Monday 26 February 2018

My Top 20 Carry On Actors: Number 20 - Peter Gilmore

This is part of a brand new series of blogs where I will take a purely personal look at my favourite Carry On actors. I will be doing a countdown of my top twenty actors and actresses in this, the sixtieth anniversary year of Carry On. So why top twenty? Well top ten didn't allow me to include all my favourites and any more than twenty and I'd be at it forever, as it were.

This top twenty will be a mix of regular top team actors and many of those instantly recognisable supporting actors who popped in and out of the series, adding superb cameos here and there. You will probably agree with some of my main choices and be vehemently opposed to others, but it's meant to encourage debate! 

So here we go with Number Twenty: that lovely character actor Peter Gilmore.

Peter Gilmore is one of those super-reliable, comfortingly familiar actors who appeared in many Carry Ons. In fact, although his parts were often small, Peter appeared in more Carry Ons than series regular Barbara Windsor and the same number of films (eleven) as leading man Jim Dale. Peter was never a star of the series but was loyal to the films throughout the 1960s. Never really appearing in anything more than a handful of scenes in each film, many of his appearances are still very memorable.

Peter made his first appearance in the series in Carry On Cabby in 1963 and featured in nine more up until Carry On Henry in 1970. He then returned for one final Carry On in the 1992 offering, Carry On Columbus. During his original run of films, Peter played everything from a gun-toting gangster (Cabby) and a pirate (Jack) to hospital doctor (Again Doctor) and a French king (Henry). Such was his versatility. From historical epics in period costume to present day fun and frolics, Gilmore, like many of his contemporaries was game for the challenge.

His biggest Carry On role was probably as ambulance driver Henry alongside Harry Locke in the 1967 film Carry On Doctor, popping up throughout the film. My own favourite Peter Gilmore roles are Private Ginger Hale, in a priceless scene with Charles Hawtrey in Up The Khyber and the aforementioned Francis, King of France in Carry On Henry. In Henry he camps it up beautifully with Sid James and runs off with the delectable Barbara Windsor! Not bad!

The Carry Ons wouldn't have been what they were and what they are without reliable actors like Peter Gilmore and they deserve to be celebrated to this day. 

So Peter Gilmore brings up the rear in my top twenty list of favourite actors. Who'll be next?

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