Saturday 30 June 2018

Celebrating 60 Years of Carry On with Art and Hue!

This year is a special anniversary for fans of classic film & British comedy as it’s 60 years since the first classic Carry On production, “Carry On Sergeant”, was released in 1958.
The Carry On films have their own distinct style that is totally unique, beloved by many, and an important part of Britain’s comedy, film, and cultural heritage, and 2018 marks 60 years since the first Carry On film.
"Carry On Sergeant" laid the groundwork for the most prolific British film series (yes, more than James Bond). Without this successful first film, there simply wouldn’t have been all the films that followed in its path.

British film company Anglo Amalgamated distributed the first 12 Carry On films starting with "Carry On Sergeant" in 1958 and ending with the much-loved Hammer Horror parody "Carry On Screaming" in 1966.

Carry On Sergeant was screened to the trade and cinema-bookers on the 1st of August 1958 after which some some regional screenings were held from the 1st of September including Aberdeen & Birmingham. It wasn't until the 19th of September 1958 that it received its London cinema release at the Plaza, and then the film rolled out nationwide on general release from the 20th of September onwards.
To celebrate the British comedies, Art & Hue has created a stylish pop art collection featuring the classic films and their stars. 

Along with the classic film posters, Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, and Barbara Windsor (Dame Babs) have all been transformed into pop art icons by Art & Hue, in a choice of three sizes and 16 colours.

Prices range from £15 to £39 and are exclusively available online at

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Friday 29 June 2018

Meet Carry On Stars at the London Film Fair!

Now into its 45th Year, this event is the continuation of a legacy that started back in the early seventies, and over the years have seen different names and organizers but its roots orginate from the original Collector’s Film Convention’s that were organized by Ed Mason.  Now under new management, the future of the event is secured. 

The event’s are held at London’s Central Hall Westminster, with up to 6 events a year.
The conventions presents dealers from all over the UK, Europe, US, Canada, Australia and South America that specializes in vintage and modern film memorabilia.  Items cover the history of cinema from the silents to the present day blockbusters.

The London Film Fair will appeal to avid film buffs, collectors, archivists researchers and students. A must for anyone with an interest in cinema and cult television! 

The next Fair takes place on 30 June and this time fans can get the chance to meet three brilliant Carry On actresses! First up is the lovely Patricia Franklin! Patricia appeared in five Carry On films and the big screen version of Bless This House. Patricia's debut in the series was playing the pregnant daughter of Derek Francis in Carry On Camping in 1968. Two years later she played the cameo role of Mrs Dreery opposite Bill Maynard and Kenneth Williams in Carry On Loving. In 1973 Patricia played Augusta Prodworthy's assistant Rosemary in Carry On Girls and then in 1975 she appeared in Carry On Behind as Vera, wife to Ernie (Jack Douglas) and best friend to Sylvia (Liz Fraser). Patricia made her last Carry On appearance the following year in the small role of the canteen cook in Carry On England.

Patricia has enjoyed a fantastic acting career away from the Carry Ons with many wonderful stage roles over the years. You can read more about this in my recent interview with the lady herself here - Part 1 and Part 2Patricia is a lovely lady to talk to so if you get the chance, do go along and meet her on the day.

Also attending on 30 June is the superb actress Rosalind Knight. Rosalind continues to enjoy a fantastic career on stage and screen but is probably best known for her role as Beryl in the rather naughty hit BBC comedy series Gimme Gimme Gimme, which starred Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus. Early on in her acting career Rosalind appeared in two Carry Ons. Following a brief but memorable cameo as Nurse Nightingale in Carry On Nurse, Rosalind was promoted to a starring role as strict school inspector Felicity Wheeler in 1959's Carry On Teacher. 

And finally, Carry On Nurse actress Ann Firbank will be joining Patricia and Rosalind at the Film Fair. Ann played Staff Nurse Helen Lloyd in the film and most of her scenes saw her working with the likes of Susan Beaumont, Charles Hawtrey and Shirley Eaton. Sadly this was Ann's only Carry On appearance however she has gone on to enjoy a rich and varied career across all mediums which continues to this day.

