtain down! I was dressed as a daffodil, Dora was a primrose and then Richard Wattis came on a bluebell! We just couldn’t stop laughing and they both ran off and left me on my own! Richard was great and I still miss him. And Dora was such a talented woman.


You worked for Stephen Frears in one of the Plays For Today on the BBC. I read that your history as a Carry On actor caused him to think hard on whether to cast you?

Yes that’s absolutely true! The play was Early Struggles with Tom Conti. People had suggested to Stephen that he should see me for the part and he called me and walked round and round and said he’d have to go and think about it overnight as he’d never cast a Carry On actor before! He did subsequently cast me and the play was very good, it was much more serious than some of the other work I was doing at the time and it was good for me. And it’s great to say I’ve worked for Stephen Frears.

I think you starred in two West End runs with the wonderful Paul Eddington. What was he like to work with?

Yes I did two years in the West End with Paul. We did Donkeys’ Years by Michael Frayn and then Absurd Person Singular. I played his wife, he was a good actor and it was such a privilege to work with him. We had the best time and the work we did was equally written and very shared. He was a good friend as well as a colleague and such a nice man. A great loss.


You appeared in a revival of Oh Kay! In 1974. How important a role was that for you?

It meant a lot to me personally as I have always been a massive fan of Gertrude Lawrence. Guy Bolton who had written it – he met me and took a lot of convincing to let me go on and do it. I had to prove to him that I was such a fan of hers, that she was my heroine and that it meant so much to me. Once he understood he let me do it. P.G Wodehouse, who co-wrote the book with Bolton, sent me a letter while I was playing in Oh Kay! and he signed it “Plum” which was what he always called himself. I treasured that letter.

My comedy heroine is Joan Sims. Are you a fan of her work?

Oh yes, she was such a good actress. She was so underrated but she had the ability to do anything. Joan was a fine actress. She could have gone and worked at the National Theatre. 


I think she was quite insecure, despite all her talent.

Yes a lot of actors are – they have a love/hate relationship with acting and the insecurities and lack of confidence can plague them.

I understand you got on very well with both Sid James and Charles Hawtrey while you were making Carry On Cleo?

I loved Sid! Again, we just laughed all the time when we worked together. He was great to work with as was Charles. Charles Hawtrey kept bringing me in bits of food as he always worried I wasn’t eating enough. I was rushing around filming Cleo in the day and performing in She Loves Me in the West End at night so I didn’t have a lot of time. He kept bringing me in pieces of haddock for my dinner but I never got around to eating it! I think Cleo actually stands up pretty well as a film in its own right, even after all these years. It’s got a brilliant script and we had all the sets and costumes from Cleopatra so it looks like a big budget film. I saw some of it when it was on television last weekend and I thought it stood up well.


You went off to the Bristol Old Vic after making Cleo. Would you have liked to have made more Carry Ons?

You’ve done your homework! Yes by that stage I’d done quite a few bits and pieces for the people who made the Carry Ons and I’d done other films like them…

You made a Doctor film (Doctor in Distress) and films like A Pair of Briefs…

A Pair of Briefs! All the classics…Operation Bullshine! Yes I could probably have done more Carry Ons as I was becoming known to them and I think they wanted me to come back but in those days the Carry Ons weren’t thought of as anything special. You couldn’t do them and be seen as a serious actor. So my agent packed me off to the Bristol Old Vic to do proper acting and it was probably a good thing.

Your first Coronation Street scenes were with Pat Phoenix as the legendary Elsie Tanner. How was that?

Terrifying! Even though I’d worked in films and television and been a leading lady in the West End I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was acting opposite “Elsie Tanner”! I think the characters in Coronation Street are so strong that after a while the actor and the character merged into one and that’s how it was with her. She had played her so long by that point, she just was Elsie.

The other one I loved was Doris Speed who played Annie Walker. I had such admiration for her, she was a lesson on how to deliver those speeches and her timing was wonderful. She would go down the corridor next to me and ask me if she had odd coloured socks on! She was lovely.


