Carry On Abroad (1972)

Abroad

A group of holidaymakers go on a £17-all-in trip to the island of Els Bels, but their hotel is not yet finished…

What’s it spoofing? Package holidays and general ‘Brits aboard’ culture clashes.

Funniest moment: “Don’t drink?” “No, I tried it once and didn’t like it.” “Have a smoke?” “I tried it once and didn’t like it.” “Strange.” “Not at all. My daughter’s the same.” “Your only child, I presume.”

The Big 10:

* Sid James (17) plays Vic Flange, a pub landlord who wants to take his girlfriend on holiday – the only problem is, his wife rumbles the plan so unexpectedly comes along too.

* Barbara Windsor (7) plays that girlfriend, Sadie Tomkins. As has become the norm, the actress has some nudity scenes.

* Joan Sims (19) is Vic’s wife, Cora.

* Kenneth Williams (22) plays Stuart Farquhar, who is the holiday group’s tour guide. When affected by a love potion, he has a flirtation with his colleague Moira.

* Kenneth Connor (12) is very funny as hassled and horny husband Stanley Blunt.

* Charles Hawtrey (23) plays mummy’s boy and old soak Eustace Tuttle. This was Hawtrey’s final Carry On film – his final film of any description actually. A combination of drink problems and the fact that he pulled out of the 1972 Christmas special at the last minute meant that the producers dropped him from the series. Until this point he’d missed only one Carry On film (Cruising). He died on 27 October 1988.

* Bernard Bresslaw (11) is sweet as Brother Bernard, a monk whose attentions are turned by one of the group’s young ladies.

* Peter Butterworth (11) plays Pepe, the hotel manager. His mannerisms and accent aren’t a million miles away from Manuel from Fawlty Towers. In order to maintain the illusion that the hotel is staffed by many people, Pepe changes his outfit depending on what role he’s carrying out.

* Hattie Jacques (13) is fiery cook Floella. Like in Carry On At Your Convenience, the majority of her scenes are separate from the main storyline – here she only really interacts with Butterworth.

Notable others:

* Jack Douglas, in effect, reprises his role from Carry On Matron. He appears at the start and end of the film as Harry, a pub customer who’s prone to dramatic nervous twitches. One of them, in which he spills an entire pint of beer in one seamless motion then asks for another, is very funny.

* Patsy Rowlands plays Miss Dobbs, another assistant of a character played by Kenneth Williams. She’s amusingly glum.

* Sally Geeson and Carol Hawkins plays Lily and Marge, two young girls on holiday together. Geeson was recommended for the part by her Bless This House co-star Sid James.

* Gail Grainger glides through the film as the serene, unflappable Moira Plunkett. It’s odd that Valerie Leon didn’t play this role as it seems to have been written specifically for her.

* June Whitfield returns to the series after a long gap – we haven’t seen her since 1959’s Carry On Nurse. Here she plays Mrs Blunt, who’s so straitlaced she’s not keen on sharing a hotel room with her husband. However, after a sexual encounter with the barman she soon loosens up.

* John Clive and David Kernan play two friends holidaying together. The exact nature of their relationship is hard to fathom. Nicholas Phipps is attracted to girls, while Robin Tweet clearly isn’t – but whether the former is aware of the latter’s tastes is uncertain.

* Jimmy Logan plays brash Scotsman Bert Conway, who’s travelling alone but isn’t slow to make friends with everyone. He says ‘jings’ a couple of times.

* Ray Brooks plays Georgio, the barman son of Pepe and Floella.

Top totty: Sally Geeson’s very pretty.

Kenneth Williams says: “Pinewood at 7.40. The first day, for me, of Carry On Abroad. If you’d told me in ’58 that I’d still be coming out to Pinewood to make these films I’d have said you were mad. Though it was the first day, there was an air of staleness over everything. A feeling of ‘I have been here before’ and I thought the acting standard was rather bad throughout.” – Tuesday 18 April 1972 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p423)

“We saw the Carry On Abroad film which was made in ’72 & I noticed that there were quite a few cuts! It wasn’t all that bad considering the circumstances but the cast reminded one how unlovely the actors were. Not a dish to be seen. Kenny Connor was wonderfully diverting: he always has something singular to offer & this performance was delightful. Nobody else was v. good, apart from Joan Sims in the bed sequence and the pub, both v. authentic. I was all faces & jerks and old looking. The only think (ironically) I did that was funny was manipulate the exploding switchboard [Williams was notoriously poor with props].” – Sunday 8 January 1978 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p555)

Review: No sooner have the group arrived at the hotel than we get a succession of women in bras and bikinis; people bursting into the wrong rooms and seeing things they shouldn’t; and really corny jokes and situations… But it’s all done with a huge sense of fun. Like in Carry On At Your Convenience, the fact the actors are enjoying themselves shines through. It’s a shame the exteriors were so obviously shot in dreary UK weather, but perhaps the cheap-and-cheerful vibe only makes the whole thing more likable. Of the 10 most regular Carry On stars, only Jim Dale (who’d left the series in 1969) is missing – yet this is more or less the last time the core gang were together. It’s entertaining stuff.

Eight Santa Cecilias Elixirs out of 10

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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

Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)

AtYourConvenience

The workforce at toilet factory WC Boggs & Son go on strike, but the industrial action is suspended when the annual staff day out comes round…

What’s it spoofing? The workplace, daytrips and general working-class life. Strike action and the trade-union movement are also being satirised. The film’s original title was Carry On Comrade, then switched to Carry On Working before getting its lavatorial name. (In other countries, where the pun might not work, it was rebranded Carry On Round the Bend.)

Funniest moment: Miss Withering is unhappy to learn that the company may be sold and she might not be Mr Boggs’s secretary for much longer. ‘“I appreciate your loyalty, my dear…” he says to her. “No, you don’t,” she replies, getting manic. “You never have appreciated me. I’ve worked for you for 30 years, and in all that time have you ever sat me on your knee or asked me to go away for a naughty weekend? You’ve never even pinched my bottom!”

The Big 10:

* Joan Sims (17) plays earthy, up-for-a-giggle factory worker Chloe Moore. She gets a sweet flirtation with colleague Sid: both are in dull marriages, and clearly want to take things further but can’t go through with it. Sims said in her autobiography that she wasn’t keen on this film.

* Bernard Bresslaw (9) is Bernie Hulke, who’s the lead trade unionist’s sidekick. The actor gets to say his old catchphrase – “I only arsked!” – at one point.

* Sid James (15) plays pipe-and-cardigan factory foreman Sid Plummer. It’s a deliberately more fatherly and less skirt-chasey character than James had been playing in recent films (it’s more like his character in sitcom Bless This House, which had started earlier that year). His sort-of romance with Chloe ends with a touching scene outside her house, which is really well performed by both actors.

* Kenneth Williams (20) plays WC Boggs, the ridiculously named owner of the factory. Williams is practically a different persona each time we see him – there’s no throughline at all. Was he just amusing himself?

* Charles Hawtrey (21) is flamboyant lavatory designer Charles Coote, who gets a throwaway subplot with his landlady.

* Hattie Jacques (11) plays Sid’s dippy wife, Beattie. She dotes on her budgie, who has a nack of picking winning horses when the runners are read out to him. Aside from a couple of scenes right at the end, Jacques’s stuff is with just Sid James.

Notable others:

* Kenneth Cope plays the officious shop steward, Vic Spanner, who calls his colleagues out on strike at the slightest sleight. (The exterior set of his house was a standing set left over from 1970 Billy Wilder film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.)

* Patsy Rowlands plays secretary Miss Withering.

* Jacki Piper crops up again, as tea girl Myrtle (Sid’s daughter).

* Richard O’Callaghan is Lewis Boggs, the boss’s son, who gets a romance plotline with Myrtle.

* Geoffrey Hughes appears as a minor factory worker.

* Bill Maynard is Chloe’s boring husband, Fred.

* Harry Towb plays an expert introducing a sex film, which Lewis takes Myrtle to see.

* Shirley Stelfox – who’s been in Emmerdale since 2000 – has a small role as a Playboy Bunny-type waitress.

* Julian Holloway plays a posh mate of Lewis’s.

* Margaret Nolan shows up in the second half as pigtailed Popsy, who joined the company immediately before the strike so gets to go on the outing to Brighton. The incidental music quotes Goldfinger (which Nolan appeared in) during one of her close-ups.

* Anouska Hempel appears at the end as a new canteen girl that Vic takes a shine to.

* Terry Scott was in the original cut of the movie, as a trade-union official called Mr Allcock, but his scenes were deleted before release. Also completely cut from the final print was Bill Pertwee as a nightclub owner.

Top totty: Margaret Nolan.

Kenneth Williams says: “Pinewood. Finished by 10.30, washed the hair etc, then foolishly went into the bar, and talked with Peter Rogers [producer] who insisted on my having a drink – I ended up having two so of course I was pissed by lunchtime! Kenneth Cope sat next to me at lunch and I’ve always thought him most exciting so of course I was coming out with all the stupid stuff like ‘What does it feel like to be so desirable?’ & generally embarrassing him dreadfully.” – Wednesday 7 April 1971 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p398)

Review: The management characters in this story are sympathetic, generally considerate and pragmatic, while the lefty shop steward is a bumbling, thin-skinned, rule-obsessed idiot. A film ridiculing trade unions and workers’ rights probably wasn’t the best idea in the world, and the film suffered at the box office because it was seen to be patronising its core audience. But politics and toilet humour aside – and there are a lot of lavatorial gags – this is actually an enjoyable throwback to the earlier Carry Ons. It’s more character-based and more grounded in an everyday scenario than most. After an hour there’s an inelegant turn in the story – the strike plotline downs tools and we then get a 30-minute daytrip sequence filmed in Brighton, which is infectious fun.

Eight bidets out of 10

Carry On Henry (1971)

Henry

King Henry VIII actually had two more wives than history has recorded: after taking against garlic-loving Marie, he fell for a young woman called Bettina…

What’s it spoofing? The multi-marriage life of Henry VIII, including the way it was presented in the 1969 movie Anne of a Thousand Days. Sid James sports a costume Richard Burton wore in that film (he also had a Burton hand-me-down in Carry On Cleo, of course).

Funniest moment: The king’s attempts to see Bettina in the nude.

The Big 10:

* Sid James (14) plays a bawdy and selfish King Henry. At one stage, producer Peter Rogers planned to cast Harry Secombe in the role.

* Kenneth Williams (19) is at the slimy end of his range as Thomas Cromwell.

* Joan Sims (16) plays Queen Marie of Normandy, the first of Henry’s previously unknown wives. She’s French so – SATIRE ALARM – likes eating garlic.

* Charles Hawtrey (20) plays Sir Roger de Lodgerley, the king’s advisor who also acts as his ‘taster’ – so decides to give Queen Marie a go! He’s later tortured for long periods, but doesn’t seem to mind too much.

* Kenneth Connor (10) is Lord Hampton of Wick, who plots to get rid of the king (in an anachronistic take on the Gunpowder Plot).

* Peter Butterworth (10) has a small role as Charles, the Earl of Bristol, whose daughter Bettina catches the eye of the king.

* Barbara Windsor (5) plays Bettina, who becomes a lady-in-waiting then later the king’s new wife. Windsor has to flash the flesh again.

Notable others:

* Terry Scott plays Cardinal Wolsey.

* Patsy Rowlands gets one line as a queen destined for a beheading.

* Margaret Nolan plays a local girl with a big cleavage who the king hunts like she’s a fox then seduces in a barn.

* Julian Holloway is Sir Thomas, an equerry.

* Bill Maynard plays Guy Fawkes. (The real Fawkes was born 23 years after Henry’s death.)

* David Prowse is a featured extra, playing a torturer.

* Peter Gilmore hams it up as Francis, King of France.

* David Essex originally had a small role, but his scene was cut out.

Top totty: Margaret Nolan.

Kenneth Williams says: “I read the script of Carry On Henry and I think it’s abysmal. My part (Cromwell) seems to equate to the thing I did in Don’t Lose Yr. Head. It is liberally sprinkled with filth.” – Sunday 13 September 1970 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p384)

“We saw the TV and it was Carry On Henry… amazing how well this was made! Everyone in it was competent and the sheer look of the thing was so professional.” – Thursday 4 January 1979 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p574)

“ITV showed Carry On Henry. Oh, dear! it was so bad in places… truly chronic dialogue… dreadful acting. Sid James had never been quite as bad as this. A collection of such rubbish you’re amazed it could ever have been stuck together. Only an audience of illiterates could ever have found this tripe amusing.” – Tuesday 19 January 1988 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p780)

Review: Sadly, you can sense the charm draining away from the series with this film. There are corny gags galore, but no woofers. And there’s very little comic momentum – it just kind of trundles along. (Around the time I rewatched this, I also saw ITV docudrama Cor Blimey! for the first time since it was screened in 2000. It tells the story of Sid James’s affair with Barbara Windsor and restages scenes from a few Carry On films, including Henry. A decent cast and some good dialogue distract you from the massive amount of fudging that goes on with historical accuracy – it has Bernard Bresslaw playing Cardinal Wolsey, for example.)

Five “In as much as I, Roger de Lodgerley, of Bedside Manor, Wilts, hereinafter referred to as the party of the first part, did unlawfully, with malice aforethought and without taking due precaution, on the night of October 4th last, admire, covet, blandish, cosset, seduce and otherwise get at Marie, spouse to Henry Tudor, hereinafter referred to as the party of the second part, I do now hereby solemnly declare, and in witness thereof I append my signature below, that the resulting issue, herein after referred to as the party of the third part, is the direct consequence of the joining together of the party of the first part’s and the party of the second part’s parts” out of 10

Carry On Again Christmas (TV special, ITV, 24 December 1970)

Again_christmas

Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins and others head for Treasure Island…

What’s it spoofing? Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883).

Funniest moment: Nipper the Flipper (Charles Hawtrey) wants to be the cabin boy. However, Silver says to him, “We’ve already got a cabin boy. You’ll have to be something else. How do you fancy the cook?” And Nipper replies, “Well, I’ll have to look at him first.”

The cast:

* Sid James: Long John Silver

* Kenneth Connor: Dr Livershake

* Charles Hawtrey: Old Blind Pew, Nightwatchman and Nipper the Flipper

* Terry Scott: Squire Treyhornay

* Bernard Bresslaw: Rollicky Bill

* Barbara Windsor: Jim Hawkins

* Wendy Richard: Kate

* Bob Todd: Ben Gunn and shipmate

Top totty: Barbara Windsor.

Review: Urgh. This tatty, bawdy TV special was a chore to sit through. It was made in black-and-white. Some sources claim this was to keep the budget down, but the recording date matches up with an ITV cameramen strike that also affected the first few episodes of Upstairs Downstairs. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t help. Neither does the decision to abandon the previous year’s sketch-show format and present one continuous – and very boring – story. The cast are trying to get mountainous laughs from molehill gags. They don’t succeed.

Two peg legs out of 10

Carry On Loving (1970)

Loving

The Wedded Bliss marriage agency brings together singletons, but not always successfully…

What’s it spoofing? Romance, dating agencies and the ‘free love’ attitudes of the era. At times the film feels like a precursor of sex comedies such as Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) and its sequels, though it’s not as vulgar or explicit.

Funniest moment: The Wedded Bliss office has a huge bank of computers – spinning discs of tape, panels of buttons and all that – which is used to determine a client’s ideal date. When owner Sidney Bliss punches in the requirements, however, we see the reverse side of the machine… where his wife, Sophie, selects a card and simply shoves it through a slot. (The computer prop was first used in Gerry Anderson’s TV show UFO.)

The Big 10:

* Hattie Jacques (10) plays agency manageress Sophie Plummett, who initially claims to be married to Sidney (all the better for seeming respectable).

* Sid James (13) is Sidney Bliss, who runs the company with his ‘wife’, Sophie. He spends a lot of time chasing client Esme.

* Joan Sims (15) plays Esme Crowfoot, a seamstress who was once on the agency books. She’s bored by Sidney’s advances.

* Kenneth Williams (18) plays Percival Snooper, a counsellor who works in marriage guidance at the Citizens Advice Bureau. He’s a bachelor so doesn’t have anything useful to say, so his boss tells him to get a wife; after he consults Wedded Bless, Sophie takes a shine to him.

* Peter Butterworth (9) has another one-scene cameo, this time as a sinister client.

* Charles Hawtrey (19) plays private detective James Bedsop, who dons a fake beard to follow Sidney into some train-station toilets and gets arrested.

* Bernard Bresslaw (8) shows up late on as Gripper Burke, Esme’s ex-boyfriend: a wrestler who’s jealous of any man she goes near.

Notable others:

* Terry Scott plays a client called Terence Philpot. He has a funny scene where he and his amorous date keep getting interrupted.

* Richard O’Callaghan joins the Carry On team: he’s essentially the latest attempt to replace Jim Dale. Bertram Muffet wants a wife so goes to Wedded Bliss. (O’Callaghan’s mum, Patricia Hayes, was in Carry On Again Doctor.)

* Kenny Lynch has a cameo as a bus conductor.

* Alexandra Dane’s in a one-gag scene about a busty woman and her short husband.

* Patricia Franklin and Bill Maynard play a rowing couple who Snooper fails to help.

* Joan Hickson shows up as the stuffy, fussy mother of Terence’s date. Ann Way from the Gourmet Night episode of Fawlty Towers is in the same sequence but doesn’t have any dialogue.

* Imogen Hassall plays Jenny, the initially dowdy but later sexed-up woman who Terence is paired off with.

* Jacki Piper from Carry On Up The Jungle plays Sally Martin, an actress who mistakes Bertram for a fashion photographer so strips down to her undies soon after meeting him.

* Bill Pertwee has a small role as a barman.

* Fred Griffiths – my mate Johnny’s great uncle – again plays a cab driver in a Carry On film.

* Julian Holloway plays a fashion photographer.

* Patsy Rowlands is very funny as Miss Dempsey, Snooper’s housekeeper who is not-so-secretly in love with him. When it looks like Snooper’s head is being turned by Sophie, Miss Dempsey ‘glams up’ to show him what he’s missing.

* James Beck from Dad’s Army was originally in the film, but his scene was cut out and is now sadly lost.

Top totty: Alexandra Dane, who also won this category for Up The Khyber. A pair of wins, so to speak.

Kenneth Williams says: “The script has arrived of Carry On Loving. I am offered the part of Snooper (which looks interchangeable with Charlie Hawtrey) which is certainly a small part – well no – a support I suppose, but really thankless. The end is a big party shambles where everyone throws custard pies and seems to be the bottom of the barrel, but for [writer] Talbot Rothwell bottoms are capable of infinite variety.” – Saturday 7 March 1970 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, pp370-371)

Review: It’s another sketch-show format – however, the threads are weaved together with more complexity than in, say, Carry On Regardless. (Coincidentally, the same street in Windsor was used as the agency HQ in both films.) The story ends with a lame food fight, but until then it’s generally good fun.

Seven Rogerham Mansions out of 10

Carry On Up the Jungle (1970)

Up_The_Jungle

A party of Edwardian explorers delve deep into the African interior, where they encounter savage natives, a tribe of sexy women, and man who’s lived in the jungle ever since being abandoned there as a baby…

What’s it spoofing? Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan, who first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes (then numerous sequels). A pair of recent Hammer films – One Million Years B.C. (1966) and Slave Girls (aka Prehistoric Women, 1967) – are also being spoofed. The movie was filmed as Carry On Jungle Boy.

Funniest moment: When under threat of attack by some savages, our characters decide to dig a big pit and lure them into it. They dig for hours, creating a massive hole in the ground. However, as Professor Tinkle then points out when they’ve dug about 10 feet down: “How do *we* get out of this?”

The Big 10:

* Joan Sims (14) plays Lady Evelyn Bagley, an aristocratic woman whose baby went missing years earlier in Africa. In an early scene, two male characters perv on her while she’s having a shower – it’s clearly not Joan Sims in the nudie long shots.

* Charles Hawtrey (18) plays Lady E’s husband, who’s been missing for years – when he’s found 67 minutes into the film, we learn he’s rebranded himself as King Tonka, leader of a local tribe of women.

* Kenneth Connor (9) is back after eight films away from the series. (He’d been busy in the West End.) Here, he plays fruity ornithologist Claude Chumley.

* Sid James (12) plays Bill Boosey, the leader of the expedition who likes a tipple and fancies Lady Evelyn.

* Bernard Bresslaw (7) – it pains me to relate – is blacked up and doing an accent as African guide Upsidasi. Late in the film, in an admittedly effective gag, the character ‘whites up’ so he can sneak into a camp to rescue the others.

Notable others:

* Frankie Howerd headlines the film, playing Professor Inigo Tinkle, an ornithologist. The film is needlessly topped and tailed by scenes of him giving a lecture about his expedition.

* Jacki Piper debuts in the series. June, Evelyn’s maid, meets the Tarzan-like character and soon becomes his Jane. It’s the kind of part Angela Douglas was playing a few films ago.

* Terry Scott is horrendously miscast as Cecil Bagley, aka the Jungle Boy. He only got the part after Jim Dale turned it down, thinking it was a boring role. Scott sucks his stomach in and spends most of the film in a loincloth. He has little dialogue, and the character has some kind of Oedipal fixation on tits. Scott was 42 when this film was made. His parents are played by Joan Sims (39) and Charles Hawtrey (55).

* Valerie Leon plays the leader of the local ‘Amazonians’, the Lubby-Dubby tribe from the Lost World of Aphrodisia. “White men!” she says, practically moistening her knickers, when she first sees the regulars.

Top totty: Valerie Leon, for the third time.

Kenneth Williams says: “In the evening I stayed in to watch Carry On Up The Jungle which was a Carry On which I didn’t appear in. It was quite funny and at one point I was laughing along. I was staggered to see what they got away with!! A snake going up the skirt of Joan Sims! & her look of horror turning to delight!! Kenny Connor was quite marvelous, and Terry Scott was excellent as Tarzan. Sid James doing all the same old tired automaton recitations… nothing at all to do with acting… one asked oneself: ‘How of earth did he get away with it?’ but of course he did, & the incredible thing about his ‘career’ is that it spans everything from South African Boxing [note: this ‘fact’ seems to have been made up by Sid James], the American musical, Revue (Touch & Go) and conventional English theatre, and radio, and TV, and v successful film career. All built on a ‘persona’ but nothing to do with talent.” – Saturday 3 April 1976 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p513)

Review: Even by Carry On standards, the comedy is getting puerile now. The film has a low-ambition studio-bound feel about it, and is tired and pretty charmless. And racist. So, so racist. The worst one so far.

Four Oozlum birds out of 10

Carry On Christmas (TV special, ITV, 24 December 1969)

Christmas1969

On Christmas Eve, skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts and shown the error of his ways…

What’s it spoofing? Charles Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol (1843), though it’s a *very* loose adaptation and goes off on some distinctly non-Dickensian tangents (Frankenstein, Dracula, Cinderella…).

Funniest moment: Frankie Howerd, playing poet Robert Browning, arrives halfway through and takes over. The show basically becomes Up Pompeii! for 12 minutes and it’s great fun. (Talbot Rothwell wrote both this special and that sitcom, which had only had one episode at this point.)

