Friday 31 August 2018

My Carry On Blogging Highlights So Far


It's not normally very British to blow your own trumpet (Matron!) however I wanted to do a little blog post as a round up of Carry On Blogging highlights so far. It's been quite a journey since I started blogging back in 2015 and I've loved every minute of it!

I'm thrilled that the blog has now received nearly 1 million page visits since I set it up in March 2015! March this year was the most visited month so far with over 70,000 views!

The blog Twitter account now has over 16,000 followers. Thank you to everyone who tweets, follows, likes and comments - it's always great to hear from you!


I have published a series of blogs covering each of Joan Sims' 24 Carry On performances, giving my own opinions on the roles she played.

I have carried on this theme by publishing a series of blogs covering each of Hattie Jacques' 14 Carry On performances and all 9 of Barbara Windsor's roles.

I have started a project of blogs running through some of the lesser known Carry On supporting actors in an A - Z feature.

I have cast the net out far and wide for a range of guest blog posts to bring in different opinions on the Carry On films.

I got a sneak preview of Sarah Miller Walters' new book Joyce To The World

I visited the London Film Convention back in Spring 2016 where I had the great pleasure of meeting Carry On actors Jacki Piper and Fenella Fielding. You can read about that here 


One of the biggest developments has been the start of my Carry On Blogging interview series. So far I have interviewed several Carry On actors, authors and interesting folks connected to the series and British comedy:

I interviewed the lovely Angela Douglas - you can read that here 

I caught up with the delightful Valerie Leon to discuss her new Forever Carrying On show - you can read that here 

I interviewed the wonderful Jacki Piper - you can read that here 

Carry On writer and historian Robert Ross answered my questions and celebrated twenty years since the publication of The Carry On Companion here 

I learned more about Steve Lilly's wonderful British comedy art work when I interviewed him - read that here


I asked the brilliant Simon Sheridan all about his book Keeping The British End Up and the saucier side of British film comedy here

I found out more about the fantastic Sid's Place blog in an interview with Stuart Ball - you can read that here

I interviewed screen legend Fenella Fielding about her new audio book of memoirs - you can catch up with that here  

I published an interview with Odysseas from the superb Art and Hue, celebrating the best of British film and television in Pop Art! You can read that here

I interviewed the lovely Louise who runs the fantastic Joan Hickson tribute Twitter account and you can read that here

I interviewed the brilliant Craig Deeley and you can read that here


I caught up with the fabulous Judy Matheson for a chat about Hammer Horror, Robin Askwith and all things Carry On and you can read that here

I interviewed Stuart Morriss from the terrific Misty Moon Film Society and you can catch up with that one here

You can read my blog interview with Peter Reed, Senior Producer at the BBC Radio station 4 Extra by clicking here

I had the great pleasure of visiting Elstree Studios to meet and interview Morris Bright and I even got to sit at Sid's piano! You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by following these links. 


I blogged an interview with the lovely Ben Peyton, which you can read here 

And I've also published a blog interview with the legendary actress Francoise Pascal  

In September 2016 I enjoyed a wonderful chat with the lovely Madeline Smith and you can read the blog interview of that encounter here

I interviewed the brilliant film director and Carry On fan Jason Figgis and you can read that here


I interviewed Carry On Super Fans Robert Jervis Gibbons and Callum Phoenix about their love of the films and their stars. You can read that here and here

I caught up with Please Sir! actor and author David Barry and you read all about that here

I published a fantastic guest blog by Dr Laura Mayne on the relationship between two of the leading lights of Carry On - Producer Peter Rogers and writer Talbot Rothwell. You can read that here

I interviewed Bless This House and Carry On star Sally Geeson and you can find that blog here

I interviewed Carry On actress and all round entertainer Anita Harris about her time with the team making Carry On Follow That Camel and Carry On Doctor in 1967. You can read about that here

At the start of November 2016 I had the great privilege to catch up with the lovely Robin Le Mesuriera true gentleman who answered my questions on life with his wonderful parents, Hattie Jacques and John Le Mesurier. You can read that interview here

In January 2016 I interviewed the lovely actress and author Josephine Bailey about her time as a child actor, studying at the Corona Academy and of making Carry On Teacher. You can read that here

