Sunday 25 March 2018

Carry On Blogging Interview: Hugh Futcher (Part 2)

On Thursday I had the great pleasure to chat with the actor Hugh Futcher about his long career as an actor on stage and screen. Hugh is well known to Carry On fans for his appearances in seven Carry Ons. Following his debut in Carry On Spying on a bed of nails, Hugh went on to appear in Don't Lose Your Head, Again Doctor, At Your Convenience, Abroad, Girls and finally Carry On Behind in 1975. Hugh also popped up in the film Bless This House in 1972.

On Friday I published the first part of our interview and you can read that here

In Carry On At Your Convenience, you joined the cast for a trip to Brighton. What was that like?

We went down to Brighton for a full week and to be honest it wasn't easy! We stayed in the Albion Hotel and I felt Kenneth Williams in particular was not very happy. Every evening after supper we'd gather in the lounge for drinks and people would all tell stories and jokes. Eventually someone said it was my turn so I told probably the only joke I knew and people laughed. Kenneth got up, came over to me and pinched my cheek rather venomously and said "will you please remember that I'm the funny one" and with that he was off to bed. The other thing I remember is that Dora Bryan would pop in to see us every day as she had a hotel nearby at that time. 

You worked with Geoffrey Hughes on that film. What do you remember about him?

I remember that he still owes me petrol money for all the lifts I gave him to and from the studios when we made Convenience! I don't think I'm going to get it back now. He did very well for himself and I still see him on television in repeats of Heartbeat. Every time he comes on the screen I get told off for moaning that he stlll owes me that money!

What are your memories of filming the scene in the jail in Carry On Abroad?

I don't remember that much about it but I know I was with that very good actor Alan Curtis. I think he's still around but not in the best of health now. A few years ago I was at a signing with Barbara Windsor and Alan was there, looking quite poorly. He was quite a suave character back then.

In Carry On Behind I think you had a few days working with Peter Butterworth, one of my favourites. What was he like?

Oh he was such a nice man. A very good actor who got on with everyone, didn't take sides. He just came in and got the job done. Bernard Bresslaw was like that too, he was a very quiet, sincere, serious actor and totally professional. Sid was too and Jim Dale was always very down to earth and pleasant to be with. Kenneth Williams and Joan Sims were always sat together and enjoyed a bit of a gossip more than the rest of them. 

You've recently had roles in The Crown on television and as Quince in a new film of A Midsummer Night's Dream. How do you think the industry has changed since you first started out as an actor?

I have to say that film is probably the most positive thing I've done in the last few years. I've heard they've got a rough cut of it all now and it looks beautiful and I've been told I'll be delighted with my part as Quince. Sadly I don't think the acting profession is as professional as it once was. When I was training we had classes every week from an actor called Peter Barkworth, who taught us theatre etiquette and it was so valuable. I don't think it's given as much importance today as it should. 

Finally, why do you think the Carry On films are still so popular after all this time?

I think we all still like what they call rib-tickling humour! They are still fun for people to watch. I also think they feature a lot of actors that people feel they actually know. They have that special quality. I remember being at that signing with Barbara and people came up to her as if they already knew her. I think that has a lot to do with it. 

I'd like to thank Hugh for agreeing to the interview. And also many thanks to Sarah at Beresford Management and to the lovely Andrew Lynford for helping to set it all up!

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