Monday 9 April 2018

My Top 20 Favourite Carry On Actors: Number 14 - Barbara Windsor

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 Fourteen: An East End blonde bombshell who became a national treasure - Dame Barbara Windsor.

This might be a little controversial putting Barbara outside my top ten but, while I admire her grit and determination and her longevity in the acting profession, she's never been one of my very favourite Carry On actors. For a start, I think she was, sometimes unfairly, limited to a particular type of role in the films, that of the glamorous bubbly blonde. Meanwhile other main actresses like Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques were allowed to create roles with more depth and character. 

Compared to many of the main team, Barbara only appears in a fraction of the series too even though she has arguably become the most iconic figure from the films. For me her first role, as Daphne Honeybutt in Carry On Spying was her very best as it showed off her comedic talents and allowed her to portray an intelligent, sweet and well formed character. Barbara's biggest Carry On roles were in some of the later films, particularly Carry On Girls and Dick, and I'm not really a fan of either of those pictures.

Babs was still responsible for some pretty iconic moments though - the infamous bra pinging in Carry On Camping, the three strategically placed hearts in Again Doctor and of course, the wonderful "what a lovely looking pear" gag with Peter Gilmore in Doctor. She's an irrepressible force of nature who fought hard to move on from the fluffy Carry On image and prove to the British public what a good straight actress she could be. I'll always admire her and there was no way I could leave her off this list of my favourite Carry On performers.


So Barbara Windsor comes in at Number 14 in my top twenty list of favourite actors. Who'll be next?

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