Monday 10 September 2018

Guest Blog: Chris Stephenson on 'Our House'

Chris Stephenson recently wrote a guest blog for me on his own top 20 favourite Carry On actors and it was a great read. Chris has also written in on how he came to become such a fan of the Carry On series and a recent discovery of a classic comedy television series with a host of Carry On links.

So without further ado, it's over to Chris…

My first recollection of the Carry Ons was Carry On Henry at Butlins, Filey as their new film of the week! Being 10 I loved the visual gags but the rest passed by by! Growing up they crept more into my life and now they're my favourite comedy film franchise. Jim Dale, Sid James and Kenneths Williams and Connor are my favourite males while my female choices are more obscure with Angela Douglas, Jacki Piper, Liz Fraser and Dilys Laye being my favourites.

I was recently looking through the Network On Air sale (a great place for old TV and movies) and noticed a DVD called Our House, written by Norman Hudis and Starring Hattie Jacques (a librarian who turns into a foghorn outside the workplace), Joan Sims (whose employment record is second to none), Charles Hawtrey (an oddball who works in a rates office) and Norman Rossington (a law student) who along with five other share the same house!

The series ran from 1960 to 1962 and there were 39 episodes recorded (some 55 minutes and some 45 minutes) but due to some errors all but three were erased and those are on the DVD! Other famous faces appearing to various episodes included Bernard Bresslaw, Johnny Vyvyan, Hylda Baker, Deryck Guyler, Roy Hudd, Frank Williams, Frank Thornton and Leonard Sachs among others although most of these have been lost.

Although Talbot Rothwell is my favourite, Our House creator Norman Hudis is a Carry On legend himself and will go down in history as the scriptwriter for the first six Carry Ons, therefore helping them gain their lasting popularity. The surviving episodes are all from the first series and were broadcast in the September, October and November of 1960. The episodes themselves are a cross between a Carry On movie and a Brian Rix farce. Plenty of one liners ('It's only 86 and a half miles as the crow flies' 'Ooh that poor crow bust be really tired!') and visual gags interspersed with running around the set including up and down the stairs. In one of the episodes Charles plays his relatives including an aunt who is the spit of Lady Puddleton from Carry On Again Doctor! And in one scene Hattie even says the immortal line 'Carry On then'!

As a footnote the Our House producer Ernest Maxin produced programmes for such comedy greats as Norman Wisdom, Charlie Drake (in which he won the Golden Rose for Drake's rendition of the 1812 Overture), Dave Allen, Dick Emery, Les Dawson and Morecambe and Wise (including the 1976 and 1977 Christmas shows!).

Many thanks again to Chris for writing this really interesting Guest Blog.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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