Wednesday 7 June 2017

Robert Ross on his Carry On Cruise


As I flagged up on the blog recently some of our favourite Carry On faces were off for a cruise around Europe at the end of last month. Joining Jacki Piper, Richard O'Callaghan, Valerie Leon and Anita Harris was comedy historian Robert Ross. Robert has very kindly shared his thoughts on what certainly sounds like a great trip!

You have just returned from a Carry On themed cruise around Europe – how did you get on?

It was an absolute blast. It was genuinely one of the happiest companies I have ever worked with, we all got on so well, supporting each other's shows, enjoying raucous lunches and dinners together, even going on excursions ashore together, notably drinks and exploration in Rouen. It was my first ever cruise and I had the time of my life. Carry On Cruising, indeed!

Your travelling companions included Jacki Piper, Anita Harris and Valerie Leon. What was it like to be on holiday with those lovely ladies?

My eleven year old self would never believe it! Obviously I've known them all for many years, but to enjoy real quality time with these agelessly kind and glorious souls was a delight from Tilbury Docks to Newport!

What were the highlights for the Carry On fans who joined you for the cruise? 

Hopefully all of it. Valerie Leon gave her marvellous Forever Carrying On lecture, Felix Rayner galloped through the A ~ Z of the series, while Jacki Piper and Richard O'Callaghan delighted with affectionate and outrageous anecdotes; some of which even I hadn't heard before! 


But it was Anita Harris who shone so bright. She really is one of our greatest entertainers, and her performance of showbiz memories and greatest hits had the audience in the palm of her hands. It was her birthday just days after the cruise so, while docked in La Havre, myself and the extremely lovely Barry Langford ~ Jacki's agent ~ had a hilarious Apprentice~style challenge to find flowers, chocolates, booze and a card for a surprise birthday presentation after the closing ceremony event. It was a joy! 

I see you were guest lecturer on the cruise – what did you decide to talk about?

I was there to give a little in~sight into behind the scenes of Carry On, and the future of the series; so I could indulge in loads of favourite anecdotes from the cast and crew I have met over the years; as well as being aided and abetted by some extremely rare footage, including the Film '92 set report on Carry On Columbus. I'm delighted to say that it got loads of laughs from a packed theatre. And the cruise was a sell~out too. There wasn't a cabin to be had. Very gratifying.


What was your highlight from the trip?

Gosh! The whole thing! There wasn't a dull moment, believe me, but all of us on stage for that round~up Carry On panel, having kept Anita's birthday surprise a secret, that was just wonderful. The memory of her delighted expression and her on~stage whisper in my ear: "You naughty boy!" will make me beam for many a year.
Carry On!

Many thanks to Robert for sharing these stories from his travels. And thanks also for the wonderful photos! 


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