I had the great pleasure of interviewing the glorious Amanda Barrie about her long and successful career which of course has included two Carry Ons and Coronation Street. You can read that here

I spoke to the delightful Judy Buxton about her career as an actress, her time with the Royal Shakespeare Company and of meeting and working witht he great Joan Sims on the series On The Up. You can read that here

In October 2016 I celebrated reaching 1000 blogs. I invited many of those who have contributed to Carry On Blogging over the past eighteen months to tell me what Carry On films mean to them. I was thrilled that so many people took part, including the likes of Fenella Fielding, Robert Ross, Sherrie Hewson, Jessie Wallace, Jacki Piper, Francoise Pascal, Angela Douglas and Madeline Smith. You can catch up with these special blogs here:

Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3 

In March 2017 I celebrated Frankie Howerd's centenary by interview his agent and long-time friend Tessa Le Bars. You can read that interview here

I also spoke to the actor Mark Farrelly about his love of Frankie and his plans for a new one man show telling Howerd's story. Read this here.

Paul Taylor-Greaves told me all about his love of blogging and podcasting and that can be found here 


Carry On Nurse actress Christine Ozanne spoke to me about her long and varied career and her new memoir, The Tome of the Unknown Actor. Find out what Christine had to say here

I interviewed Jennie Linden on her long stage and screen career, finding out what it was like to work with Kenneth Williams on the play My Fat Friend. Read more from Jennie here 

To celebrate my second anniversary, on 29 March this year I interviewed my blogging colleague and Coronation Street Blog Editor Glenda Young about blogging, Corrie and of course, Carry On. You can check that out here.

Having written about all of Joan and Hattie's Carry On adventures, I blogged about Barbara Windsor's nine Carry On roles as part of the run up to Barbara's 80th birthday in August. You can read the first of those blogs here 

I wrote a series of blogs looking back at all of Kenneth Connor's Carry On performances in the lead up to his centenary next June. You can read the first of these blogs here.

Summer 2017 saw comedy historian Robert Ross embark on a special Carry On Cruise with some very familiar faces. Robert very kindly answered some questions on his European jaunt with Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Anita Harris and Richard O'Callaghan. You can find that article here 

Having interviewed the fabulous Madeline Smith in 2016 it was a thrill to finally meet her in person in June. I attended "From Biba to Bond: An Evening with Madeline Smith" at the Stow Roses Women's Institute in North London. You can read about my encounter with the lovely Maddie here 

Another great moment was interviewing the writer Mark O'Connell on his long association with Pinewood Studios and his love of all things James Bond. You can read that interview (and find out more about Mark's book Catching Bulletshere

Also, something I have been blogging about and calling for since I started Carry On Blogging actually happened in June (an apt month). Yes, June Whitfield was finally made a Dame. You can read my thoughts on this wonderful news here 

I was thrilled to receive an exclusive chance to review Network's newly released The Complete Sykes on DVD last month (many thanks again to Blue Dolphin). You can read that review here.

I was absolutely delighted to be contacted recently by Patrick Purcell, son of the late great Irish actor Noel Purcell. We had a smashing interview and you can read all about that here 

I interviewed actor and writer Jack Lane about his passion for the work of Sir Norman Wisdom and Jack's one man show, Wisdom of a Fool. You can read that interview here

In July published my interview with the lovely Georgy Jamieson, passionate comedy fan, BBC Suffolk presenter and Director of the British Comedy Society. You can read our interview here

Also that month I enjoyed a hysterical hour on the phone with British film legend Robin Askwith. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here  

I celebrated Carry On legend Barbara Windsor's 80th birthday with a series of blogs at the beginning of August - you can read the main one here

I started a new series of blogs in August asking some of my favourite people to write in about the five greatest influences on their careers. You can read Judy Matheson's blog hereSarah Miller Walters' blog is hereStuart Ball's blog is here and you can read the blog from Jason Figgis here

I had the great pleasure of chatting with television legend Derek Griffiths and you can read my blog interview with him here  

In September 2017 I travelled to Elstree Studios for a celebration of the very best of 1960s and 70s British television. Hosted by Morris Bright and featuring classic clips and interviews with Dame Diana Rigg and Carry On actors Angela Douglas and Valerie Leon, you can read my review of the evening here.

Last November I had the great pleasure of interviewing actress and artist Jayne Bickerton about her varied career and her association with the late, great Bob Monkhouse. You can read that here

A few days later I also interviewed the actress, singer and cake maker extraordinaire, Kathy Jones who spoke to me about her time in Coronation Street and her love of Carry On. You can check that out here

I featured a fascinating interview with singer and writer Ty Jeffries talked to me about his own career and that of his late father, the brilliant actor Lionel Jeffries. That interview can be found here

December saw me publish a fantastic guest blog from David Powell on Frankie Howerd's film The House in Nightmare Park

I had the pleasure of interviewing actor, director, writer and agent Andrew Lynford about his varied career and the various Carry On actors he's worked with. You can read it here

January 2018 started off with a wonderful trip to see Kenneth Williams' legendary diaries at the British Library. You can read my blog on Kenneth's 1951 diary here and his 1952 diary here

I ventured out to the Victoria and Albert Museum in January for a special Evening with Dame June Whitfield where the legendary actress discussed her decision to donate her archive to the museum. You can read about that wonderful evening here

I also started off a couple of new series in tribute to the 60th year of Carry On. I began profiling the stars of the original Carry On, Carry On Sergeant. You can read the first of those blogs here and I have recently began counting down my own Top 20 Favourite Carry On Actors

February also saw John Hewer write a terrific guest blog on the Carry On links with the classic situation comedy series, Steptoe and Son. That can be found here

My first interview of the year was with the author Kaye Crawford who spoke to me about her brilliant biography of the late, great Beryl Reid. You can read that again here

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to the British Film Institute to view some of the Gerald Thomas Archive. I have several blogs on this trip coming up but for now, you can read the first of these here

And the more detailed blogs on what I found are here:

Letters from Larry
The Carry On Abroad Scrapbook
Carry On Abroad Draft Script
Carry On Abroad Cast Correspondence
Cast Correspondence from Carry On Again Doctor

I interviewed two more actors with connections to the Carry On films. First up was the super lovely Patricia Franklin who told me all about appearing in the likes of Carry On Camping, Loving and Girls. Part One of the interview is here and Part Two can be found here

I have also spoken to the actor Hugh Futcher, who appeared in the likes of Carry On Spying, Carry On Again Doctor and enjoyed a trip to the seaside with Carry On At Your Convenience. Part 1 One of my chat with Hugh is here and Part Two is here.

I have started profiling each of Bernard Bresslaw's 14 Carry On film roles. You can find the first of these, on Carry On Cowboy, right here

I also spoke to Carry On historian Robert Ross about our favourite series of comedy films in this the Carry Ons' 60th anniversary year. Our chat is here

On what would have been the 100th birthday of Carry On legend Kenneth Connor I celebrated the life and career of this wonderful actor with a special centenary blog post here

And I celebrated the Carry On links with the National Health Service as the NHS turned 70 years old here

I went along to see Liz Fraser in conversation with Robert Ross at the Museum of Comedy and you can find my review of the evening here

I was thrilled to interview Hollywood legend and Carry On Behind guest star Elke Sommer back in July. You can find our chat here

I also featured a really interesting interview with the actor and writer Julian Dutton on his career to date and his new stage show based on the life of John Le Mesurier. You can read about all of that here

I have also featured a couple of excellent guest blogs very recently. Deborah Osborne wrote about Carry On Henry here and Brian Linsell blogged about all the horse racing links with films starring our favourite Carry On actors Sid James and Joan Sims. That one is here.

My most recent interview has been with the delightful Julian Holloway, star of eight Carry Ons and countless other things besides. You can read Part 1 of our interview here and Part 2 can be found here

A huge thanks to everyone who's kindly taken the time to answer all my questions - it has brightened many a day and been completely and utterly enjoyable.  

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I only do this as a hobby and your kind comments and observations keep me going even when the chips are down and I think I'm too tired to Carry On! 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Thoughts with Fenella

Last night we heard the awful news that the glorious Fenella Fielding was in very poor health. Fenella, we were told in an official statement, had suffered a severe stroke at the weekend but was receiving the best possible care and remained in good spirits. 

