Tuesday 31 October 2017

Dame June Whitfield in Conversation at the V&A

Dame June Whitfield’s extensive career encompasses classics such as 'Take It From Here', 'Terry and June', the Carry On films and 'Absolutely Fabulous'. Join senior curator Simon Sladen in conversation with Dame June and her daughter, actress Suzy Aitchison, as they discuss a life of comedy on stage, radio and screen, in celebration of the V&A’s recent acquisition of her extensive archives.

Of course, us Carry On fans know June for her wonderful performances in four Carry Ons - as Meg opposite Leslie Phillips in Carry On Nurse; Evelyn Blunt with Kenneth Connor in Abroad; the glorious Augusta Prodworthy in Carry On Girls and finally, as the Queen of Spain in Carry On Columbus in 1992. She also reunited with Terry Scott for the Rogers and Thomas big screen version of Bless This House.  
Dame June will be "In Conversation" at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Monday 22nd January 2018. The evening will begin at 19.00 and conclude at 20.45. It will take place in The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre and tickets cost £15 including a wine reception. I've got my tickets booked and of course, I'll be blogging all about it after the event. If you fancy coming along you can buy tickets here 

And you can find out more about what's coming up at the Victoria and Albert Museum here

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

My Carry On Blogging 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 600,000 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 12,000 followers and nearly 600 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

Last October I 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 

In March I celebrated Frankie Howerd's centenary by interview his agent and long-time friend Tessa Le Bars. You can read that interview here

I also spoke to the actor Mark Farrelly about his love of Frankie and his plans for a new one man show telling Howerd's story. Read this here.

Paul Taylor-Greaves told me all about his love of blogging and podcasting and that can be found here 


Carry On Nurse actress Christine Ozanne spoke to me earlier this month about her long and varied career and her new memoir, The Tome of the Unknown Actor. Find out what Christine had to say here

And more recently I interviewed Jennie Linden on her long stage and screen career, finding out what it was like to work with Kenneth Williams on the play My Fat Friend. Read more from Jennie here 

To celebrate my second anniversary, on 29 March this year I interviewed my blogging colleague and Coronation Street Blog Editor Glenda Young about blogging, Corrie and of course, Carry On. You can check that out here.

Having written about all of Joan and Hattie's Carry On adventures, I have also started blogging about Barbara Windsor's nine Carry On roles as part of the run up to Barbara's 80th birthday in August. You can read the first of those blogs here 

I'm also now beginning a new series of blogs looking back at all of Kenneth Connor's Carry On performances in the lead up to his centenary next June. You can read the first of these blogs here.

Earlier this summer saw comedy historian Robert Ross embark on a special Carry On Cruise with some very familiar faces. Robert very kindly answered some questions on his European jaunt with Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Anita Harris and Richard O'Callaghan. You can find that article here 

Having interviewed the fabulous Madeline Smith last year it was a thrill to finally meet her in person in June. I attended "From Biba to Bond: An Evening with Madeline Smith" at the Stow Roses Women's Institute in North London. You can read about my encounter with the lovely Maddie here 

Another great moment in June was interviewing the writer Mark O'Connell on his long association with Pinewood Studios and his love of all things James Bond. You can read that interview (and find out more about Mark's book Catching Bullets) here

Also, omething I have been blogging about and calling for since I started Carry On Blogging actually happened in June (an apt month). Yes, June Whitfield was finally made a Dame. You can read my thoughts on this wonderful news here 

I was thrilled to receive an exclusive chance to review Network's newly released The Complete Sykes on DVD last month (many thanks again to Blue Dolphin). You can read that review here.

I was absolutely delighted to be contacted recently by Patrick Purcell, son of the late great Irish actor Noel Purcell. We had a smashing interview and you can read all about that here 

Only the other day I interviewed actor and writer Jack Lane about his passion for the work of Sir Norman Wisdom and Jack's one man show, Wisdom of a Fool. You can read that interview here

In July published my interview with the lovely Georgy Jamieson, passionate comedy fan, BBC Suffolk presenter and Director of the British Comedy Society. You can read our interview here

Also that month I enjoyed a hysterical hour on the phone with British film legend Robin Askwith. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here  

I celebrated Carry On legend Barbara Windsor's 80th birthday with a series of blogs at the beginning of August - you can read the main one here

I started a new series of blogs in August asking some of my favourite people to write in about the five greatest influences on their careers. You can read Judy Matheson's blog here, Sarah Miller Walters' blog is here, Stuart Ball's blog is here and you can read the blog from Jason Figgis here

Also in August I had the great pleasure of chatting with television legend Derek Griffiths and you can read my blog interview with him here  

And finally, in September I travelled to Elstree Studios for a celebration of the very best of 1960s and 70s British television. Hosted by Morris Bright and featuring classic clips and interviews with Dame Diana Rigg and Carry On actors Angela Douglas and Valerie Leon, you can read my review of the evening here.

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 on Facebook and on Instagram

Happy Birthday Pauline Peart!

The actress Pauline Peart celebrates her birthday today. Many happy returns to her. Pauline is probably best remembered for her appearance in the 1973 film, Carry On Girls. Pauline played beauty contest entrant Gloria Winch and is featured in many iconic scenes from that film, suffering for her art along with the likes of Maggie Nolan, Barbara Windsor and Valerie Leon in the climatic contest which goes so horribly wrong!

Although only a small part player in the film, the statuesque Ms Peart definitely stands out. Pauline's career came to an end by the end of the 1970s however she also appeared in the classic Hammer Horror film, The Satanic Rites of Dracula and, the year after Carry On Girls, cropped up in the big screen version of the very successful sitcom, Man About the House.

Further credits include an episode of The Galton and Simpson Playhouse, the Sean Connery film Cuba and The Firechasers. And good news for Carry On fans, as Pauline will be making a very rare public appearance at The Film and Comic Fair this December. More details can be found here    .

Whatever Pauline is up to today, I hope she has a wonderful birthday. And you can read my blog on all the other Carry On Girls here

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

Sunday 29 October 2017

Whatever Happened to ... Hugh Futcher?


It's quite an easy question to answer really because Hugh Futcher is very much still alive, working and celebrating his 80th birthday this very day. Hugh will be a familiar face and name to many diehard Carry On fans however he's probably yet another one of those very reliable supporting actors who have never received the credit they are due.

Hugh made his first appearance in the series in Carry On Spying back in 1964. He played the Bed of Nails Native in a scene set in the Kasbah. It's a very brief yet memorable role, probably best remembered for Bernard Cribbins' extremely subtle reaction shots (!) Hugh obviously made an impression on the gang (and not just on that bed of nails) as he returned to Pinewood two years later for the role of a French soldier in Carry On Don't Lose Your Head. Appearing in a night shoot with Kenneth Williams and Peter Butterworth as Citizens Camembert and Bidet, Hugh exchanges a few lines of dialogue with Kenneth and manages to keep a straight face when Peter inadvertently knocks Kenneth's hat forward over his face. Williams of course keeps going and throws in an adlib for good measure!


Back to the present day for Hugh Futcher's next little role in the series, which saw him appear as a taxi driver dropping of Gladstone Screwer at the Moore Nookey Clinic in Carry On Again Doctor. Hugh is left rather nonplussed when Sid's Gladstone attempts to pay for his cab ride with cigarettes! Two years later Hugh probably had his biggest role in a Carry On when he played factory worker Ernie in the trade union comedy Carry On At Your Convenience. Hugh pops up throughout the film an enjoys some lovely cheeky dialogue with Joan Sims during a particularly memorable canteen sequence! Partnered with future Coronation Street star Geoffrey Hughes as his mate, Hugh also gets to enjoy the infamous works' outing to Brighton and not for the last time gets paid to lark about with the gang on Brighton Pier.

In 1972 Hugh was back in the Pinewood back lot which this time had been transformed into the Spanish island of Elbells for Carry On Abroad. Playing the jailer, Hugh forms a memorable double act with Alan Curtis as the chief of police. They capture the rowdy British tourists on the WundaTours long weekend when they cause chaos at the local market and Madam Fifi's! Hugh must have struggled to remain professional when faced with the likes of Sid, Joan, Kenneths Williams and Connor and Charles Hawtrey all banged up in prison! The following year, and after a very brief uncredited role as a car driver in the Gerald Thomas directed film Bless This House, Hugh played a disgruntled citizen in Carry On Girls. Feeling swizzed out of his cash after Sidney Fiddler's beauty contest goes wrong, Hugh is seen chasing Sid down Brighton Pier at the end of the film!


Two years later, Hugh Futcher was back at Pinewood for his last film with the gang. 1975's Carry On Behind saw major changes within the acting team and the series writer, with the likes of Hattie Jacques, Sid James, Barbara Windsor and writer Talbot Rothwell all absent. Hugh appeared in a small role as the painter tasked with sorting out Major Leap's chairs in the campsite clubhouse alongside a pre-Coronation Street Johnny Briggs and the wonderful Peter Butterworth. And that was the last time Hugh worked for the Carry On team.

So what else has Hugh Futcher appeared in during his long career? Hugh's earliest credited role came in 1960 when he appeared in two episodes of the television series Death of a Ghost. More drama followed over the years with appearances on the small screen in the likes of Armchair Theatre, The Saint, Z Cars, Special Branch, Doctor Who and Jason King. Comedy has also played an important part in Hugh's acting career and over the years he has appeared alongside Arthur Askey, Harry Worth and in sitcoms like Queenie's Castle starring Diana Dors.


On film, the same year he debuted in the Carry On films, Futcher co-starred in the big screen version of the hit play, Rattle of a Simple Man. Hugh played Ozzie opposite the likes of Thora Hird, Diane Cilento (then married to Sean Connery) and Carry On Screaming star Harry H Corbett. The following year Hugh appeared in another high profile sixties film when he was cast as Reggie in Roman Polanski's cult horror film Repulsion. Hugh worked on this legendary film with French actress Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and fellow Carry On actor, Renee Houston. 

In 1966 Hugh had a small part in Michael Bentine's labour of love, The Sandwich Man, a film which boasted a large ensemble cast featuring the likes of Suzy Kendall, Norman Wisdom, Stanley Holloway, Dora Bryan, Diana Dors and Bernard Cribbins. A year later he also popped up in the Morecambe and Wise film, The Magnificent Two. Other films have included Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter; Five Million Years to Earth; Before Winter Comes and 102 Dalmatians. 

On stage, Hugh has appeared in a wide variety of productions over the years, at a large selection of the very best British theatres. Credits have included roles in Joe Orton's Loot, Three Sisters, No Man's Land, Much Ado About Nothing and Gaslight. 


And thankfully, as Hugh turns 80, he's as busy as ever. He has just completed work on a new film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, playing the role of Quince. Other recent film roles have included the role of a pensioner in My Name is Lenny, Travelling Man in Holiday and finally Mr Heritage in the film Confection.

It's so great to see another familiar face from the Carry On films still working hard in a profession they so obviously love. I'd like to wish Hugh a wonderfully happy birthday and here's to many more!

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

Happy 80th Birthday Hugh Futcher!


Today seems to be quite a day for Carry On birthdays! Following hot on the heels of Angela Douglas and Margaret Nolan is the actor Hugh Futcher, who turns 80 today. Hugh has had a long career as an actor, still popping up regularly on our screens today.

Hugh made his first appearance in the series in Carry On Spying in 1964, playing the memorable "bed of nails native" in a small scene opposite Bernard Cribbins. Further roles followed included playing a guard in Don't Lose Your Head in 1966 and a Taxi Driver in Again Doctor in 1969. Hugh probably had his biggest role in the series in 1971's Carry On At Your Convenience, playing factory worker Ernie alongside Geoffrey Hughes.


Four more roles followed in Peter Rogers productions. He played a Car Owner in Bless This House, a Jailer alongside Alan Curtis in Carry On Abroad, a citizen in Carry On Girls and finally, in 1975, a painter in Major Leap's new clubhouse in Carry On Behind. Away from the Carry Ons, Hugh has appeared in films such as Repulsion, Rattle of a Simple Man, Anne of a Thousand Days and Quatermass and the Pit.

On television, Hugh has appeared in several well known productions including The Sweeney, Minder, Doctor Who, The Saint, Casualty and Z Cars. He was even considered for the role of the seventh Doctor in Doctor Who but accepted another role before that one progressed any further.

Whatever Hugh is up to today, I hope he has a wonderful birthday!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Happy Birthday Angela Douglas!

A very happy birthday to Carry On legend Angela Douglas who celebrates her birthday today. Angela has long been a fan favourite thanks to her sparkling performances in four classic mid-60s Carry On films and is now a very welcome presence on Twitter.

Angela has had a long and prolific career in film, on television and stage since the late 1950s. She was married to the late film actor Kenneth More (always one of my favourite actors thanks to his roles in the likes of Genevieve, Doctor in the House and Reach For the Sky) and more recently has become a writer, having published her wonderful autobiography Swings and Roundabouts.

Angela first appeared in the Carry Ons as Annie Oakley in Carry On Cowboy, released in 1965. She returned the following year for a cameo appearance as Doris Mann in Carry On Screaming, uttering the famous line "there is something in those bushes!" before she was got at by Oddbod! In 1967 Angela co-starred with Jim Dale, Kenneth Williams and guest star Phil Silvers in Follow That Camel. I love Angela as the frightfully posh Lady Jane Ponsonby - I think it might be my favourite of her roles in the Carry Ons. Her final performance in the series came the following year, as Princess Jelhi in Carry On Up The Khyber.

Angela normally worked alongside the brilliant Jim Dale in the Carry Ons. I think they had terrific chemistry together and I wish they had appeared together more often (I have a soft spot for the children's film Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World which saw them reunite several years after the Carry Ons). 

Angela Douglas made a welcome appearance in the Carry On Forever documentary earlier last year, looking wonderful and still proud of her association with the films. It was great to see her back on location in Wales where Khyber was filmed. 

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Angela earlier last year and you can read that here
Whatever Angela is up to today, I hope she has a very happy, memorable birthday. Here's to many more.

You can follow Angela on Twitter @CarryonAngela14

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

Happy Birthday Margaret Nolan!


Today we're wishing the lovely Margaret Nolan a very happy birthday! Margaret has been a fixture in British film, television and stage since the early 1960s and continues to delight fans at Film Conventions to this day. 

Of course to us, Maggie will always be best remembered for her six cracking Carry On appearances. Beginning with an eye catching scene in the 1965 film Carry On Cowboy, Margaret went on to appear in Henry, At Your Convenience, Matron, Girls and finally Dick in 1974. While always playing a certain type of character - usually glamorous and a bit ditzy, there was never any doubting how talented an actor Margaret was and is.

Margaret is also well remembered for her appearance not only in the classic Bond film Goldfinger (as Dink) but also for her work as a model in the wonderful Robert Brownjohn title sequences for the film. Other film appearances have included A Hard Day's Night and No Sex Please We're British. On television she has appeared in everything from Steptoe and Son and Crossroads to Budgie and The Sweeney. Margaret also worked a great deal on television with Spike Milligan in the 1970s.


These days Margaret is back in London, after living in Spain for many years. She promotes her film work and also her work as a talented artist. You can find out more about Margaret's life and career by visiting her website here

There is also a great fan Twitter account which is certainly worth a follow and you can find that here   

Whatever Margaret is up to today, I hope she has an excellent birthday! 


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook