Monday 31 December 2018

An Alternative Auld Lang Syne … with Kenneth Williams!

I posted this clip last year but as it's both completely wonderful and very suitable for 31st December, I'm sharing it again this yearAs the year draws to a close, it seems fitting to make my final blog post of 2018, a Carry On take on a classic tradition. Being a proud Scotsman, I'm a big fan of the work of Robert Burns. I'm an even greater fan of the work of Kenneth Williams, and in this clip we see the two worlds collide, with a little help from one of my fellow countrymen, the late great Gordon Jackson.

I love Kenneth's Audience With show, filmed towards the end of 1982. It is Williams at his finest - a sublime raconteur holding a celebrity audience in rapture with a series of beautifully delivered anecdotes and tales from his colourful life and career. It's a real classic. One of the highlights is this musical diversion that wrapped the whole show up at the end. Kenneth had performed this reworking of Auld Lang Syne on other shows but I think this is the definitive version. He credits Gordon Jackson for helping create this mini masterpiece but I'm not sure if that's true or not!

It doesn't matter, it's just a hilarious comedy number packed full of wonderful Kenneth Williams touches and brilliant comic timing. It may not be the traditional Scottish song, but Kenny's version entertains me a great deal more than the original!

So take it away Kenneth and a Happy New Year to you all!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Happy Hogmanay from Carry On Blogging!

The end of the year is nigh! And what a year it has been. I have thoroughly enjoyed my fourth year of Carry On Blogging, it has been wonderful to write about my favourite series of films and to interact with so many fellow fans.

I have lots of lovely blogs planned for 2019 and I hope you'll stay with me to enjoy them. For now though, it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy a right good knees up this New Year's Eve. So how will you be celebrating?

Perhaps you'll be enjoying a little drinkie?

Or maybe you're off to a party?

Maybe you are popping down the local pub to see the new year in with friends?

Or perhaps just a quiet night in in front of the telly?

Whatever you are up to this hogmanay, stay safe, enjoy yourself and don't forget to ....


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

My Review: Carry On Up The Archive

I've just listened to the most wonderful hour of radio, the programme 'Carry On Up The Archive' on the BBC. It was first broadcast a couple of days ago and I blogged about the production earlier in the month. Produced by Richard Latto, the programme is hosted by Carry On legend Jim Dale.

Richard has painstakingly unearthed some extremely rare clips of some of our favourite, most cherished Carry On stars in conversation on radio stations up and down the land. It's always fascinating to hear our beloved stars 'as themselves' and this hour long special really didn't disappoint. All our favourites were featured - from Bernard Bresslaw and Kenneth Connor, to Sid James, Joan Sims and Barbara Windsor. 

Some of the clips were sourced from regional stations and hadn't been heard for decades while others were found in the most unusual of places; dusty cupboards and attics and possibly even a garden shed or two. Back in the day the BBC were perhaps not as forward thinking when it came to preserving programmes or interviews for future generations, either due to a lack of modern technology or just short-sightedness. Whatever the reason, this programme is a really important treasure trove of material for fans old and new.

So what were the highlights for me? Well before we get to the headline act, that special last interview Sid James ever gave, there are lovely moments from Barbara Windsor as she discusses the routine on the Pinewood Studio floor. It was very evocative hearing the down to earth pursuits of these comedy legends as they killed time between shots. It made them seem life size almost after decades on the big screen in outlandish costumes, cracking innuendos in comedic tones. I also loved hearing snippets of Barbara and also Jack Douglas fielding calls from fans on local radio stations. The love from the ordinary man and woman on the street still strong after decades of Carry On capers.

Another highlight was hearing from two of my absolute favourites, Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor. Perhaps two members of the team we heard less from in their own voices. Listening to them having fun as they reminisced over the filming of Carry On Constable and that infamous shower sequence, I was struck by the warmth between the two old pros and just how eloquent and intelligent they were, a bit like the affable, gently spoken Bernard Bresslaw who also features in the range of clips. You'll have to listen yourself to hear what Joan and Kenneth had to shriek about over Constable but all I'll say is it involved Charles Hawtrey's buttocks and some eye shadow…

There was also a lovely little clip of Kenneth Connor again, this time in conversation with the brilliant director of all the films, Gerald Thomas. Another man we rarely heard from, Gerald and Kenneth shared some lovely memories of filming that sweet scene at the end of Carry On Nurse which sees Kenneth's real life son Jeremy appear down the hospital corridor and on cue, give his dad a bit of a slap around the chops!

The headline grabber from this special programme however was the unearthed recordings of the late, great Sidney James. There were two amazing interview clips shared for the first time since they were recorded in 1976. The first from a local hospital radio show and the second BBC Radio down in Bournemouth. At the time Sid was touring with the theatre show The Mating Season and he spoke to the BBC about his lengthy career, his fitness regime and his passion for fishing whenever the hard working actor could grab a bit of down time. Apart from the poignancy of hearing Sid just days before he so very sadly died on tour in Sunderland, it's just lovely to hear the actor as himself - beautifully spoken, erudite, calm and honest. That familiar laugh is there as a crowd pleaser but this really is Mr Sidney James as he was off camera. It's a joy and that joy is bitter sweet given what happened so soon afterwards. How wonderful though, for Sid's children to hear this forgotten interview their father did for the very first time.

Massive thanks go to Richard Latto for all his hard work in piecing this wonderful programme together, it's been a true highlight of the festive season for me and I just loved every second. I couldn't help but shed a little tear as Jim Dale, excellent as the presenter of the show, gathered the story up at the end by remarking that while so many of his Carry On costars are now no longer with us, the laughter and happy times they gave us will be with us forever. 

You can listen to the wonderful 'Carry On Up The Archives' here

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Remembering those we lost in 2018

Without wanting to put a dampener on this most festive time of year, I thought it was also important to remember some of the familiar Carry On faces we so very sadly lost in 2018. As always, the older the Carry On series becomes, the less links we have left with past glories. The joy of the series is that we can still enjoy so many timeless performances from the very best of British actors, even once they've gone to the Pinewood Bar upstairs.

Back in March the news broke that we had lost the great actor Bill Maynard. Bill was 89 and remained a vibrant personality with many stories to tell. He was due to appear at a special event in Elstree in the Summer and there were plans afoot for a Carry On Blogging interview that very sadly didn't happen. In his 90th year, Bill was still in excellent form. You can read my tribute to him here.

In May, the actor Peter Byrne very sadly passed away at the grand old age of 90. Peter, best remembered for his twenty year stint in Dixon of Dock Green on television, had several associations with Peter Rogers Productions in the early 1960s. Peter had small parts in Raising The Wind, Watch Your Stern, The Iron Maiden and finally, Carry On Cabby in 1963. You can read my tribute to Peter here.

September was a dreadful month for Carry On fans with some well-loved actors taking their final bows. We said farewell to the British born American star of stage and screen Carole Shelley. Carole had started her career in Britain with supporting parts in Carry On Regardless and Carry On Cabby. She was 79. Read more about Carole here.

Very shortly after the news of Carole's death came the news that actress Jacqueline Pearce had passed away at the age of 74. Best known for her iconic role in the BBC's sci-fi series Blake's 7 from the late 1970s, Jacqueline had made a brief appearance in Carry On Don't Lose Your Head with Charles Hawtrey back in 1966. Read more here

More sadness followed when the legendary Liz Fraser died suddenly at the age of 88. I had been fortunate enough to see Liz in conversation at the Museum of Comedy just a month before, little knowing it would be her last public appearance. She was in great form and I'll treasure the memory and the fact I got to say hello and shake her hand. What a woman. Read my tribute to Liz here and my blog on my five favourite Liz performances here.

The unique, memorable, superbly talented Fenella Fielding had been in poor health for a short time before her death in September at the age of 90. A wonderful star of stage and screen and forever remembered for her iconic performance in Carry On Screaming, Fenella had enjoyed a career resurgence thanks to her beautiful memoirs and live performances at a range of venues up and down the land. Awarded the OBE in recognition of her long and successful career, sadly Fenella wasn't able to have her day at the Palace. At least she knew how much she was loved. Read my tribute to her here.

Just last month, the actor John Bluthal very sadly left us aged 89. Forever remembered for the BBC comedy series, The Vicar of Dibley, John had a long, diverse and varied career across all mediums and several continents, dating back to the 1950s. He was still acting earlier this year. He had supporting roles in Carry On Spying, Carry On Follow That Camel and Carry On Henry. Read my tribute to John here.

November also saw us say farewell to another instantly recognisable face. The actor George A Cooper may not have appeared in a Carry On but he did work with many of the team in film and on television. He also had a great role in the big screen version of Bless This House in 1972, working opposite Sid James, Terry Scott, Carol Hawkins and Robin Askwith. To my generation, he'll always be the caretaker Mr Griffiths in Grange Hill. Read more here.

And finally, only the other day, on 28 December we lost the irreplaceable Dame June Whitfield. June had reached the grand old age of 93 on 11 November and while seemingly retired from acting, was still seen from time to time at events and of course received her damehood in 2017. It's impossible to sum up June's contribution to British culture and British comedy but I tried in this tribute post from just yesterday, which you can read here. I'm sad she has left us but what a life, what a legacy.

Gone but definitely not forgotten, we'll not see their like again. Thankfully we have so many glorious performances from the very best of British film and TV to remember these wonderfully talented people by. So as the year ends, I'm raising a glass to each and every one of them. Thank you for everything.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Sunday 30 December 2018

Remembering Dame June Whitfield

I had decided today to share a blog looking back at the sadly all too many Carry On faces we have lost in 2018. Unfortunately that post now needs another addition with the news last night that Dame June Whitfield has passed away at the age of 93. 

I was finishing dinner with friends in Glasgow when I did that ridiculously modern thing of checking my phone at the table. A picture of June was what greeted me, along with the terrible news that she was gone. I know June had reached a great age and that it was inevitable as we're all here but once, yet June Whitfield was such a permanent presence in all our lives it really did feel like she would be with us forever. My Gran would have listened to her on the wireless in the 1950s as Eth in Take It From Here. My Mother and Father watched her suburban antics with Terry Scott in Terry and June in the 1970s and 1980s and I discovered her as the cunningly absent-minded Mrs Monsoon in Jennifer Saunders' sensational Absolutely Fabulous in the 1990s. June transcended generations and comedy styles really by continuing to be herself. Styles changed, she didn't and everyone came to love what she did.

Few actors have a career that lasts as long as June's did. On my calculation she worked across eight decades, beginning during the war years and culminating somewhat fittingly with the Absolutely Fabulous feature film in 2016. Radio was important to June throughout her life. From her big break alongside Dick Bentley and Jimmy Edwards on Take It From Here in the 1950s, June became a much in demand actress on the airwaves, working with the likes of Leslie Crowther, Ronnie Barker and Roy Hudd and even becoming Agatha Christie's Miss Marple for several adaptations of those famous tales. 

Of course there were films too but the big screen never dominated June's career. Such was her popularity you'd have thought she was a Carry On regular yet June only appeared in four of the films. She played Leslie Phillips' girlfriend Meg in the second in the series, Carry On Nurse in 1958 and returned many years later as his Queen in the otherwise deeply regrettable Carry On Columbus. In between those two roles there were two wondrous comedy character studies in the early 1970s. June's repressed dictatorial Evelyn Blunt made husband Stanley's (Kenneth Connor) life hell in the package holiday farce Carry On Abroad in 1972. However after an afternoon dancing and drinking champagne with Ray Brooks' Spanish waiter it was a different matter entirely with the Blunts' bed eventually disappearing through the hotel floor! The following year June returned to play the formidable feminist councillor, the gloriously named Augusta Prodworthy, in the beauty contest comedy Carry On Girls. June's character took on the might of Sid James and an even draw was declared! In between those two 1970s Carry Ons there was also the role of Vera Baines in the big screen version of Bless This House, produced by Peter Rogers and starring Sid James, Peter Butterworth, Diana Coupland and June's screen husband, a certain Terry Scott.

June's real home, however, was television. Yes of course there were the familiar years playing the patient, understanding wife to Terry Scott in sitcom land, but Dame June did so much more than that. Their association started in 1968 with the series Scott On …  which also featured the delightful Peter Butterworth and Frank Thornton. Each week the show would tackle a different subject - marriage, work, children - and the same cast would appear. Out of this came their first sitcom effort, Happy Ever After, which ran from 1974 until late 1978. The duo played Terry and June Fletcher and when that series came to an end there was clearly still a demand as the pair returned in 1979 as simply Terry and June. With its instantly memorable theme tune and undemanding situations, Terry and June was a massive ratings winner for the BBC and ran right through until 1987. The BBC didn't renew the show in the growing face of alternative comedy and Terry never really recovered. June however was never typecast and ended up working with many of the so-called alternative comedians that technically could have brought her career to an end.

June had her first brush with television back in 1951 in The Passing Show. Much of her early television work was broadcast live - no easy feat - although it did see her working with the likes of Bob Monkhouse and Arthur Askey. Two colleagues she'd develop solid working relationships with over the years. June worked with Benny Hill, Jimmy Edwards, Stanley Baxter, Frankie Howerd, Harry H Corbett and Tommy Cooper. Some of her most memorable work was opposite Tony Hancock. She famously played the Nurse in the 1961 Hancock episode 'The Blood Donor', and returned to appear in his 1967 series, just a year before his sad demise in Australia. More work came with The Goodies, Mike Yarwood, Reg Varney, Dick Emery and even much later, Julian Clary. This all led Roy Hudd many years later to brand June, albeit affectionately, 'The Comic's Tart' given just how many comedians she had supported over the years!

June was appearing on television right up until 2016. Most recently she had parts in the comedy series Boomers with Alison Steadman, as Granny Wilson in a BBC version of Cider With Rosie and a particularly memorable turn as a Nun in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. This role saw her working with the actress Jessie Wallace and the pair shared some delightful, unusual and quietly heartbreaking scenes. Once again, June showed what a great all round actress she was. 

June also enjoyed a long stage career. She worked in pantomime throughout her life, from her very early days on tour with Wilfrid Pickles right up to the early 1990s alongside more modern stars across regional theatre in the south of England. There were also plays, such as An Ideal Husband and The Rivals at Chichester Theatre and many traditional farces and summer seasons, often collaborating with her most famous small screen partner in crime, Terry Scott. Back in the 1950s June starred in several big budget, big name musicals in the West End including Love From Judy (where she first met a young Barbara Windsor), South Pacific and Ace of Clubs, which brought her into contact with a certain Mr Noel Coward. June told a wonderful story of hosting a party for the cast of that particular show at her parents' house and being absolutely delighted when Noel asked if he could attend. For her amateur thespian mother it was one of the best nights of her life, as Mr Coward played the family piano to entertain the guests.

I had the good fortune to see June twice in my lifetime, although sadly I never met the great lady face to face. The first time was at London's National Theatre when she gave a talk about her career to a packed house as she launched a new photo book on her life. And then last January I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington to hear June and her daughter Suzy in conversation about June's life and her amazing career archive. June had made the wonderful decision to donate her archive to the museum so it could be catalogued and enjoyed by generations to come. That was the measure of the woman. I'm so glad she was around to make that decision and to see what joy it would bring to so many of her fans and well-wishers. I'm also relieved the powers that be pulled their collective fingers out and gave June her well deserved damehood last year. A richly deserved honour and it was so good to see Dame June Whitfield at the Palace. 