The next London Film Fair will take place on Saturday 30 June at the Central Hall Westminster. Further details can be found on the Film Fair Website

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection out on DVD soon!

Network Distributing are pleased to announce the upcoming release of The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection.

Now available to pre-order! The Goodies are coming for you, and you and you…

Finally! The last, great unreleased box set is about to see the light of day. Longer in the making than a Led Zeppelin retrospective, a Beatles collection or a moon landing, The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection is being readied for release for the first time ever anywhere in the world.

In 1970, The Goodies unleashed their legendary blend of surreal storylines, strikingly topical satire, slapstick and general lunacy on an unsuspecting viewing public. Capturing the irreverent and rebellious flavour of the decade, this phenomenally popular, award-winning series spread its mischief over twelve years - making household names of creators, writers and performers Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor.

And for Carry On fans there is plenty to enjoy. There are guest starring roles for some of the series' best loved actors, from Joan Sims and June Whitfield to Bernard Bresslaw and Liz Fraser.

From a giant white fluffy kitten called Twinkle to a slippery climb up a giant beanstalk, from the ancient Lancastrian art of 'Ecky Thump to fighting a ban on fun instigated by an all-too-real puppet government, this is television comedy at its undeniable best!

Now, for the first time ever, Network Distributing are bundling all 69 episodes and specials the terrific trio made during their ten year run at the BBC into one gargantuan box set – for many episodes this will be their DVD debut!

This eagerly anticipated box set will include An Audience with The Goodies. Recorded in June 2018 this one-night-only event saw Tim, Graeme and Bill reunited on stage to discuss their career, the enduring popularity of the series and welcome questions from their most devoted fans.

The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection is now available to pre-order and will be released on 24th September.

For further information visit:

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Thursday 28 June 2018

Liz Fraser: Confessions of a Carry On Girl

In this, the 60th year of Carry On, one of the series best loved actresses, the fantastic Liz Fraser will be in conversation with comedy historian Robert Ross on Monday 16th July at the Museum of Comedy.

Liz is a British acting legend with a career spanning seven decades and the very best of theatre, film and telly. She has worked with them all, from Sid James and Kenneth Williams to Tony Hancock, Jimmy Edwards, Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim. We celebrate Liz regularly on this blog as a cherished part of early Carry On successes. She added real screen presence to three early Carry Ons - Regardless, Cruising and Cabby before returning for a role in Carry On Behind in 1975. 

Some of my own favourites of Liz's performances over the years have included stand out roles in the Miss Marple drama Nemesis, hilariously flirting with Martin Shaw's Ray Doyle in The Professionals and my favourite of all her films - opposite Sid James and Ian Carmichael in the classic and underestimated comedy Double Bunk. 

A lifelong friend to the late, great Joan Sims, Liz is always good value, speaks her mind and doesn't suffer fools! I can't wait to hear what she's got to say about her life, her illustrious career and her wonderful co-stars and friends.

Liz Fraser: Confessions of Carry On Girl will take place on Monday 16th July at the Museum of Comedy in London. It kicks off at 7pm and runs for 75 minutes. You can buy tickets here


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Bernie Carries On … As Sockett!

Over the past year I have written a series of blogs covering each of the roles of some of our favourite Carry On stars. I began my looking back at each film role played by the three leading ladies in the series - Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor - and most recently I've written about all of Kenneth Connor's Carry On performances in the run up to the great man's centenary. 

Today I am beginning a new strand of this series by turning the spotlight on that gentle giant of British comedy, the late Bernard Bresslaw. Probably one of the most under-rated actors in the main team, Bernard was a part of the series for ten years and fourteen films, tackling a superb range of crumbling villains and delightfully dimwitted foils to the likes of Sid James and Kenneth Cope. Bernard enjoyed a long career away from the Carry Ons and spent much of his later life wowing audiences in legitimate theatre. However he will forever to remembered for his clutch of hilarious Carry On supporting turns. 

Bernard joined the Carry On team in the mid 1960s and along with Peter Butterworth was the last main team member to join the gang. Along with Butterworth, Bernard played a series of smaller, supporting roles to begin with before graduating to major roles towards the end of the decade. Bernard fitted in effortlessly with the rest of the team and he's the kind of actor who is working hard but making it look oh so easy. A quiet, erudite, thoughtful family man away from the film studios, I often think Bresslaw has never received the credit he's due as like Connor and Butterworth, he didn't ever seek the limelight or splash his life over the front pages.

So today, we'll continue this new series looking at Bernard's role as Sockett in his second Carry On, the classic iconic Carry On Screaming! in 1966.

Carry On Screaming marked a new high for the series when it was released way back in 1966. Spoofing the similarly low budget Hammer Horror films, Screaming takes a deliciously tongue in cheek look at schlocky horror movies. The film centres on the disappearance of various young women, kidnapped by a bizarre monster developed by the dastardly double act of Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding. The pair are vitrifying the young ladies and turning them into mannequins for the local dress shop. It could only happen in a Carry On.

Screaming provides Harry H Corbett with his only role in a Carry On film, in the starring role of Sidney Bung (taking the place of the absent Sid James). The film also stars a clutch of on form regular players, from Peter Butterworth and Charles Hawtrey to Joan Sims and a certain Mr Bernard Bresslaw. Fresh from his debut in Cowboy the year before, Bernard was back at Pinewood less than six months later for another supporting role as Sockett the butler Screaming. Although very much seen as part of the main team these days, it's worth noting that Bernard, along with Butterworth is not billed in a starring role…yet.

As with Fenella Fielding, Bernard is very much cast in an Addams Family role in this film. His incredible height is used to maximum effect on his first appearance. As butler to Kenneth's Dr Watt and his sister Valeria (Fielding) Bresslaw gets an amazing entrance. As Corbett, Butterworth and Jim Dale call on the Watt siblings following the disappearance of Doris Mann (Angela Douglas) huge, plodding, sinister footsteps lead to a shot of the towering presence of Sockett. The character may be monosyllabic but it still manages to be both a memorable and hilarious performance.

Although seemingly "from the dead" Sockett quickly shows his human side when greeted by his mistress, Valeria. In a hilarious scene, Valeria and Sockett embrace which results in Sockett's slippers stiffening at the toes! Given the heavy, laboured footsteps the character takes, it's doubly funny to realise he's got slippers on to contrast all that black butler's garb. Bernard appears again as the driver of the Watts' car and also their horse drawn cart and each time he brings with him a deliciously unmoving, dead eyed performance which suits the film perfectly.

As with Cowboy, sadly Bernard isn't given that much more to do than supporting the main players and in Screaming, it's Fenella, Harry H and Kenneth Williams who rightly dominate. I think it's fair to say that while Screaming is undoubtedly one of the very best Carry Ons ever made, even a favourite with many who aren't overly enamoured with the rest of the series' output, it doesn't provide Bernard with his finest Carry On material. Fortunately, the next film in the series gave Bresslaw a lot more to play with.

So that's my take on Bernard's role in Carry On Screaming. Coming up next, Bernard's part as Abdul in Follow That Camel! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Remembering Joan

I admit I had forgotten this rather sad anniversary this morning until I saw a lovely tweet from the brilliant Art and Hue. My comedy heroine Joan Sims passed away seventeen years ago this very day. Where did those years ago? I can't quite believe it.

I still remember sitting in my car on 27 June 2001 when Nicky Campbell announced that Joan had passed away. She had been a guest on his BBC Radio 5 Live show not that long before to promote her autobiography, High Spirits. I'll always remember Nicky seemed particularly sad at the news and quite obviously had loved meeting and talking to Joan. 

At the time we did not know that Joan's health had been in decline for quite a while following a hospital visit months before. After a few years in the 1990s which saw a series of mishaps and disappointments prevent Joan from reaching her full potential as a serious character actress, Joan returned to the limelight in a big way, starring in the BBC feature length drama The Last of the Blonde Bombshells with Judi Dench, Ian Holm and June Whitfield and releasing her life story, High Spirits. This was the talented, effervescent Joan we'd all known, admired and loved for decades. 

Sadly though, this was cut short and she left us at the relatively young age of just 71. Thankfully Joan has a wonderful body of work for us to enjoy and remember her by. Those twenty four delightful Carry On appearances spanning naive student nurses and buxom gym mistresses to gun toting saloon owners and giggly French mademoiselles. Joan stayed with the series for twenty years and demonstrated a range and depth of performance rarely seen in the Carry Ons. She always gave it her all. 

Joan Sims worked for years in rep theatre around the country, learning her craft. She graduated to West End revues when they were at their peak and finally legitimate London theatre. There were countless film roles with the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Donald Sinden. For a lengthy time, you couldn't imagine a Pinewood-based British comedy film being made without Joan Sims. A gifted radio actress, Joan worked consistently on the airwaves from the early 1950s until 2000. And on television, there were stunning turns in everything from Till Death Do Us Part and Sykes to As Time Goes By, Miss Marple and On The Up. 

Dennis Waterman once said Joan was wracked with nerves before every recording of On The Up, only to go on and steal every scene. The nerves were real but so was the natural talent. Joan wasn't an actress who loved the limelight, she just loved her craft and the camaraderie of being with a troupe of fellow actors. And so many of those actors have been loyal to her memory. The likes of Liz Fraser, Leslie Phillips, Judi Dench and the late Dilys Laye and Norah Holland, have all spoken so fondly and with such affection about our much missed Joan.

So while it's so sad we mark so many years without her, I think it's best not to dwell. Instead, let's be thankful for all those delicious, delightful Joan Sims performances, whether they be on film, on television or on radio. So why not pick one of your favourites, pop it on and enjoy some classic Joan? That's the best way to remember her, I think.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram 

What A Carry On in Midsomer

Lovely news for Carry On fans today and if you're a fan of the long running ITV murder mystery series, Midsomer Murders, you'll be even happier. Two fantastic Carry On actresses will be making appearances in the next series of feature length Midsomer dramas.

First up is the enchanting Anita Harris who will play the character of Irene Taylor in the first episode of the new series. Entitled "The Ghost of Causton Abbey" Anita will co-star alongside familiar television faces such as Angela Griffin, Michael Byrne and Jason Merrells.  The story focusses on a local brewery when someone is found boiled to death in one of the vats! Charming! A far cry from Anita's role as Nurse Clarke in Carry On Doctor! Anita has been on screens quite a bit lately, first of all in the reality documentary, Last Laugh in Vegas, and soon in Celebrity Masterchef for the BBC.

Appearing in episode five of the series, "Till Death Do Us Part", is the fabulous Liz Fraser. Liz will play Marcia Jackson in the episode which tells the story of a murderer with a penchant for local brides! I just hope Liz isn't going up the aisle! This marks a return to acting for the lovely Liz, who last appeared on screen back in 2007 in episodes of Holby City and Foyle's War. I'm very excited to see Liz back where she belongs and hope it sparks more acting gigs. 

And don't forget, Liz will be in conversation with Robert Ross at the Museum of Comedy on 16 July. More here

There is no confirmation from ITV on when this, the twentieth series of Midsomer Murders, will be screened, but keep an eye out for dates!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram 

Monday 25 June 2018

My Top 20 Favourite Carry On Actors: Number 7 - Kenneth Connor

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 we are now half way through my countdown of my all-time favourite Carry On actors. The first half of the list featured mainly supporting actors who popped in and out several times throughout the films, from the likes of Joan Hickson and Cyril Chamberlain to Margaret Nolan and Peter Gilmore. Now obviously the Top Ten is going to focus on the main team members as there aren't any I can conceivably leave out.

So here we go with Number Seven: a superb comedy character actor who spanned the entire run of the series and went from bumbling romantic lead to crumbling old age -  Kenneth Connor.

I've spent a lot of time lately writing about Kenneth Connor's work on the Carry On films. I've profiled each of his seventeen roles in the films between Sergeant in 1958 and Emmannuelle twenty years later, in this Connor's centenary year. Kenneth, along with Peter Butterworth and Bernard Bresslaw, is one of the under-rated faces of Carry On. He started out as the unexpected romantic lead in the early black and white films and for me, these are his best performances. His Horace Strong in Carry On Sergeant is a comedic tour de force and his double act with Dora Bryan just sublime. Other roles as Bernie Bishop in Nurse, Gregory Adams in Teacher and Constable Constable in Carry On Constable all followed the same familiar territory but in each role, Kenneth delivered the goods and brought something special and unique to the part.

Many would say Connor's finest hour in the series was his Hengist Pod, inventor of the square wheel and husband to Senna, in Carry On Cleo. Yes, this is an excellent showcase for Kenneth's gift for comedy, but for me his role as the bewildered, shy Dr Arthur Binn in Carry On Cruising is just the best. With less of a regular cast aboard the Happy Wanderer, Kenneth gets more screen time and his interactions with the likes of Kenneth Williams and Liz Fraser are wonderful. He also has delicious chemistry with Dilys Laye. Another highpoint in Kenneth's Carry On career came the year before, with his role as Sam Twist in Carry On Regardless. His delightful 39 Steps pastiche, complete with a belting cameo from Betty Marsden, steals the film.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Kenneth opted out of many of the mid 1960s Carry Ons, preferring to concentrate on his stage career. I completely understand this decision however it leaves us fans wondering what might have been had he featured in some of the most on form films in the entire series - Screaming for example, or Doctor and Up The Khyber. Even a practically perfect film like Camping could have been improved with even the briefest appearance from Kenneth Connor. 

Kenneth did of course come back to the fold from 1969's Carry On Up The Jungle onwards and from the get go it was as if he'd never been away. Yes he's a tad older but if anything Kenneth's maturity just adds to his range. The 1970s saw Kenneth take on a wide range of stunning supporting roles depicting crumbling little men, puffed out figures of authority and belittled civic dignitaries. Perhaps the best examples of these later roles are the frustrated, middle aged Stanley Blunt in Carry On Abroad and the role which immediately followed, as Mayor Frederick Bumble in Carry On Girls. Blessed with a dreary, put upon wife in Mildred (Patsy Rowlands) Kenneth delivers the arguably the best performance in the latter half of his Carry On career.

I really wanted to place Kenneth higher up on this list but I just couldn't when faced with the names that are still to come. 

So Kenneth Connor comes in at Number Seven in my list of Top 20 Favourite Carry On actors. Who'll be next?

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram 

Carrying On with Norman - The Early Bird

This is part of a brand new series of blogs looking back at some of my favourite Norman Wisdom films. Although never as fruity or innuendo-laden as the Carry Ons, Sir Norman's films share a similiar feel to many of the early Carry Ons. Indeed they quite often shared the same production base - Pinewood Studios - and Wisdom's films often co-starred some very familiar Carry On faces. 

Norman Wisdom was one of the most bankable British film stars in the 1950s and early 1960s. His stardom lasted long after his peak at the box office too. He appealed to a cross section of society and young and old loved him in equal measure. His cheeky, child-like charm, excellent comic timing and sheer energy catapulted him to fame and he's very clearly one of our most talented comedy stars full stop. 

I've already blogged about the films Trouble in Store from 1953Just My Luck from 1957Follow A Star from 1959 and On The Beat from 1962. My most recent blog focussed on A Stitch in Time. We're continuing this series of blogs with a look at another one of Norman's 1960s film hits - The Early Bird from 1965

What's it about?

Wisdom's character works for Grimsdale's Dairy as a milkman, in competition with Consolidated Dairies, an ever-growing rival company under the management of Walter Hunter.
Much of the humour centres on classic slapstick comedy, with Norman encountering various comedic escapades. These include being dragged around Mr Hunter's garden by an errant lawnmower and using the fire brigade's high pressure hosepipes to blast firemen off their ladders, after being called to a suspected fire at Consolidated Dairies' HQ.

Who's in it?

Norman is joined by his regular co-stars Jerry Desmonde (playing Hunter) and Edward Chapman in the role of Mr Grimsdale. The film also co-stars John Le Mesurier, Bryan Pringle and Paddie O'Neill.

Carry On faces?

Norman's regular co-star Jerry Desmonde played the cameo role of Martin Paul in Carry On Regardless. Carry On Screaming supporting actor Frank Thornton turns up playing a drunken doctor while Carry On Doctor cameo star Dandy Nichols appears in the brief role as a woman flooded out of her house by milk!

Reliable character actor Harry Locke (who appeared in the first three medical Carry Ons) pops up as a Commissionaire while future Carry On Loving star Imogen Hassall takes on an early film role as Sir Roger's Secretary. Three other Carry On faces appear in small, uncredited roles: Fred Griffiths as a man in a lift, David Lodge as an angry husband and finally, Tony Sagar as a fireman.

Did you know? 

The Early Bird was the first Wisdom comedy to be shot in colour. 

The film was in the top 15 most popular films at the British Box Office in 1966. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Sunday 24 June 2018

Happy Birthday Julian Holloway!


Many happy returns to that wonderful British actor Julian Holloway who celebrates his birthday today. Julian, who has lived in California for the last twenty years, appeared in eight classic Carry On films during a long career in television, film and on stage.

Julian made his first appearance in the Carry Ons as a cheeky ticket inspector opposite Angela Douglas in Follow That Camel in 1967. He went on to appear in Carry On Doctor later that year, following that up with larger roles as Major Shorthouse in Up The Khyber (taking part in the legendary dinner party sequence) and as Jim Tanner in Camping - witnessing Barbara Windsor's infamous bikini popping moment. Later roles in the series included Adrian in Carry On Loving, Sir Thomas in Carry On Henry and an uncredited cameo as Roger in At Your Convenience. Following a gap of five years, during which he guest starred in the 1973 Carry On Christmas television special, Julian returned to Pinewood to play Major Butcher in 1976's Carry On England. 


There was a definite feel that the producers were lining Julian up to take over where Jim Dale left off. He obviously stepped in to cover some of Jim's material while he was absent from the series in 1968 but I don't know what happened after that as big roles in the films didn't really materialise for Julian. I think that's a shame as he had a wonderful cheeky chappie persona which suited the Carry Ons perfectly. 

Away from the Carry Ons, Julian has enjoyed a long and successful career. On film he appeared in the Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night, Ryan's Daughter, Scream and Scream Again, Young Winston and the big screen version of Porridge. On television, Julian has appeared in everything from The World of Wooster and Crown Court to The Sweeney, The Professionals and Minder. One of my favourite of all his performances was as the drunken Jack Favell in the BBC's 1979 adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's classic novel Rebecca, which starred Anna Massey, Joanna David and Jeremy Brett. These days Julian works in America and is a prolific vocal artist both in films and commercials.  

Julian is the son of the late, great Stanley Holloway who starred in many classic British films including The Lavender Hill Mob, Passport to Pimlico and The Titfield Thunderbolt and Julian's daughter is the model turned television cook Sophie Dahl. 

We most recently saw Julian take part in the ITV Carry On Forever documentary where he shared memories of his time working on such treasured classics as Carry On Up The Khyber and Carry On Camping. It's a shame we don't see more of him on our screens these days. 


Whatever Julian is up to today, I hope he has a fantastic birthday! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram