Saturday 24 March 2018

Carry On Originals: Dora Bryan

This is part of a new series of blogs looking back at the stars of the original Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant. 2018 marks 60 years since Sergeant was made and released so what better time to turn the focus on all those brilliant actors who brought our favourite series of comedy films to life? As today marks 60 years to the day since Sergeant started filming, I thought I'd focus on one of my favourite actors from that very first film: Dora Bryan

Role in Carry On Sergeant: Norah

Other Carry On roles: Sadly not. Rumour has it Dora asked for more money for the next film and the part went to newcomer Joan Sims. While I'd have loved to see Dora in more Carry Ons, the arrival of Miss Sims was a turning point in the success of the series as far as I'm concerned.

Other notable film performances: In films from the 1940s, Dora played cameos in lots of post-war films, usually as good time girls or "tarts with hearts of gold". She had an eye-catching turn in the 1950 film The Blue Lamp, playing Maisie. She also played Tilly in the 1952 film Mother Riley Meets the Vampire; Gladys in You Know What Sailors Are (1954); Gay in Desert Mice (1959); Amber Spottiswood in The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966) and Cora Crumpington in Up The Front (1972).

Best remembered for: Without a doubt Dora's best remembered film performance was that Helen in Shelagh Delaney's groundbreaking work, A Taste of Honey, in 1961. Dora's best known stage work was in the musical Hello, Dolly! between 1966 and 1968.

Did you know?: Dora owned a hotel called Clarges on Brighton seafront for many years. Bryan was reunited with many of her friends from the team when they visited Brighton in 1971 to film scenes for Carry On At Your Convenience. The hotel was also seen in Convenience and two years later, in Carry On Girls too.

What happened to her?: Dora continued to appear on stage and television well into old age, finally retiring in 2006. Dora Bryan passed away at the grand old age of 91 in July 2014. 

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