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Hamster (probably) watches through all the Carry On films

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Carry On films are seen within the UK as both a classic series of comedy films and a collection of cheaply made, badly ageing rubbish.

Thirty one of them were made between 1958 and 1978 (or 1992 if you include Columbus). Famously produced by Peter Rogers and generally revolving around the same cast of actors including Kenneth Williams (26 films), Joan Sims (24), Charles Hawtrey (23), Sid James (19), Kenneth Connor (17), Peter Butterworth (16), Hattie Jacques (14), Bernard Bresslaw (14), Jim Dale (11) and Barbara Windsor (10).

Generally they played similar roles from film to film - Windsor was a cheeky, buxom piece of eye candy, James was a bit of a lecherous womaniser, Hawtrey played meek and effete, Jacques played matronly characters, Sims played the widest range of characters and is probably one of the very best of the cast. Then you've got Kenneth Williams of course who probably lives on as the one most famously linked to Carry On.

The early films started, in black and white, as comedies with some slapstick and a little soft innuendo. You then hit the "golden age" of the series, full of double entendre, ridiculous slapstick and famous scenes. The series worsened towards the end of course as times changed (what was once seen as risque started to be considered as tame) and as the actors started to get old and die off, needing to be replaced. Still, Carry On films are the perfect Sunday afternoon viewing and I still laugh at loud at some moments.

My aim is to work through the films, giving brief reviews and maybe even a rating. Some I'm looking forward to more than others (hopefully I'll have given up before getting to Carry On Emmanuelle) and I'll fully welcome comments and thoughts from any of you lot. Feel free to join in and watch along.

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Best of luck, I won't be joining you.

Also, I've only got the Daniel Craigs left of my Bondathon, Tomorrow Never Dies is ridiculously underrated. I didn't start a thread, because that's all I would've said.

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Oooh look! It's Bob Monkhouse! A young and dashing Bob Monkhouse making his only Carry On appearance, as Charlie Sage - a newlywed who gets called up for national service on his wedding day, On the train he meets hypochondriac Kenneth Connor (early Carry On Connor was well typecast as jittery and downtrodden most of the time). Once at the military camp they find that their sergeant will be the Doctor (Who?) himself - William Hartnell.

"I tell ya mate, Two of everything you should have and you're in." - Early testicles joke from Connor, or at least I'll take it as a testicles joke.


Monkhouse's missus (Shirley Eaton from Goldfinger) sneaks into the camp and gets herself a job in the kitchen so she can still be near him. Meanwhile Hartnell greets his new platoon (it's his last before retiring and if they're the best of the new platoons he'll win £50). Standouts are Monkhouse, Connor, late-arriving mincing Charles Hawtrey (Hawtrey forced into the military can only provide comedy gold) and university graduate Kenneth Williams. Nice to see so many of the stalwarts in the series from the very beginning.

Williams looks young and quite debonair.

Ah! There's Hattie Jacques as the Medical Officer.

"Blimey! You're just a heap of chits!" comment from Connor. In the '50s no less!

I was right about Hawtrey. He's given some great lines and performs them wonderfully. He's great in the drill scene.

"Your rank?!" "Well that's a matter of opinion." Good stuff from Williams.

"What's the first thing that comes into your head?" "Women sir".

Bit of slapstick there with fire extinguishers.

Bwahaha. Great use of the phrase "Dirty rotter". Some good gentle sex humour in this.

Even Hattie Jacques looks pretty young! It's lovely to see the familiar faces looking so fresh.

Bayonet charge practice...Well that was guaranteed to bring laughs from Williams and Hawtrey.

Dora Bryan is quite entertaining as Nora, lusting after Connor.

They're a useless platoon so we're seeing plenty of scenes of them being useless.

Early Carry On foray into the medical world (a favourite setting) with Connor getting checked over. Pretty decent scene.

Ahhhh it's all leading towards a happy ending (as if that was ever truly in doubt).


Kenneth Williams (1), Charles Hawtrey (1), Kenneth Connor (1), Hattie Jacques (1), Terry Scott (1 - blink and you'll miss it)


William Hartnell, Bob Monkhouse, Shirley Eaton, Bill Owen (Compo from Last of the Summer Wine)

Ultimately it's a decent film. Some funny lines and a mostly well-written plot. If anything there was no real central character around whom the film rotated. If anyone then it was Kenneth Connor's character (who would have been better supporting Monkhouse who originally seemed as if he would be the central character but kind of slipped to the margins a little as the film progressed). Of the regulars, Hawtrey and Williams give the best performances. Connor gets a little annoying at times. Jacques doesn't get that much screen time.

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For the regular Carry On cast members, the films really do dominate their filmography. Some produced work before they started on Carry On (see a future post) while some were pretty fresh-faced and new to the business when they started out.

So first, let's see what happened to the big names after their time on Carry On.



Last Carry On: Emmannuelle (1978)

Post Carry On, Williams is best known for his children's TV work - narrating Willo The Wisp, telling stories for Jackanory and providing a voice for Galloping Galaxies.

He died on 15th April 1988 of an overdose of sleeping pills. In his diary he had written "Oh, what's the bloody point?" It's undecided whether it was suicide or an accidental overdose. A homosexual during times where "coming out" was NOT the done thing, Williams remained celibate and suffered huge bouts of depression and ill health throughout his life. The tale of his private life is not a happy one, something that is tragically seen among many comedians throughout the 20th century.



Last Carry On: Dick (1974)

With rapidly worsening health, James managed one more year of the TV series "Bless This House".

On 26th April 1976, Sid James suffered a heart attack while on stage. As the curtains closed and ambulance were called, the audience were laughing, unaware that it wasn't part of the act (a similar tragedy occurring 8 years later when Tommy Cooper also died on stage in front of a laughing audience). James had previous suffered two other heart attacks leading to him missing Screaming and Follow The Camel. James was a chronic gambler and massive womaniser. He had a ten year affair with Barbara Windsor.

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I was a bit too young to really get the Carry On films at first when my brother used to watch them when I was little - not that they're overly complex, I was just very young - but I always liked Sid's voice and that laugh.

They're staples of bank holidays in our house as well, I think Abroad was the most watched. Even now if I ask my brother any food related question - which isn't that often - he'll reply "sausage, beans and chippins". So that remains my favourite. Matron, Camping and Cleo were fairly regular too.

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Last Carry On: Abroad (1972)

Post Carry On, Hawtrey worked in pantomimes, with a few TV appearances dotted around. His last appearance being an episode of kids TV programme Supergran.

Hawtrey was dropped from the series after Abroad. He was a massive eccentric and had become more and more of an alcoholic since the mid-60s. Like Williams his sex life was kept a closely guarded secret (he was also homosexual) but was a promiscuous and outrageous drunk who was unable to keep many friends. He finally died on the 27th October 1988 of peripheral vascular disease, having spent the final 20 years of his life drunkenly wandering around the seafront, dressed in extravagant clothing and waving happily to fishermen. There's an interview with him on youtube which is extremely painful to watch.



Last Carry On: Emmannuelle (1978)

Connor worked for another 14 years with a serious chunk of time on 'Allo 'Allo as well as Rentaghost, Hi-de-hi! and an appearance on Blackadder.

Kenneth Connor MBE lasted into the '90s, dying of cancer on 28th November 1993. He died two days after appearing on the TV game show Telly Addicts. He was probably the most successful of the Carry On regulars with the least "tragic" story to tell. He had plenty of work and was excellent as Monsieur Alfonse (with the dicky ticker) during his eight year stint on 'Allo 'Allo.

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So now it's a series. Well-spoken Terence Longdon makes his second appearance, this time as a patient and.....HEY! It's Joan Sims! Wahey.

Carry On Nurse follows a simple premise: Loads of male patients on a ward, staffed by loads of young female nurses and an older matron. Guaranteed hijinks.

The film shows the difference between hospitals then and now that's for sure. The men are treated like invalids.

Oooh, Shirley Eaton is in this one too. She looks lovely. Longdon thinks she looks "wonderful". He's right.

Kenneth Connor's a patient too. He's a boxer with a bust hand...and, wait for it, he's a bit downtrodden.

Wahey! Small penis joke.

Kenneth Williams is in the ward, playing an academic type again.


Charles Hawtrey's very presence is amusing.

Hattie Jacques appears (who else could be the matron?!)

This isn't particularly funny so far though. Hawtrey gets some visual comedy (playing an imaginary piano) but apart from that...

Ooooh, Jill Ireland is pretty lovely too. This has helped make up for the total lack of comedy in the last 10 minutes.

Longdon is an extremely boring "main" character.


DING DONG! It's Leslie Phillips! Salvation!

Yup, he's already charming and amusing.

Nice couple of "phwooooooars" from the guys when a sexy lady doctor walks through the ward.

Things finally get better near the end as they all get drunk and decide to operate on Phillips' bunion when the nurses are asleep.

Laughing gas in the operating theatre is entertaining enough. Daffodil in the bum is a good finish.


Kenneth Williams (2), Charles Hawtrey (2), Kenneth Connor (2), Hattie Jacques (2), Joan Sims (1)


Shirley Eaton, Bill Owen, Leslie Phillips, June Whitfield

Not one of their best. There aren't many good laughs. Hawtrey is relegated to pretty much physical humour. Williams' role is decent but not funny. Leslie Phillips is the funniest but is only in it from near the end (with June Whitfield as his wife) while I'm glad that Terence Longdon doesn't become a long term Carry On regular as he's a black hole of entertainment. All in all it never reaches any real highs. There are a few chuckles but not much more. The weakest out of the two so far.

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When I was younger I liked the Carry On films.

Now though, I just think the jokes are horrible. As they go on they get worse. I also get a bit distrubed by the amount of naked Barbra Windsor. Mostly down to thinking of her as Peggy Mitchell first.

That said the casts were a talented bunch.

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