I loved your rapport with Sue Nicholls who plays Audrey. What was she like to work with?

I absolutely love Sue, she’s a great actress and a lovely person to be with. We had such fun and I remember we always wanted to do more comedy between Alma and Audrey but it didn’t work out like that which is a shame. She was with me all the time when Alma was dying towards the end, we worked together a lot at that time. I always laugh when they repeat that episode of Alma going as Audrey wasn’t there, she was late and when she finally gets there Alma’s gone and all you can see is the tip of my nose as I’m lying there!  I loved working with Sue and Helen Worth who plays Gail. Barbara Knox (Rita) and Eileen Derbyshire (Emily) were also lovely and great to work with. I still think Barbara could have been one of our biggest music stars, she’s so talented.

One of my all-time favourites was Jill Summers who played Phyllis Pearce. What was she like to work with?

I’ll always remember coming on set with Jill and she’d recently been quite unwell. All of a sudden she grabbed my arm and said “Amanda! I’m going! I think I’m going!” I asked her where and she said she thought she was dying! I said she couldn’t die as we had a scene to do and I wouldn’t let her go in the chair! Oh, I thought I’d never work again after that! And the director Brian Mills didn’t know anything about what was going on at the time! She was something else!

At this point Amanda does an uncanny impersonation of the gravel-voiced Jill Summers which takes me some time to get over! 


Jill was a great actress though, very real. She had quite a history, she’d been a stand up comic and done all sorts of work, she was very experienced. She was quite well to do, I don’t think she needed to work but she loved it. She used to come up to my dressing room and pester me to come down because we could get a free meal at the local French restaurant! She was a real character.

I went to see her in hospital a few days before she died. Her last words in hospital before she did die were typical. The nurse had asked if she wanted a drop of brandy and she said no. Then she was offered a cup of tea and she said no. Finally the nurse offered her some water. Jill replied “It gets better, doesn’t it”.

I remember a scene you did with Jill in the café. She was talking about getting older and how she’d once been young and gorgeous and how nowadays she looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise herself.

Yes I remember doing that scene! She was wonderful. I’d forgotten how much I’d worked with her in it, but it all tends to merge together because there was so much.


Do you keep in touch with people from Coronation Street?

Mainly Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls because I knew them best while I was in the show. Helen came to my wedding. I invited Sue but she was busy working. I keep up with what they are doing and make sure they are all still in it. They do such a good job.

Finally, what’s coming up next for you?

Well The Real Marigold Hotel is going out at the moment. It was a great show to do and I’m still in touch with everyone who was on it with me. I rescued a stray dog while I was in India. You’ll see Poppy in the last episode. I couldn’t bring her home with me but we got her checked out and treated and rehomed.

I recently received an Icon Award for outstanding achievement from Attitude Magazine. Paul O’Grady presented me with it and I was so proud! When I wrote about my private life in my autobiography I didn’t know what people would think but I needed to do it. It was so hard while I was in Coronation Street because the press were always after a story and it made it very difficult. But look how things have changed even in the past decade.

Will you be back in Benidorm?

Yes I’m in an episode of the new series, as Psychic Sue again. It was good to be back and working with Sherrie Hewson again. I’ve also been to Tel Aviv to do the most outrageous series for a new online channel called Black Pearl. There are twenty short television episodes and some of the material was outrageous! I ended up in bed with a drag queen, he’s a big star over there and it was quite a big deal! I’ve also filmed a series called Bus Pass Bandits which was me and Henry Blofeld in Soho! That was a hoot and he’s become another good friend.

And you’ve been causing controversy on morning television! 

Yes, I didn’t realise saying “shit-hot” was a swear word! And anyway I was shit-hot on that Segway! 

I had an absolute ball talking with Amanda. She has long been one of my heroines and she was just as funny, entertaining and delightful as I'd hoped she would be. I'd like to thank her very much for giving me a ring on a wet Monday in February - it brightened up my day. And i'll be holding her to the offer of a drink or two in Covent Garden! 

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