June was married to Tim Aitchison from 1955 until his death in 2001. Together they had a daughter, Suzy, who also became an actress. Tim mainly stayed out of the limelight and June confessed he was sometimes baffled by the actor's life and the show business side to her career. He did enjoy socialising with several of her comedy colleagues though, with the likes of Morecambe and Wise and Frankie Howerd regular guests at their home in Wimbledon. 

My only regret is that after that National Theatre show I opted not to join the very long queue of people waiting to meet June and have their books signed. Perhaps I was just tired or feeling impatient but of course now I really wish I had stuck around as meeting June Whitfield would most definitely have been worth the wait. As we left the auditorium at the V&A almost a year ago now, I remember looking towards the stage and seeing June's tiny figure, still beautifully turned out and immaculate, surrounded by her daughter and some officials from the museum. Yes she was a little frail and at 92 you would expect that, but she still had the presence and warmth to captivate an audience that spanned the generations. I think that's how I'd like to remember our June. She was a trailblazer in comedy and she achieved this not by making grand gestures, by hash tagging across social media platforms or demonstrating outside of parliament. She achieved it just by being herself and doing what she knew. 

Last night I watched a couple of journalists discussing June's passing on BBC News. Describing her autobiography 'And June Whitfield' the man seemed to believe it was a rather spiky reference to the fact June was rarely the star and always the support to a male comedian. To assume this was to misjudge the woman June was. She herself maintained she gave her book that title because she was happiest playing second fiddle - after all if the show failed it would be the star who would carry the bad reviews. June enjoyed a long-lasting career which went on and on after many of her male co-stars had retired, fallen out of fashion or left this world. June never fell out of fashion. Each new generation loved what she did and what she brought to comedy shows old and new.

The expression 'end of an era' is often over used but in reality the passing of Dame June Whitfield is exactly that. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Saturday 29 December 2018

Happy 90th Birthday Bernard Cribbins!

Many happy returns to that legend of British comedy, Bernard Cribbins, who rather unbelievably celebrates his 90th birthday today. What a joy it is to see Bernard still going strong after all these years.

To us Carry On fans, Bernard will always be remembered for his starring roles in two early 1960s Carry Ons, Jack and Spying. He returned to Pinewood for Columbus in 1992 but not even Cribbins could help that ship sail!

The Carry Ons are only a minute part of Bernard's career, which dates back to the 1950s. He is a legend in children's television, having been a part of both The Wombles and also a prolific storyteller on one of my favourite shows, Jackanory. He has appeared in countless plays and many superb films including Two Way Stretch, She, the Dr Who film Daleks: Invasion Earth, The Railway Children and Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.

On television, Bernard has appeared in everything from The Avengers and Fawlty Towers to Coronation Street, Last of The Summer Wine and Worzel Gummidge. 

And he even dabbled as a pop star in the 1960s:

You can read my review of Bernard's wonderful autobiography, published last year, right here

Whatever Bernard is up to today, I hope he has a smashing birthday!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

Friday 28 December 2018

Carry On Interviewing: Highlights from 2018

The past year has seen me have the great pleasure of interviewing several really interesting people for the blog. I love interacting with fans, people I connect with via Twitter and of course figures connected with acting and the Carry Ons. I thought I would provide a run down of some of my highlights from 2018 for your festive delectation.

In February I interviewed the author Kaye Crawford about her wonderful biography of the late actress Beryl Reid. Kaye was a delight to be in touch with and I thoroughly recommend you check out her excellent book. You can read all about it right here.

Back in March I had the huge pleasure of spending an hour on the phone with the delightful Patricia Franklin. Patricia appeared in Carry On Camping, Carry On Loving, Carry On Girls, Carry On Behind and Carry On England and was wonderful to talk to. You can read Part 1 of our interview here and Part 2 right here

The very next day I went on to chat with the actor Hugh Futcher about his life, career and Carry On associations. Hugh worked with the very best in the Carry On team in such films as Carry On Spying, Don't Lose Your Head, Again Doctor, Girls and Behind. Part 1 of our chat is here with the follow up here.

In May I had a lovely chat on the phone with Carry On historian Robert Ross. I had interacted with Robert for several years but this was the first time we actually had a proper natter and it was a joy. You can read more on that here.

In July I had the great good fortune to secure an interview with German born Hollywood legend Elke Sommer. Elke was the very glamorous guest star of the 1975 film Carry On Behind and it was a thrill to feature her thoughts on making that film, working with Kenneth Williams and many other aspects of her life and career. You can read our interview here.

Also in July I was in touch with the multi-talented Julian Dutton. A big fan of the Carry Ons, Julian was about to take his one man show on the life of John Le Mesurier to the Edinburgh Festival. We had a fascinating interview which you can read again right here.

July also saw me interview another delightful Julian, the Carry Ons' very own Julian Holloway. Possibly the highlight of my blogging year, Julian was an absolute gentleman and we enjoyed a very pleasant chat indeed. Part 1 of our interview is here and part 2 can be read again here.

In September I interviewed the singer and actor David Kernan. David only made one Carry On appearance, as Nicholas in Carry On Abroad, but he has enjoyed a wonderful career, mainly on the stage, as well as friendships with the likes of Hattie Jacques and Joan Sims. You can read our interview here.

And finally, in a first for Carry On Blogging, earlier this month I featured my first every blog (that's a video blog to you and me). Produced by the lovely people at Rabbit and Snail films, 'Carry On Film Talk' saw contributors Morris Bright, Phil Campbell, Mark Priest and Judy Matheson talk about their favourite Carry Ons with Richard Edwards. It was an absolute pleasure to be in touch with Richard on this project and I hope you all enjoyed it. You can read about it (and of course watch the film) here.

I hope you have enjoyed my blogging interviews this year. Hopefully 2019 will promise some more special treats!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Wednesday 26 December 2018

A Celebration of Cribbins on BBC Radio 4 Extra

The wonderful BBC Radio 4 Extra have been celebrating the joyous Mr Bernard Cribbins this Boxing Day as the great man prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday on 29 December.

At 11am they broadcast some of Bernard's Favourite Stories, taken from some of his very best Jackanory appearances for the BBC. Classics featured include The Wind in the Willows, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Winnie the Pooh. You can listen again here.

Coming up after that is a repeat of a radio drama from 2000 called Looks Like Rain by Jimmie Chin. The play was written especially for Bernard and tells the story of Stan and Joyce, who unearth some strange long buried secrets after the death of their mother. Joyce is played by the late great Dora Bryan, a fellow Oldham original! You can hear it here.

And finally, at 6.30pm is a repeat of a retrospective celebration of Bernard's career from back in 2013. Bernard is featured in conversation with Martin Jenkins and discusses his own personal highlights from his long, diverse and hugely successful career. The programme includes contributions from the likes of Richard Briers, Barbara Windsor, Barry Cryer, David Tennant and Russell T Davies. This programme can be found right here.

All three programmes are available to listen to live on the radio or online and online shortly after broadcast.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Merry Christmas from Carry On Blogging!

Merry Christmas! I have been running a daily Carry On Blogging Christmas Countdown blog for the past month and we've finally made it to the big day itself.

To celebrate, here is the wonderful, much-missed Kenneth Williams as everyone's favourite, rather outlandish Christmas Fairy! Although Kenneth sadly didn't appear in any of the Thames Carry On Christmas specials, he did host a Christmas Carry On clip show alongside Barbara Windsor in 1983. 

This image seems a suitable way to bring my Christmas countdown to an end. I hope you've enjoyed this festive trip down memory lane.

All that remains to be said is I hope you all have a very, very Merry Christmas!

What a Carry On at Christmas! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan

Monday 24 December 2018

Carry On Up The Archive with Jim Dale

As we all know, this year has marked 60 years since the very first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant, was made and released on the unsuspecting British public. The series has become the stuff of legend thanks to some cracking scripts and an amazing team of comedy actors who continue to delight us to this day.

Now, a special BBC Radio programme, Carry On Up The Archive, featuring many rare or previously undiscovered clips, has been produced and is due to air this festive season.

The programme makers have been trawling through archives all over the country and are now preparing to share a great deal of previously unheard material featuring some of our favourite Carry On actors. You may recall earlier this year that a very rare interview with Sid James was discovered and aired again for the first time in over forty years. Indeed, it was the last recorded interview Sid gave before his untimely death in 1976.

The rare audio recordings, either previously unknown or thought lost, featuring the likes of Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor. Jim Dale, who starred in  eleven Carry Ons in the 1960s (and of course Columbus in 1992) presents this great programme looking back at some of our best loved comedy stars as you've never heard them before.

Carry On Up The Archive will be broadcast across the BBC Radio network on 28 December at 6pm. You will be able to listen live/listen again here. The programme was produced by Richard Latto.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

When Carry On Came to Wales

BBC Radio Wales have a very special Christmas treat lined up for Carry On fans this Christmas Eve.

In 1968 the Carry On gang took a rare trip away from Pinewood to film the outside scenes for Carry On Up The Khyber. And in this special programme, Welsh actor Steve Speirs, who played Bernard Bresslaw in the TV film Cor Blimey tells the story of When Carry On Came to Wales.

The Watkin Path in Snowdonia became the Khyber Pass in India for the purposes of the Carry On antics which involved stars like Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw, Roy Castle and Terry Scott descending on North Wales. The film, which pokes fun at British pomposity and excess in the days of Empire, also stars Sid James and Joan Sims.

The cast who came to Wales stayed at the Old Goat in Beddgelert and as part of the programme Carry On actors Angela Douglas and Valerie Leon return to Snowdonia to reminisce about the shoot and to meet those who took part in filming 50 years ago. We hear about locals who appeared as extras, from waiters and others - and Angela is reunited with the man assigned to drive her around at the time. Others remembering the film, one of the most successful in the Carry On cannon, include Robert Ross and Carry On actress Alexandra Dane, who played Busti in Khyber.

The programme is produced by Ashley Byrne and Iain Mackness and is an MIM Production for BBC Radio Wales. 

When Carry On Came to Wales will be broadcast this evening at 6.30pm on BBC Radio Wales. You can listen live online or catch up here afterwards.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Carry On Blogging Festive Advent: Christmas Eve

And so, once again December is upon us. I'll be bringing you a daily dose of festive Carry On cheer each day on the lead up to the 25th. 

So every day I will bring you another cracking Carry On photo with a festive theme. They will probably all be rather naughty, but hopefully all quite nice. 

Who else could I choose for my special Carry On Blogging Festive countdown on Christmas Eve but Mr Bernard Cribbins. Everyone's favourite Jackanory star, this December Bernard turns 90 years young. This suitably cosy, Christmasy snap seems the perfect way to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

What a Carry On at Christmas! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Sunday 23 December 2018

Carry On Blogging Festive Advent: 23 December

And so, once again December is upon us. I'll be bringing you a daily dose of festive Carry On cheer each day on the lead up to the 25th. 

So every day I will bring you another cracking Carry On photo with a festive theme. They will probably all be rather naughty, but hopefully all quite nice. 

Here we have a vintage, pre-Carry On photo of the late great Peter Butterworth. Peter was a beloved star of Christmas pantomimes and this snap comes from December 1953. A promotional shot from Alice in Wonderland at the Kew Theatre. Peter was the Mad Hatter and a young Julia Lockwood was Alice.

What a Carry On at Christmas! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram