Thursday 19 April 2018

My Top 20 Favourite Carry On Actors: Number 13 - Margaret Nolan

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 Thirteen: a vivacious actress who came to typify the classic Carry On Girl Margaret Nolan.

I adore Margaret Nolan in the Carry Ons. She was never part of the main team but whenever she appeared in one of the films she was eye-catching and memorable. A fine actress in her own right with an impressive screen and stage career, Margaret played to a familiar, rather cliched type in the majority of her Carry On appearances. This is in no part due to Maggie, but really just what the Carry On top team were after. Cliched parts and overtly glamorous perhaps, but still wonderful to watch which is of course down to Maggie's talents.

Margaret Nolan first appeared in the Carry On series way back in 1965 when she played the small role of Miss Jones in Carry On Cowboy. It would be another five years before Maggie would rejoin the team but her scene as the buxom farmer's daughter in Carry On Henry was deliciously played and she displayed wonderful chemistry with leading man Sid James. Less than a year later Margaret was recalled to Pinewood to play the featured role of Popsy in the classic Carry On At Your Convenience. Appearing half way through the film for the scenes in Brighton, Maggie camps about Brighton Pier with the likes of Jacki Piper and Kenneth Cope and makes a delightful love interest for Bernard Bresslaw's rather dim-witted Bernie Hulke.

Later in 1971, Margaret filmed a one scene cameo with Terry Scott in Carry On Matron. One of the oldest gags in the world, her scene as the pregnant Mrs Tucker opposite Terry's Dr Prodd is one of the funniest set ups in the entire film. 1973 saw Margaret's largest and most popular Carry On role as beauty queen Dawn Brakes in Carry On Girls. Resplendent in a silver bikini she endures a memorable cat fight with Barbara Windsor, shares saucy dialogue with Robin Askwith on a chilly Brighton beach and catches the eye of Sid, Bernie and Peter Butterworth. Classic stuff.

Maggie Nolan's final role in the series came the following year, again paired with Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Dick. In a rather subdued, prim role as Lady Daley Margaret bade farewell to the Carry Ons. After a long time living abroad, Margaret is back in the UK and has made several appearances at fan conventions and on television documentaries. As an actress, Maggie has always fascinated this Carry On fan and I love her performances so it's very fitting she makes it into my list of favourite Carry On actors. 

So Margaret Nolan comes in at Number 13 in my top twenty list of favourite actors. Who'll be next? 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram


  1. Great post. Loving this countdown, the fascinating facts and the cheesecake pictures are superb. Maggie seemed to portray her characters with a knowing intelligence, like she was rightly too smart for the dumb guys trying to woo her.