Sunday 7 April 2019

What a Carry On this Good Friday!

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 Friday? I've put together a handy guide for Good Friday to help you make sure you don't miss any of your favourites.

So without further ado...

Carry On At Your Convenience (1971) 07.45

Trouble at the works caused trouble at the box office as the treatment of the ordinary working man and woman and the trade unions who represented them made this a controversial outing for the team. Despite this, Convenience is the purest Carry On of them all. It's set in a toilet factory and involves a prolonged sequence in Brighton, the series' spiritual home. A cast of prime Carry On performers including Sid James, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw and Kenneth Williams are joined by the likes of Jacki Piper, Richard O'Callaghan and Kenneth Cope with a bigger than usual supporting role for the brilliant Patsy Rowlands.

Carry On Cruising (1962) 09.30

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 Cowboy (1965) 11.20

An ambitious picture for a series at the peak of its powers, Cowboy was that rare thing, a successful British Western. With most of the regular cast attempting American accents, the likes of Sid James, Joan Sims and Jim Dale have a ball. There are important series debuts too as Cowboy brings us the first Carry On performances from valuable character players Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth. New leading lady Angela Douglas also appears for the first time as the gun toting heroine Annie Oakley.

Carry On Screaming (1966) 13.10

One of the most iconic of all the Carry Ons and definitely a favourite not just with fans but with many other cinema aficionados, this Hammer Horror pastiche is beautifully scripted with great period costumes and attention to detail. The cast is also on top form as they tell the gruesome tale of young courting ladies disappearing into the night and turning up as dress shop mannequins. Harry H Corbett is an able replacement for the absent Sid James while Jim Dale and Peter Butterworth shine in major supporting roles. And of course there's that wonderful revue-like double act of Kenneth Williams and the late, great Fenella Fielding as fiendish, bickering siblings. It doesn't get any better than this.

Carry On Follow That Camel (1967) 15.10

This French Foreign Legion spoof has all the right intentions but for me, doesn't quite come off despite a prime cast of classic Carry On actors. There are substantial, hilarious roles for pros like Kenneth Williams, Peter Butterworth and Jim Dale while Angela Douglas excels as the upper class Lady Jane and Joan Sims gives it her all in a feisty cameo as Zig ZIg, a local cafe owner. However the central performance, from American comedy legend Phil Silvers doesn't quite gel with the rest of the cast or the Carry On image. An attempt to expand the Carry On market overseas which perhaps just didn't quite hit the mark.

Carry On Doctor (1967) 17.00

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.

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