Wednesday 23 August 2017

Remembering Marianne

I love the late actress Marianne Stone. I'm not sure of the facts, but it would seem to be highly like she appeared in more British films than any other actress. She pops up in so many classic (and not so classic) films from the 1940s to the 1980s I just can't possibly keep track of them all. A terrific character actress, sadly a lot of Marianne's roles are all too brief, but the skill of her performances mean she is always spotted and never forgotten.

Marianne sadly passed away in December 2009 at the age of 87, having pretty much retired from the business in the late 1980s. I have written about Marianne on the blog before (see below for links to those pieces) however as today marks 95 years since Marianne's birth, I thought I would provide a quick guide to this most prolific of supporting actresses' Carry On appearances.

Marianne's Carry On career spanned almost the entire run of the films, much like more established regulars such as Kenneth Williams and Joan Sims. Marianne made her first appearance back in November 1958 when she played Alice Able in Carry On Nurse. Her character visited the hospital to see her husband, played by reliable character actor Cyril Chamberlain.

Why, might you ask, am I sharing a photo of the actress Lucy Griffiths in a blog about Marianne Stone? Well, following Carry On Nurse there would be a gap of several years before Marianne appeared in another of the series. Despite this her vocal talents could be heard in the 1959 film, Carry On Constable. Marianne over dubbed Lucy's role as Miss Horton, a character P.C Leslie Phillips come to call on in the film.

Marianne was forever being cast as Cockney barmaids, cleaners and the like. Her return to Carry On came in 1963 with a fairly typical cameo role as Peg, a barmaid in Dirty Dick's, in Carry On Jack. She sets upon the rather green Bernard Cribbins with some relish!

Three years later Marianne was back at Pinewood for one of her smallest Carry On supporting roles, playing Mrs Parker in Carry On Screaming. Sharing a brief scene in a taxi carriage with Joan Sims, she puts a suspicious Emily Bung onto the night time antics of her errant husband (Harry H Corbett).


Later that same year Marianne was back for one of my favourite of her cameo roles in the series. Filming just one scene in the 1966 film Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, Marianne plays a spirited Landlady who has memorably "just called temps!" She spars deliciously with Kenneth Williams and Peter Butterworth as Citizens Camembert and Bidet and certainly gets the better of Bidet!

The following year, the gang reunited for one of the landmark films in the series, a return to medical comedy in Carry On Doctor. The cast of this film features nearly all the Carry On regulars with the addition of guest star Frankie Howerd. The film is also littered with cameos from some cracking comedy actors (Peter Jones, Dandy Nichols, Julian Orchard, Pat Coombs) and of course Marianne Stone. Marianne has something of a running gag as a put upon mother who makes repeated trips to the hospital with son, grandad and an offending chamber pot!


In 1971 Marianne had probably her biggest Carry On role, as factory worker Maud in that classic comedy, Carry On At Your Convenience. Best friend of main character Chloe (Joan Sims) the pair enjoy winding up Kenneth Cope's shop steward and Marianne's main scenes involve the delightful works outing to Brighton towards the end of the film. Her character's memorable laugh is right up there to rival Betty Marsden's in Carry On Camping!

Yes I know that's a picture of the wonderful Hattie as Matron. Sadly the Carry Ons were filmed on a tight budget and if things over ran then the editor would cut, cut, cut. It happened to some of the very best of them, with Terry Scott having his entire 10 minute appearance in Carry On At Your Convenience hitting the cutting room floor. Unfortunately this happened to Marianne Stone in Carry On Matron. She filmed a role as Mrs Putzova however for whatever reason the role was completely deleted from the final print. No wonder Matron looks upset!

Another tiny role for Marianne, she appears at the very start of the 1973 film Carry On Girls as secretary Miss Drew. Her few lines of dialogue are shamefully upstaged by some gloriously near the knuckle Talbot Rothwell lines going to Sid James, June Whitfield and Kenneth Connor.

Ah. Probably Marianne's best character part in a Carry On! In 1974 she played the rather grubby old hag and patron of The Old Cock Inn, Maggie, in Carry On Dick. It's a delicious seedy performance which sees her pass on information about the identity of Big Dick to Kenneth Williams and Jack Douglas. The gag about the diddler goes down in Carry On history! 

Marianne bade farewell to the Carry On series in 1975 with her supporting role as customer Mrs Rowan in Carry On Behind. Filming scenes which introduced leading characters Fred Ramsden and Ernie Bragg (Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas) Marianne shares scenes with Liz Fraser and hams it up with the gang for one last time.


1975 did see one final, brief Carry On performance from Ms Stone. That year saw two series of the ATV comedy Carry On Laughing broadcast. Although the series proved less than successful it did give us some more precious moments from the likes of Sid James, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth and Patsy Rowlands. Marianne turns up as Madame Petra for a scene in the episode "The Case of the Screaming Winkles" which starred Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas, Peter Butterworth, Joan Sims and Sherrie Hewson. 

And there you have it - Marianne Stone's eclectic Carry On career summed up in one lovely blog post. Her roles may have been brief but she deserves to be remembered as an important part of the Carry On story.

You can read my blog about Marianne's life and career here 

And you can read why I chose Marianne Stone to be one of my Carry On Heroes here

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

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