Friday 9 November 2018

Samira Ahmed on why Carry Ons are better than Shakespeare

The writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed is a self-confessed Carry On fan. I've followed her tweets for some time now and always find her interesting. Only the other day I found out Samira had actually recorded a podcast for the BBC on why she considers the Carry On films to be just that little bit better than the works of William Shakespeare! Intrigued, I had a listen to what she had to say.

The podcast, part of "The Boring Talks" series presented by James Ward, is fantastic. Samira clearly knows her stuff and I felt a surge of affection towards her stance as soon as she began to so eloquently put forward her argument. Reconnecting with the Carry Ons during a binge-watching session before interviewing Jim Dale a few years ago, Samira realised just how epic the Carry On comedies were and how they achieved things even Shakespeare did not.

While never overlooking the occasionally suspect aspects of the Carry Ons, particularly the treatment of women and the likes of Terry Scott's Dr Prodd in Carry On Matron, preying on young student nurses, I found Samira's take refreshing. She even shows some of these scenes to film studies students to show how the comedy can both shock and still amuse. A good section of the podcast covers the Carry Ons' love of drag and revelling in the likes of Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Cope, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Connor dragging up as well as my own particular favourite - Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Girls. It also looks at female characters, such as the one played by Juliet Mills in Carry On Jack, dragging up as a man.

What I also enjoyed was the focus on the sweetness and innocence that ran through the Carry Ons. The romantic pairings of Jim Dale and Angela Douglas and Kenneth Cope and Barbara Windsor being amongst the best. As well as discussing both the Carry Ons and Shakespeare, Samira also talks about some of the great series regulars who crossed over and performed Shakespeare so successfully, such as Jim Dale, Bernard Bresslaw and Kenneth Connor. 

Anyway, it's a terrific listen and you can find it here

And you can find Samira Ahmed on Twitter @SamiraAhmedUK

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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