Carry On Matron (1972)

Matron

A criminal gang targets Finisham Maternity Hospital, specifically its supply of contraceptive pills…

What’s it spoofing? Hospital life. Again.

Funniest moment: Wanting to prove his masculinity, Sir Bernard Cutting visits Matron in her room and aggressively woos her – all the while, their colleague Francis Goode is hiding in the wardrobe.

The Big 10:

* Sid James (16) plays Sid Carter, the jocular leader of the criminals.

* Bernard Bresslaw (10) gets another dopey sidekick role: Ernie Bragg. When his pal drags up as a nurse, Ernie keeps telling him how nice he looks.

* Hattie Jacques (12) plays a Matron with a dry sense of humour. She fancies Sir Bernard but also enjoys illicit TV-watching sessions with Francis Goode.

* Kenneth Williams (21) is hospital boss Sir Bernard Cutting, a hypochondriac doctor who comes to believe he’s turning into a woman. For some reason.

* Kenneth Connor (11) has a featured cameo as Mr Tidey, a uniformed railway worker who’s constantly waiting for his wife to give birth. Connor is using an accent similar to the one he later deployed in Hi-De-Hi.

* Barbara Windsor (6) is Nurse Susan Ball, which is a fairly thankless role.

* Joan Sims (18) plays Mrs Tidey, who’s pregnant and overdue but is more concerned with eating non-stop.

* Charles Hawtrey (22) plays vague but cheerful psychiatrist Francis A Goode (hmm: strange initials…).

Notable others:

* Kenneth Cope is back from Carry On At Your Convenience to play Sid’s son, Cyril. He has to dress as a nurse and pretend to be a woman in order to infiltrate the hospital. Roommate Susan soon rumbles him, but at least one doctor takes a shine to this new persona.

* Bill Maynard plays Freddy, one of Sid’s gang.

* Wendy Richard has a cameo as new mum Miss Willing.

* Terry Scott – in his final Carry On film – plays womaniser Dr Prod.

* Jacki Piper’s fourth and final Carry On character is a rather functional hospital sister.

* Jack Douglas debuts in the series, appearing in one scene as ‘Twitching father’. Unless you count people who are just in Carry On Columbus, he’s the only actor who’s in each and every film made after he joined the series. His character here is basically an excuse for Douglas to show off his established, tic-heavy, accident-prone Alf persona.

* Patsy Rowlands again plays Kenneth Williams’s PA (she’s called Evelyn Banks in this one).

* Valerie Leon cameos as Jane Darling, a famous actress who’s in labour – after a slapstick incident knocks Dr Prod out cold, Cyril has to deliver her triplets.

* Bill Kenwright, later a theatre producer and the chairman of Everton Football Club, has a tiny role as a newspaper reporter.

* Margaret Nolan is in a scene where her character, Mrs Tucker, and Dr Prod play out an age-old joke about a young woman, her elderly husband and their lodger.

Top totty: Look, if Margaret Nolan’s in one of these films, she’s going to win this category.

Kenneth Williams says: “First day of Carry On Matron. It was a murderous scene with medical dictionary plus thermometer in my mouth & taking the pulse and remembering every bit of business and I buggered it completely. By the time it got to take seven I heard Gerald [Thomas, director] say to the cameramen ‘Oh! let’s keep that one and print it… it won’t get any better…’ and of course he was right.” – Monday 11 October 1971 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p410)

“Watched the TV news and then Carry On Matron. I was amazed ’cos there was actually a story/idea behind this one, as opposed to the usual stream of would-be jokes.” – Tuesday 16 January 1988 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p781)

Review: Silly but harmless fun. There’s a succession of awful 1970s haircuts, however.

Seven grand orders of newts out of 10

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