Thursday, 4 May 2017

Terry Scott - His Carry On Story


Terry Scott was never one of my favourite members of the Carry On team. Indeed some fans wouldn't even view him as a full member of the gang. He did make several starring appearances in the series during its peak period of popularity so I'd include him as part of the main team. So what was Terry's Carry On story? Read on to find out.

Terry Scott was never really a big film star. Scott's chosen medium was always television, where he excelled for many years. As a young actor in the 1950s he did make some notable supporting appearances in classic British comedy films, most notably in Blue Murder at St Trinian's in 1957. Indeed Scott played countless policeman in comedy films of the time, including small parts in Too Many Crooks, The Bridal Path, Double Bunk, A Pair of Briefs and the Miss Marple film, Murder Most Foul. 

In amongst all these small parts was the role of Sergeant Paddy O'Brien in the very first film in the series, Carry On Sergeant, in 1958. Terry only appeared in the opening and closing scenes of the film and it was a fairly ordinary performance alongside the film's star William Hartnell. At the time it must have been just another supporting part for Terry and it would be a further ten years before he'd work for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas again. In the meantime, Terry Scott was to become a major star on the small screen. From 1962 to 1967, Terry starred with Hugh Lloyd in the comedy series Hugh and I for the BBC. This established him as a big player in television comedy and he would be a mainstay on our screens for the next twenty years. 


Soon after Hugh and I came to an end, the BBC progressed another comedy series with Scott as the main star. Scott On ... tackled a different subject each week with the same familiar supporting cast. That cast included Carry On faces Peter Butterworth, Frank Thornton and a certain June Whitfield. 1968 would be an auspicious year for Terry as it would see his professional relationship with June hit the ground running. They would work together on television for the next twenty years. 1968 was also the year Terry was invited back to Pinewood for a run of several Carry On films.

Terry's second Carry On appearance was in one of the most successful and well-regarded films in the entire series, Carry On Up The Khyber. As Sergeant Major MacNutt, Terry played a bombastic military man forever bossing about poor Private Widdle (Charles Hawtrey) at the Khyber Pass (Wales). Although another supporting role, Terry grabs some great moments, particularly when the boys go under cover to rescue Joan Sims' Lady Ruff-Diamond from the clutches of the Khasi! Scott joins Roy Castle, Hawtrey and Peter Butterworth and they all end up in drag (naturally). Terry is great in Khyber and fits in effortlessly with the rest of the gang.

His return in early 1968 was followed up soon afterwards with yet another classic film, Carry On Camping, filmed in the freezing cold Pinewood back lot in November of that year. Teamed up with the marvellous Betty Marsden as his screen wife Harriet, Terry plays frustrated middle aged businessman Peter Potter, fed up with endless camping holidays and a wife that apparently stopped listening to him years ago. When they are joined by Charles Hawtrey's annoying Charlie Muggins, it's a step too far for Peter! Fortunately all ends well for the Potters as they plan a cross-channel jaunt to Monte Carlo, sans camping equipment! After missing the next film in the series, Jim Dale's swansong Carry On Again Doctor, Terry was back in the autumn of 1969 to take a role that Jim had turned down. 

As the nearly mute, bumbling Jungle Boy, Terry Scott excelled in Carry On Up The Jungle. His superb performance demands we forget the ridiculousness of him playing Joan Sims' on screen son despite the fact he was actually three years old that Joan! Terry also forms a delightful partnership with Carry On newcomer, Jacki Piper. Indeed Terry and Jacki would become firm friends, teaming up again many years later on some theatrical tours all around the world, towards the end of Terry's life. Terry's brilliant performance in Up The Jungle cemented his position as a main part of the Carry On team at this time. In the next film in the series, Carry On Loving, Terry plays Terence Phillpott, a slightly randy man looking for love through the Wedded Bliss Marriage Agency, run by Sid James and Hattie Jacques. Terry does a good job of bridging the gap between the established team and the new, younger stars in Loving and forms a great double act with the glamorous Imogen Hassall. 


Later in 1970, Terry was again part of the fun for Carry On Henry, the 21st film in the series. As Cardinal Wolsey, Terry forms a delightfully bumbling double act with Kenneth Williams' fiendish Thomas Cromwell. Henry is a lavish "epic" and the cast of Carry On favourites are all on top form. Sadly Terry's next role, as a Trade Union boss, was cut from the final print as the film was over-running. Scott did return for one last film with the gang, the 1971 classic Carry On Matron. Matron would see Terry playing probably his most outrageous character in any of the Carry Ons - Dr Prodd in Finisham Maternity Hospital. The randy doctor spends his time chasing nurses and falls foul of Kenneth Cope's undercover Cyrile "it's a real name" Carter! 

Sadly this was Terry's last six weeks of fun with the gang. I don't know why Scott decided to stop making Carry Ons at this time however it was probably down to his workload on television. His popularity on the small screen had led him to take starring roles in two classic Carry On Christmas specials for Thames, in 1969 and 1970. He also took on a starring role in the 1972 big screen version of Sid James' ITV sitcom Bless This House. This film basically sees two situation comedies meet as Sid and Diana Coupland's new neighbours turn out to be Terry Scott and June Whitfield. By the mid 1970s Terry was fully committed to his domestic sitcom for the BBC, Happy Ever After, a precursor to Terry and June.


Although only appearing in eight Carry Ons, Terry created some memorable and hilarious characters in the films. He's not my favourite of the male Carry On actors but his roles in Camping and Jungle in particular, are up their with the very best.

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  1. Always been a fan, I just wish he had done more

    1. I guess he became so popular on television that he didn't have time to make more Carry Ons

  2. It just seems so curious, not to mention frustrating, that he did not make Carry On Abroad his Carry On swan song. He had just appeared in Matron, June Whitfield would appear with him and Sid James in Bless This House the movie in 1972, and Terry and June had been starring on tv together regularly since 1968. So when Abroad was made in 1972, again with Sid and June, the logical thing would have been for Terry to star in it too. Surely they were all equally busy. Really such a pity that Terry Scott and June Whitfield never appeared in the same Carry On, and they could not have been closer to doing so!

  3. With the overload of his TV, and stage and panto work Terry became ill and was advised to take things easier.

  4. Terry was initially in Carry on abroad and is in the cast. However like At your Convenience, his scenes were deleted. Shame. Would have liked him to have played Bernard Bresslaw's role in Carry on Behind. Think he would have been funnier.