Wednesday 31 May 2017

Happy Birthday Diane Langton!


Many happy returns to the actress Diane Langton who celebrates her 70th birthday today. Diane has a long career on stage and screen, is well known to Carry On fans for her performance as Alice Easy in the less than successful Carry On England, released in 1976. 

As the rather busty young Private, Langton was pretty much cast in the Barbara Windsor role in this film and despite the overall film being a complete stinker, she's good in the part. England wasn't Diane's only brush with Carry On though. Way back in 1959 she appeared in a non-speaking role as one of the children in Carry On Teacher. Along with the likes of David Barry, Jeremy Bulloch and Francesca Annis, Diane can be spotted in several crowd scenes. Fast forward to 1975 and Langton joined many familiar faces in the ATV Carry On Laughing television series. Diane appeared in three episodes, which must have led to her being cast in England the following year.

Away from the Carry Ons, Diane has appeared in films like Ray Cooney's Don't Just Lie There, Say Something with Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims and Joanna Lumley and Confessions of a Pop Performer, co-starring with fellow England actress Linda Regan. Diane has also had many stage successes in her career, appearing in the likes of Billy Elliot and Sondheim's A Little Night Music. 

On television, Diane can currently be seen in the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks - she has been part of the cast of this show for nearly a decade. Other roles on the small screen have included the 1970s reboot of The Rag Trade, Only Fools and Horses, Doctors, Heartbeat and EastEnders.


Whatever Diane is up to today, I hope she has a wonderful birthday.

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Aileen Lewis: Credit where Credit's due


You may very well not have heard of Aileen Lewis but there is no doubt you'll have seen her in one of your favourite classic British films or television series. Check her out on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and you will find she has nearly 140 screen credits dating from the late 1940s until the mid-1980s. So why is she not well known?

Well, look a little closer and you'll see that all but one of her massive list of credits are in fact uncredited appearances. Aileen Lewis was a background artist or extra. She was forever in crowd scenes or in the back of shot at parties yet very rarely if at all spoke any lines. No shame at all in this and work as an extra obviously suited her as she made it her day job for her entire working life. Nicknamed "The Duchess" for her rather aristocratic appearance, Aileen Lewis was born in County Westmeath, Ireland in April 1914. Aileen married Herbert Lewis in 1936 and the pair remained happily married until Herbert's death aged 100 in 2010. 


Aileen's career is a check list of all that was good, great, popular and everything else in modern British culture from the post war era onwards. She appeared fleetingly in some of my own personal favourite films. She was a lady in the nightclub in the classic comedy Genevieve in 1953; a newspaper reporter in 1959's I'm All Right Jack; a neighbour in Roman Polanski's 1965 film Repulsion; a casino patron in the Morecambe and Wise big screen adventure That Riviera Touch and the lady with the Rolls Royce in Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World! Aileen also appeared in three James Bond films - From Russia with Love (1963), Live and Let Die (1973) and finally Octopussy in 1983. 

On the small screen, yet again Aileen Lewis appeared in practically every modern day classic. Some of her most high profile credits were eight different episodes of The Saint between 1962 and 1969; two episodes of Main in a Suitcase, The Baron, The Avengers, The Professionals, The Sweeney (and the first Sweeney film), The Persuaders, Jason King, Special Branch and Doctor Who! Quite a CV!

Of course, no blog on this site can conclude without mention of the glorious Carry On films. Given the era in which Aileen worked, it would be extremely surprising if she had not worked on a Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas production at Pinewood Studios. You will be relieved to hear she worked for the famous duo on many occasions. Aileen's first appearance in a Carry On came in 1962 when she set sail on the Happy Wanderer as passenger Mrs Lewis (I see what they've done there) in Carry On Cruising. The following year Lewis was back at Pinewood to play an Onlooker in Carry On Jack. In 1966 she played a Citizen in Don't Lose Your Head and two years later she appeared at the polo match in Carry On Up The Khyber. Aileen was seen dancing at the hospital party in Carry On Again Doctor in 1969 and played a Courtier in Carry On Henry the following autumn. In 1973 Aileen was one of the town councillors seen alongside Kenneth Connor and June Whitfield in Carry On Girls while her final appearance in the films came with the last original film in the run, as a dinner guest in 1978's Carry On Emmannuelle. 