The love and devotion for Fenella was almost palpable on Twitter last night with countless people across the country expressing love and concern for this legendary actress. Whether people had been fortunate enough to meet Fenella or not, it is clear she is one of those rare performers to have left an extraordinary impression on generations of cinema and theatre lovers. An instinctive, completely original performer, Fenella has continued to delight audiences for decades and it makes me really sad to think this dreadful blow may mark the end of her theatrical career.

Recent years have seen Fenella back in the limelight where she deserves to be. Having written her delightful memoirs, Fenella began touring around the country performing excerpts as only she could. I was so lucky to be able to attend a couple of these shows and she was nothing short of spellbinding. I count myself as very fortunate to have met Fenella several times and despite her amazing career and reputation, she has only ever been gentle, gracious and unassuming. A nicer lady you couldn't wish to meet. There were such triumphant 90th birthday celebrations and the icing on the cake was the announcement that Fenella was to be awarded the OBE - an honour well overdue.

My heart really does go out to Fenella's family and those closest to her during this difficult time. Fenella has been fortunate to have such a good friend and supporter in Simon McKay in recent years and I know the bond they share will provide Fenella with much comfort. 

I know you will join me in wishing Fenella all the best and hoping that her condition improves. Fenella Fielding is such a life-force and I'm just so sad this has happened.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Carrying On with … A Doctor in Clover

This is part of a brand new series of blogs looking back at the wonderful series of British comedy films - the Doctor … series. There were seven Doctor films produced at Pinewood Studios between 1954 and 1970, all with Betty Box and Ralph Thomas at the helm. With Betty being Peter Rogers' wife and Ralph the brother of Gerald Thomas, there were bound to be a fair few Carry On connections.

These medical comedy films were extremely popular at the time and while perhaps they do not have the lasting appeal of the Carry Ons, there is no doubting their classic status. Always looking more lavish than their sister films in the Pinewood stable, they did share a cosy ensemble feel with many familiar faces appearing again and again over the years.

So let's continue today by looking at the sixth film in the Doctor series, the 1966 film Doctor in Clover.

What's it about?

The film is based at St Swithin's Hospital, with Leslie Phillips as Dr Gaston Grimsdyke, an accident-prone doctor and cad, more interested in the nurses than the patients.
Grimsdyke is sacked from his job as a medical officer at a men's prison, for his misbehaviour with the Governor's daughter, so he enrolls in a refresher course with his old medical tutor Sir Lancelot Spratt, who he is determined to make him a successful surgeon.
Grimsdyke discovers that a plum senior medical post is shortly to become vacant, and starts scheming to be considered, instead of his cousin, who has already been unofficially offered the job.
Spratt and the newly appointed hospital matron clash, leading Spratt to 'volunteer' Grimsdyke to romance her and 'soften her up'. But she mistakenly believes Spratt to be her admirer, and many funny and inevitable complications ensue.
At a hospital dance, a 'rejuvenation serum' which Grimsdyke has accidentally injected into Sir Lancelot, causes the latter to run amok at the party and romance the new matron. She decides to resign and a new matron is appointed. But she turns out to be equally opposed to Spratt's ideas of how the hospital should be run.

Who's in it?

Leslie Phillips returns for his second Doctor film, this time as the main star following the departure of Dirk Bogarde. Joining him once again is James Robertson Justice, in his fifth Doctor film as Sir Lancelot Spratt. 

Also look out for co-starring roles for Shirley Anne Field as Nurse Bancroft, John Fraser as Dr Miles Grimsdyke and television comedian Arthur Haynes as Tarquin Wendover.

Carry On faces?

As always, the Doctor films featured many familiar actors who were also mainstays of the Carry Ons. As well as the aforementioned Leslie Phillips, another Carry On star with a major role here is Joan Sims as Matron Sweet. This was fourth role in the Doctor films. Returning for her third appearance is Carry On Screaming legend Fenella Fielding, this time playing ballet dancer Tatiana Rubikov!

There is a supporting role for Carry On Sergeant, Constable and Spying actor Eric Barker, playing Professor Halfbeck while future Carry On leading player Terry Scott appears in the role of Robert. Also look out for Peter Gilmore as a Choreographer, Ronnie Stevens as a Publicity Man, Wendy Richard in an uncredited role as a Nurse with false eyelashes and Jack Smethurst as a long-haired patient!

Did you know? 

With Peter Rogers planning a return to the hospital wards with his next film, Carry On Doctor, Joan's performance as Matron Sweet in Betty Box's Doctor film initially made her ideal casting as Matron Lavinia in the Carry On. Eventually Joan passed over the role in favour of her good friend Hattie Jacques with Joan taking the role of hard of hearing hospital visitor Chloe Gibson.

The novel Doctor in Clover had been published in 1960 and while the film rights were purchased the following year and the title announced in 1964, it was a further two years before the film eventually came to fruition. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Happy Birthday Windsor Davies!

Many happy returns to that terrific actor and star of two Carry On films, Mr Windsor Davies! Windsor turns the grand old age of 88 today and I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing him well.

Windsor Davies is best known for his long running role in the BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum, which ran from 1974 until 1981. He also went on to appear in another well remembered comedy series, Never The Twain, alongside the late, great Sir Donald Sinden. As well as appearing in countless other films, Windsor is best known to us for appearing in two later Carry On films, Behind in 1975 and England the following year.

Sadly Windsor retired from acting some years ago. While we may miss his wonderful acting performances, I hope he is enjoying a relaxing and fulfilling retirement. As a personal aside, Windsor also shares a birthday with yours truly, although there may be a few years separating us...

Happy Birthday Windsor!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

Monday 27 August 2018

Carry On Advertising - Carry On Constable


This blog is part of a new little series on Carry On Blogging, looking back at the changing face of the Carry On films during their original twenty year run. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the way the films were advertised to the cinema-going public of Great Britain over the years. These days when I do go to the cinema, I try to avoid the trailers as they tend to go on for rather too long, but of course, with Carry On it's a different story!

Thankfully most of the original trailers are now available to peruse on the internet and they provide a unique time capsule of British film history. The changing tastes of mores of the film-going public can easily be traced through these adverts as can the changing face of the British film industry and the social attitudes of the time. It's also fascinating to see how first Anglo Amalgamated and then later on, the Rank Organisation, chose to market and sell these low budget, knockabout comedies. 

So we continue today with one of the most genial in the series, Carry On Constable. It's back to the very coy, post-war years for this black and white treasure and the following trailer highlights the best bits of the Carry On team's tribute to the wonderful world of Dixon of Dock Green. Hope you enjoy it.


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

Carrying On at Heatherden Hall

Ever wondered about the history of the iconic Heatherden Hall? It's a Pinewood Studios landmark which is so familiar to film fans around the world. And it's appeared in many a Carry On film too. I was browsing the internet the other evening and found a fascinating article all about this lovely old mansion house.

Heatherden Hall first appeared in the Carry Ons in Carry On Nurse in 1959. Its exterior doubled as the front of Haven Hospital. Heatherden would once again play a hospital for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas in the 1962 film Twice Round The Daffodils. And in 1968 it possibly had its most famous role in a Carry On - playing the British residency in Carry On Up The Khyber. 

In 1969 the house was once again seen in the series, playing the slimming clinic run by Jim Dale and Joan Sims in Carry On Again Doctor. I think the council office scene at the beginning of Carry On Girls may also have been shot inside Heatherden, while we also see the house briefly in Carry On England, in scenes shot at the very start of the film with Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth and Johnny Briggs. 

Heatherden has also featured in countless other films and television series such as the Norman Wisdom comedies Up in the World and A Stitch in Time, the Bond film From Russia With Love, it was Truly Scrumptious' house in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and was seen in Lionel Jeffries' The Amazing Mr Blunden. It even featured in the likes of Lewis Collins' Who Dares Wins and Batman, directed by Tim Burton.

These days Heatherden Hall is still in use, both for filming purposes and as a venue for events, conferences and even weddings. 

You can read more on the history of Heatherden Hall in the excellent House and Heritage article by David Poole. And if you are interested in hiring out the venue for a professional or personal event, stick the details into Google and you'll find several companies you can book through.

To finish, here's a lovely old film of Heatherden Hall from back in the days before Pinewood Studios quite took hold:

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram