Tuesday 9 April 2019

What a Carry On this Easter Sunday!

Once again ITV3 have delved into the archives and brought out several classic examples of Carry On comedy for the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Yes, we've seen them all before but who can resist a good Carry On on a lazy Sunday? I've put together a handy guide for Easter Sunday to help you make sure you don't miss any of your favourites.

So without further ado...

Carry On Cruising (1962) 06.00

The first colour Carry On is pretty innocent by series standards and floats along quite happily. It's undemanding but beautifully performed fare with a cast headed by Sid James as the Happy Wanderer's Captain Crowther. The bumbling new recruits (this is a Hudis script so they must feature) are Kenneths Williams and Connor and Lance Percival while the glamorous passengers on the Mediterranean cruise which never left Pinewood are Liz Fraser, Esma Cannon and a debuting, and very impressive Dilys Laye. Dilys stepped in to replace an ill Joan Sims at three days notice!

Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966) 07.45

This French Revolution comedy has it all - dashing heroics, broad comedy performances, plenty of action and some stunning set pieces. Filmed on location at some ravishing stately homes and utilising some terrific period costumes, it all looks a cut above the actual budget. Once again, the film pitches goodies against baddies as English aristocrats Sid James and Jim Dale start a campaign to rescue their French counterparts from the guillotine. This brings them into battle with the snivelling Citizens Camembert and Bidet, a brilliantly camp, bickering double act brought to life by Kenneth Williams and Peter Butterworth. Joan Sims and Dany Robin provide the glamour and Charles Hawtrey provides, well everything you'd expect from Charles Hawtrey!

Carry On Up The Jungle (1969) 09.35

Despite the obvious limitations of setting this jungle-themed adventure pretty much entirely within Pinewood Studios, Jungle does have its funny moments. Most of these come from that delicious bickering pair of ornithologists Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Connor (returning to the series for the first time in five years). Sid James is on fine macho form as Bill Boosey, the bush guide, and there is also a fine comedy performance from the ever reliable Joan Sims as Lady Bagley, searching for her missing baby boy who turns out to be Terry Scott. The fact that Terry was three years older than Joan was a point the production team obviously failed to consider! Jacki Piper makes her series debut as June, while Valerie Leon grabs a bigger role than usual as Leda, the leader of an all female jungle tribe. Charles Hawtrey arrives twenty minutes before the end of the film as Tonka the Great and pretty much steals the show.

Carry On Doctor (1967) 11.20

Perhaps the best medical Carry On of them all, Carry On Doctor pitches hospital patients against corrupt medical staff and it's a no brainer which side the audience are on. Doctor features one of the biggest collection of team regulars with only Kenneth Connor missing. Much energy is brought to proceedings by the fantastic Frankie Howerd in his first of two superb guest starring roles in the series as bogus faith healer Francis Bigger. Much of the action revolves around Frankie, Kenneth Williams' mean Dr Tinkle, Hattie Jacques' bombastic Matron and Jim Dale's kindly Dr Kilmore. The rogues gallery features stunning support from Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth while there are cameos from the likes of Dandy Nichols, Derek Francis, Brian Wilde and Deryck Guyler.

Carry On Again Doctor (1969) 13.10

So successful was Carry On Doctor and Carry On Nurse before it that Again Doctor very quickly came along too. This film, a game of two halves really, is Jim Dale's swan song from the original series. After ten films JIm took off for a blindingly successful career on the stage. For now though he's the romantic hero, the bumbling lead Dr Nookey of Long Hampton Hospital. The first half of the film is the usual high jinks in the hospital wards with Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey on fine form as the medical men and Hattie Jacques once again playing Matron. The second half broadens the story out to include medical mission humour and introduces Sid James as the disorderly orderly Gladstone Screwer. Barbara Windsor provides the glamour as model Goldie Locks while Patsy Rowlands makes her debut as Kenneth's bespectacled secretary Miss Fosdick. And watch out for a memorable cameo from Peter Butterworth. 

Carry On Loving (1970) 14.55

A Talbot Rothwell saucy seventies follow up to Carry On Regardless ten years earlier, Loving is another grand episodic film full of sketches and vibrant characters, held together by Sid and Hattie's bogus matrimonial agency. Clients include Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams and Terry Scott from the established Carry On cast and young blood in the form of Richard O'Callaghan, Jacki Piper and Imogen Hassall. A large cast of supporting actors sees priceless moments from Charles Hawtrey, Patsy Rowlands, Joan Hickson, Julian Holloway and Bernard Bresslaw. And Loving provides us with the most slapstick finales in Carry On history.

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