Aileen also appeared in a couple of other of Peter and Gerald's comedy films. Her very first work for them was in Please Turn Over, the Ted Ray comedy in 1959. She was a lady in the pub in the Juliet Mills and Esma Cannon district nurse comedy Nurse On Wheels. Moving over to work for Peter's wife Betty Box, Aileen cropped up in three of the Doctor comedies - At Sea in 1955, In Distress in 1963 and finally Doctor in Clover in 1966.

Aileen retired from the profession in 1984 at the age of 70 following her 137th credit in the film Top Secret. However she went on to enjoy a long retirement. Aileen passed away at the age of 99 in February 2014, just two months shy of her 100th birthday. She may never have been a leading lady, but we thank AIleen for her many years of service to the very best of British film and television. Long may we continue to spot her on our screens.

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

Sunday 28 May 2017

Be My Carry On Fan of the Week!

Do you love Carry On films? Probably a daft question to ask if you are reading this blog! I have decided to start a new regular feature for Carry On Blogging and I need your help.

If you are a Carry On fan, love the films, the stars and the spin offs, I want to hear from you. All you have to do is get in touch with some info and you will feature in your very own blog. All I need from you is your name, where you're from and the answers to the following questions:

What was the first Carry On film you ever saw?

Who is your favourite Carry On actor and why?

Who is your favourite Carry On actress and why?

Who is your favourite Carry On supporting actor?

Have you ever visited any Carry On film locations?

Have you ever met any Carry On actors?

Do you have any Carry On memorabilia?

Finally, what's your all time favourite Carry On film?

If you want to get in touch and feature in a Carry On Fan blog, please email your answers to the following address: or use the Get in Touch contact form on the blog!

I look forward to hearing from you!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Christine Ozanne's New Memoir


Christine Ozanne is an actress who has enjoyed a diverse and varied career across stage and screen. She is probably best known to Carry On fans for her role as the cleaner in the second film in the series, Carry On Nurse, made in late 1958 and released the following year. 

Christine has a vast experience of the working life of an actress and these stories have formed the basis for her newly released memoir, The Tome of the Unknown Actor:

With a message from the esteemed actor, David Jason, on the cover, this newly published book, written by a show-biz veteran, pays homage to the jobbing actor, and is a perfect antidote to the current cult of celebrity. 

Sit back and enjoy rollicking through Christine Ozanne's career in theatre, television, radio and film. This largely anecdotal memoir exposes the ups and downs of an actor’s life, working with many of our best loved household names, and written with a gentle humour and admiration for fellow thespians. The book could also be described as a learning curve for young actors challenged by the pitfalls of today’s industry, with an insight into Shakespeare’s text, and performing at the Globe.

From the author’s wartime childhood in Leicester to her worldwide travels, Christine Ozanne has chronicled many hair-raising experiences, none more hilarious than times spent in theatrical digs.   For anyone intrigued by the revelations of a professional actor's life, this is a thoroughly entertaining read.

You can buy Christine's fascinating memoir via Amazon  Alternatively you can find it on Christine's website
And I'll be blogging an interview with Christine very soon, so stay tuned for that!
You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Saturday 27 May 2017

Sykes - The Complete Series on DVD


Those lovely people at Network Distributing will soon be releasing Sykes: The Complete Series on DVD! The set will be available from 26 June and it will contain every episode from the 1970s BBC relaunch of this wonderful comedy series.

Starring Eric Sykes (The Others, Harry Potter) and Hattie Jacques (Carry On films) as twins living and ever so slightly surreal life in this BBC comedy series. Eric and Hattie annoy their snobbish neighbor Mr Brown (Richard Wattis) and aggravate the local PC Cork Turnbull (Deryck Guyler) and generally make a nuisance of themselves in this long running BBC sitcom which aired between 1972 – 1979 and followed Sykes and Jacques previous collaborations Sykes and a… (1960-1965) and Sykes and a Big, Big Show


Showcasing Eric's whimsical, slightly anarchic sense of humour, Sykes saw Eric playing an alternate version of himself - just one step removed from normality! Sharing a house with his twin sister Hat, Eric has to suffer the slings and arrows of everyday life, something he invariably does with bad grace and obstinacy. With snobbish neighbour Mr Brown and nosey local PC "Corky" Turnbull always on hand to help turn a drama into a crisis, it's no wonder Eric spends half his time fantasising and the other half coping with catastrophe!

The series features appearances from a whole host of British comedy talent including Peter Sellers, Joan Sims, Roy Kinnear, John Le Mesurier, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Hickson and Bill Pertwee. 

Now, for the first time this new DVD set contains all seven series, 68 episodes in total.

You can find out more here: 

I have just taken delivery of the DVD set and will be blogging a review of the series soon, so watch out for that!

With thanks to Tom at Blue Dolphin PR. For now I'll leave you with the wonderful intro from the series...

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Barbara Carries On ... as Nurse Sandra May


Barbara Windsor will be celebrating her 80th birthday this August. In the run up to this milestone, I've decided to blog profiles of each of her nine famous Carry On roles. Much the same as I did with both Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques, these blogs will take each part in turn and provide my own personal take on them. 

Barbara, or Dame Babs as it is now, is a showbiz legend in the UK, with a career dating back to the 1950s. As the recent Babs drama on BBC1 revealed, things haven't always been easy for Windsor, but her hard work and determination have seen her bounce back time and time again. No matter what else she has done in her career, the Carry Ons will always dominate and from our point of view, as Carry On fans, rightly so! So let's continue today with Barbara's second role in the series, as Nurse Sandra May in the 1967 film Carry On Doctor.

I think Barbara's role in Carry On Doctor is probably one of her most iconic. In a film bursting at the seams with prime comedy talent, her role is a pivotal one even if she doesn't have that much screen time. WIndsor returned to the Carry Ons for the first time since her debut, over three years earlier in Carry On Spying. Given what a success she had been in that film it's a surprise it took her so long to make another. Rumours abound that she upset Gerald Thomas during the making of Spying but I doubt that would put them off hiring her again. More likely she was probably just busy with a host of other projects. 

Carry On Doctor is one of my favourite Carry Ons. The films seemed to lend themselves so well to the hospital setting and Doctor, Talbot Rothwell's tribute to Norman Hudis' iconic Carry On Nurse almost ten years earlier, features the gang firing on all cylinders. Following a trend for period costume Carry Ons (Cowboy, Screaming, Don't Lose Your Head etc) the team were back in the present day for this romp through the wards. Almost all the regular faces of the era feature in the film. Only Kenneth Connor who was at the time on a break from the series, does not appear. It is an absolute joy to see Sid James and Hattie Jacques return to the fold after previous absences; to see Jim Dale take centre stage as the romantic, bumbling hero of the piece; Kenneth Williams on sublime pompous villainous form as Dr Tinkle (!) and the likes of Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Dilys Laye and Charles Hawtrey bring the wards to life. Throw in a delightful cameo role from Joan Sims and a stunning guest starring performance from Frankie Howerd and you have near perfection! 


The basic plot of the film sees the patients of the hospital revolt after the fiendish team of Matron, Dr Tinkle and Sister Hoggett (June Jago) rule over the wards for too long, culminating in the axing of popular Doctor Kilmore (Dale). It's a lovely story that allows the audience to root for the underdog. Of course all is well in the end and the film comes to a satisfying conclusion. Rothwell includes some lovely references to Carry On Nurse, no better than the infamous daffodil sequence which is joyfully brought back to life briefly by Frankie and Valerie Van Ost. Watch out also for a framed portrait of the brilliant James Robertson Justice in character as Sir Lancelot Spratt - it is between the lifts in the hospital foyer. This is of course a tribute to the Doctor series of films, a franchise to which the Carry Ons owe a debt of gratitude. The Doctor films were produced by Peter Rogers' wife Betty Box and directed by Ralph Thomas, brother of Gerald. Peter sought permission to make Carry On Doctor from his wife before going into production.

So what about Barbara's role? Sandra May is a trainee nurse who arrives at the hospital around half way through the film. Sharing a room with Nurse Clark (Anita Harris) she explains that she is devoted to Kenneth's Doctor Tinkle following a much earlier encounter when she was a patient. This association causes trouble for Tinkle when Sandra visits his room for a secret assignation. Although both Matron and Kilmore observe this, when Kilmore speaks out he is quickly hushed up and moved out. Barbara's role culminates with the classic "roof top drama" sequence with Dale and Harris mistakenly believe Nurse May is going to jump from the roof of the nurses home. Instead she is merely enjoying a bit of sunbathing. This set up allows for Jim Dale to exploit his comic athleticism to the full, precariously dangling off the room, tearing off Anita's skirt and ending up in a bath, which already contains a nurse. 

Barbara vanishes again before the film's climax which is a pity as her performance is great. She is perfectly cast as the naive yet cheeky young nurse and her appearance in a nurses uniform is well remembered by so many men of a certain age. Eric Rogers' theme music when she first appears in the hospital ward is superb and the scenes that follow have gone down in Carry On history. 

Barbara was very much back in the Carry On fold with Carry On Doctor. From now on until 1974 Windsor would make one film a year with the team. Barbara, while never quite matching the likes of Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques in the acting stakes, provided a unique and very British female lead for the Carry Ons and I cannot think of anyone else who could have played Barbara's parts so well. 

Coming up next is Barbara's most fondly remembered Carry On role of all. Her third appearance in the series as Babs in the classic Carry On Camping! For now I'll leave you with a glorious, memorable sequence from Carry On Doctor, featuring Barbara, Peter Gilmore and the very best of Eric Rogers:

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Carry On Guest Blogging!

Last year I wrote a guest blog for the wonderful History Usherette Blog which is run by @agathadascoyne . I wrote about the social history of the Carry Ons, comparing Carry On Cruising with Carry On Abroad, highlighting how Britain had changed over that ten year period. This experience got me thinking.

I have really enjoyed hearing from those of you who have submitted answers to my Carry On Fan of the Week blog series. I love interacting with fellow Carry On fans - if you want to take part in that, please do get in touch via I want to open this idea up further now, though. 

If there are any keen bloggers out there who would like to try their hand at writing a guest blog for Carry On Blogging, do get in touch. It can be about anything, as long as it has a Carry On connection. Perhaps you could write about how you first discovered the Carry Ons or who your favourite actor is and why? Anything really that takes your fancy. All you need to do is get writing and email the results to

Carry On Scribbling!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Carry On Blogging on Facebook!

Did you know that Carry On Blogging was also on Facebook? Well it is and if you are too why not follow me there?

You will find the same pictures, comment and blog posts available on my Carry On Blogging Facebook page and it provides another great forum to interact with me and other Carry On fans. 

So why not boost my page on Facebook by following and liking some of my posts? It would be much appreciated. I look forward to seeing you there!

And in the meantime, do follow me on Twitter too - I love you comments, feedback and general Carry On banter, so keep it coming! Links to both Twitter and Facebook pages at the bottom of this blog! 

Carry On Following!

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

Sunday 21 May 2017

The A - Z of Carry On Characters - D is for...


This is part of a new series for Carry On Blogging looking at some of the best and most memorable characters in the Carry On films. I have already written a series looking at some of the best remembered supporting actors and this will be a similar A-Z format but based on my favourite character names.

Let's continue on today with D and first of all, and D is for Dan Dan! Dan Dan, the Gardening Man was a character brought to life by the wonderful Charles Hawtrey in the classic Carry On Screaming in 1966. Originally Charles wasn't even going to feature in this film with the role earmarked for Sydney Bromley, who had impressed in the previous film Carry On Cowboy. A newspaper critic heard that Hawtrey was not due to feature in Screaming and complained, leading to Charles grabbing the small but perfectly formed role of Dan. It's a brief performance but beautifully played.

We encounter Dan while Harry H Corbett, Peter Butterworth and Jim Dale are conducting their investigation into the disappearance of Doris Mann (Angela Douglas). Their scenes in the gentleman's convenience are superb and it's just a shame Hawtrey left the action so quickly.

D is also for...

...Nurse Stella Dawson, the accident prone junior nurse that brought Joan Sims into the Carry Ons with the second film in the series, Nurse, in 1959;


...Sir Roger Daley, a gloriously named booming character brought to life by big Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Dick in 1974;


...Desiree, the no better than she ought to be associate of Citizen's Camembert and Bidet in the French Revolution Romp, Don't Lose Your head, played by none other than Joan Sims in 1966;


...Nurse Dorothy Denton, the nurse who made Terence Longdon's heart flutter in the 1959 black and white classic, Carry On Nurse. Played by the original Carry On leading lady, Shirley Eaton


...Mrs Dangle, another Joan Sims character, the housekeeper in the dreadful last gasp film in the original run, Carry On Emmannuelle, in 1978;


...Dandy Desmond, the under-cover name for Kenneth Williams' blundering Bow Street Runner in Carry On Dick; 


...Gabriel Dimple, Charles Hawtrey's character who infamously takes on Tom Clegg in the boxing ring (and wins) in Carry On Regardless; 

and finally...Dancy, the lead villain who abducts Peggy and Sally in the climatic scenes of the 1963 film Carry On Cabby. The first role in the series for semi-regular actor Peter Gilmore.


Stay tuned for the next in this series when we tackle more memorable Carry On characters. And if you can think of any more, get in touch!

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

Thursday 18 May 2017

Carrying On with Doctor Who!


I'm afraid Doctor Who is one of those phenomenons which completely passes me by. I've never really understood the appeal although what I do get is that it is very much a peculiarly British show. Since it first debuted back in 1963 it has enthralled, scared, entertained and captured the imagination of each and every generation.

As with many classic series of the era, Doctor Who called upon the talents of many wonderful character actors to add spark and charm to its endless out of this world adventures. And some of these faces will be familiar to Carry On fans, so let's take a look back at some of the Carry On actors who moonlighted across at the BBC in Doctor Who serials! 

We must start with two familiar faces who became the Doctor himself. The first, and the very first to play Doctor Who was none other than William Hartnell. Hartnell had another first of course, playing Sergeant Grimshawe in Carry On Sergeant, the beginning of the franchise in 1958. William played the Doctor in the very early black and white days of the series and its the role he's still best remembered for. 


Fast forward ten years or so another familiar face to pick up the reigns of the series was Jon Pertwee. Pertwee was the third incarnation of the Doctor, playing him between 1970 and 1974. To Carry On fans Jon is best remembered for his cameo roles in Carry On Cleo, Carry On Cowboy and Carry On Screaming before returning to the series in 1992 as one of the few original faces to join Carry On Columbus. 

Wanda Ventham, who had small parts in Carry On Cleo, Up The Khyber and The Big Job, played the character of Jean Rock in the 1967 adventure "The Faceless Ones". A year before, series regular Peter Butterworth, a popular part of the Carry On team between 1965 and 1978, appeared in eight episodes of Doctor Who as the memorable villain, the Meddling Monk. He appeared alongside William Hartnell, Jean Marsh and Peter Purves, the future Blue Peter presenter!


Fellow Carry On regular Bernard Bresslaw played yet another villain in Doctor Who during 1967 when he portrayed the Ice Warrior, Varga. There are some wonderful shots of Bernard getting into costume at the BBC Television Centre. Another veteran of British film, the legendary character actor Victor Maddern popped up in Doctor Who for six episodes in 1968. Victor played Mason in the story "Fury from the Deep". Kenneth Cope, best known for Coronation Street, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and of course Carry On At Your Convenience and Matron, played the role of Packard in four episodes of Doctor Who broadcast in 1981. 

Five years after Kenneth, the brilliant Joan Sims signed up for four episodes, playing the character Katryca in the Colin Baker adventure "The Trial of a Time Lord". According to Joan's autobiography, her appearance left her completely cold as she failed to understand the script or the point of the series! She just said the lines and picked up the cheque - Fair enough! Joan's Carry On Emmannuelle co-star, the lovely Suzanne Danielle also appeared in four Doctor Who episodes broadcast the year after she joined the Carry On team. In "Destiny of the Daleks" she played Agella.


Angela Douglas, the star of four 1960s Carry Ons - Cowboy, Screaming, Follow That Camel and Up The Khyber - played the recurring character of Doris Lethbridge-Stewart in the 1980s adventure "Battlefield". Angela's Up The Khyber co-star and love interest, that multi-talented entertainer Roy Castle appeared in the big screen outing Doctor Who and the Daleks in 1965. This film starred the legendary Peter Cushing as the Doctor while Roy played Ian, the boyfriend of Jennie Linden's Barbara. 

Carry On Jack and Spying favourite Bernard Cribbins holds a unique place in the heart of many a Doctor Who fan. Bernard first joined the Doctor for the big screen follow up to Doctor Who in the Daleks, released in 1966. His film, also starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor, was Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 AD. Cribbins played a young special constable, Tom Campbell. This film also featured future Carry On Abroad cast member Ray Brooks playing the character David. Bernard would return to the world of Doctor Who four decades after making this film, this time on television, playing Wilfred Mott opposite the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. 


Finally, one more cheeky addition before I go. In 2009, British comedy legend June Whitfield guest starred in a two part Doctor Who Christmas Special, "The End of Time". Playing the rather fruity pensioner Minnie Hooper, who rather memorably cops a feel of the Doctor's bottom...

So there you have it, a run down of some of the most famous, familiar Carry On actors to have appeared in Doctor Who over the years. I'm sure I've missed out plenty of others so do feel free to write in and let me know!

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