Monday 5 November 2018

Catch Joan, Hattie and Jim this week on Talking Pictures TV!

Talking Pictures TV are excellent at producing hidden gems from the archive and giving us classic comedy fans a real treat. And this coming week is no exception with films featuring some of our favourite Carry On actors - Joan Sims, Jim Dale and Hattie Jacques - all finding their way into the schedule. So without further ado, here's what you should be setting your recording devices for in the week ahead.

Tuesday 6 November

The Iron Maiden, Talking Pictures TV, 3pm

Jack Hopkins (played by Michael Craig) is an aircraft designer with a passion for traction engines and he owns one called The Iron Maiden. His boss (played by Cecil Parker) is eager to sell a new supersonic jet aircraft that Jack has designed to American millionaire Paul Fisher (Alan Hale, Jr.). The first encounter between Fisher and Jack goes badly, and tensions only heighten after Fisher's daughter Kathy (Anne Helm) damages The Iron Maiden, rendering it impossible to be driven solo. Jack is desperate to enter the annual Woburn Abbey steam rally with the machine, but his fireman is injured and unable to participate. When all seems lost, the millionaire himself is won over by Jack's plight and joins him in driving the engine, and the two soon become firm friends.
After an eventful journey, Fisher and Jack reach Woburn Abbey and enter the rally, only for Fisher to injure his back at the last minute. When all seems lost, the sceptical Kathy appears and joins Jack in the engine. The two pilot The Iron Maiden from last place to first, winning the rally; at the finish line, Jack and Kathy embrace and kiss, while The Iron Maiden boils over and explodes. The engine is memorialised when Jack's new jet is named after it.
The film also features familiar Carry On faces in Joan Sims, Jim Dale, Judith Furse, Cyril Chamberlain, Brian Rawlinson and Anton Rodgers.
Further Reading:

Twice Round The Daffodils (1962) - Talking Pictures TV, 9pm
Set in a TB sanatorium and featuring a more serious tone than many of their other cinematic offerings, Twice Round The Daffodils is a romantic comedy drama that pulls at the heart strings. Written by Norman Hudis, as with many of his other scripts, Daffodils focusses on a group of men in an institutional setting. It definitely has a touch of Carry On Nurse about it. It also boasts a superb cast of instantly recognisable actors, led by Donald Sinden, Donald Houston and Ronald Lewis.
The film stars Juliet Mills in the first of her three roles for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas (the others being Nurse On Wheels and Carry On Jack). Other Carry On faces to appear include Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Sheila Hancock, Jill Ireland, Renee Houston and Lance Percival - quite a cast! A young Andrew Ray also appears - son of Ted (Carry On Teacher) and brother of Robin (Carry On Constable), Andrew would go on to appear in Carry On Laughing in 1975. 

Further Reading:

Carry On Blogging: Not Quite A Carry On - Twice Round The Daffodils

Wednesday 7 November

Make Mine Mink (1960) - Talking Pictures TV, 9.20am

Based on the stage play Breath of Spring by Peter Coke, Make Mine Mink tells the story of a rather unlikely gang of crooks who go around London stealing and returning fur coats! Perhaps a rather slender premise for a full length feature film, but when the cast includes Hattie Jacques, Billie Whitelaw, Terry-Thomas and Athene Seyler, you're set for an afternoon of laughs and delightful comedy performances. Look out for an eye-catching cameo from Carry On great Kenneth Williams too. 

Interestingly, the role Billie Whitelaw plays in the film was originally played by Carry On legend Joan Sims on stage, opposite Athene Seyler. Why Joan wasn't invited to star in the film remains a mystery and while Billie is excellent, I'd have loved to have seen Joan appear alongside Terry, Hattie and Ms Seyler. Fine supporting turns come from Carry On faces Irene Handl and Sydney Tafler, while scene stealer Noel Purcell pops in for a brief spot as a burglar.

Further Reading:

Carry On Blogging: Make Mine Mink

Saturday 10 November

Six Five Special (1958), Talking Pictures TV, 3.45pm

Now this is a real curio from sixty years ago, back in the mists of time! However as it features a pre-Carry On Jim Dale in his pop star days I thought it was worth a mention. At the suggestion of her girlfriend, a young singer decides to try and make her name in London. Catching the overnight '6.5 Special' bound for the BBC television show, the two find the train full of 1950's British pop stars only too ready to burst into song. As the presenters of the show are also on board, our heroine is assured of a spot on the following Saturday's 'Six Five Special'. And the Six Five Special, for those who are not of a certain vintage, was an early precursor to Top of the Pops!

Joining Jim Dale (playing himself of course) are the likes of Lonnie Donegan, Petula Clark, Dickie Valentine, Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth, Pete Murray, Mike and Bernie Winters and a couple of other Carry On faces - actress Leigh Madison (Carry On Sergeant / Nurse) and boxer turned actor Freddie Mills (Carry On Constable / Regardless). 

Definitely worth a go if you're a fan of vintage telly, pop music or the wonderful, multi-talented Mr Dale!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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