The cast: There are eight actors in Carry On Christmas who play 27 roles between them, including…

* Sid James: Ebenezer Scrooge

* Peter Butterworth: a beggar, Dracula, a convent girl and an ugly sister

* Bernard Bresslaw: a town crier, Bob Cratchit, Frankenstein’s monster, the Spirit of Christmas Future, a convent girl, a hippy and a policeman

* Charles Hawtrey: the Spirit of Christmas Past, an angel, a convent girl and Buttons

* Hattie Jacques: a nun, Elizabeth Barrett and a passerby

* Terry Scott: Dr Frank N Stein, Elizabeth’s dad, a convent girl and an ugly sister

* Barbara Windsor: another monster, the Sprit of Christmas Present and Cinderella

* Frankie Howerd, as mentioned, plays Robert Browning. Well, actually he plays himself. He breaks the fourth wall, talks to camera, comments on the fiction, addresses the crew… He’s the best thing in the whole piece and returns at the end to play a terrifyingly dragged-up Fairy Godmother.

Top totty: An attractive but uncredited actress has a tiny appearance as a girl who Scrooge has hidden in a wardrobe.

Review: Shown on ITV on Christmas Eve 1969, this patchy special got 18 million viewers. There’s a general air of a shambolic, quickly rehearsed panto (some corpsing has been left in), which is a feeling that’s hammered home by a climactic Cinderella spoof with everyone talking in rhyming couplets. It’s not really like any Carry On film, especially given how many characters each actor plays, and it’s very bizarre to see the team shot on video and playing up to a studio audience.

Seven noses out of 10

Carry On Again Doctor (1969)

AgainDoctor

After an embarrassingly drunken evening, a British doctor is sent off to a medical mission in Azure Bay on the isolated Beatific Islands. There he discovers a treatment for rapid dieting, so returns to the UK to exploit it…

What’s it spoofing? The medical profession again, for a third time. The movie also satirises colonial missionary work. The script began as an entry for the rival Doctor series of films, but was then rejigged by writer Talbot Rothwell as a Carry On. The filming location used for the UK hospital is the same as that in Carry On Doctor (Maidenhead Town Hall), though they’re fictionally different places.

Funniest moment: In the medical mission, we hear jungle drums beating out an ominous message. Dr Nookey nervously asks Gladstone what it means, so he translates: “Manchester United 6, Chelsea 1… Arsenal 5, Wolves 0…”

The Big 10:

* Kenneth Williams (17) plays the haughty Frederick Carver, a surgeon who wants to form his own private practice.

* Charles Hawtrey (17) appears as Dr Ernest Stoppidge, a senior house surgeon. Near the end, he has to drag up (and does so reasonably convincingly).

* Hattie Jacques (9) is a rather perfunctory matron called Miss Soaper. Coincidentally, that’s the same surname that Kenneth Williams’s character had in the previous film.

* Jim Dale (10), back after two films off, plays Dr Jimmy Nookey. It’s an OTT performance of physical double-takes and exaggerated expressions. Nookey flirts with and woos an actress, and also has some big slapstick stunts.

* Joan Sims (13) plays wealthy private patient Ellen Moore. Carver wants her to invest in his clinic so he woos her.

* Peter Butterworth (8) worked on the film for a single day. He has a one-gag cameo as a patient. Seeing him shuffling queasily into the waiting area, two doctors have a go at guessing what’s wrong with him. He replies: “Let me see now. You thought it was a slipped disc? I’m afraid you were wrong. And you thought it was hemorrhoids. I’m afraid you were wrong. As a matter of fact, I thought I was going to break wind. I’m afraid I was wrong.”

* Barbara Windsor (4) plays an actress called Goldie Locks (real name: Maude Boggins) who comes into the hospital with a bruised back. She’s virtually naked in her first scene, and then appears actually nude – seen from the rear – later on. After going out with Jimmy, she wants to get married but he fails to spot her hints. Director Gerald Thomas was annoyed with the actress for losing weight before the filming and therefore undercutting a gag about Goldie advertising Bristol’s Bouncing Baby Food.

* Sid James (11) doesn’t join the story till fairly late on, playing the orderly at the medical mission: Gladstone Screwer. He’s skimming funds and living the life of Riley with his five (and counting) wives. When he comes to England, he lusts after Miss Soaper.

Notable others:

* Patsy Rowlands appears in a Carry On film for the first time. Miss Fosdick is the put-upon assistant of Kenneth Williams’s character who, after being stranded on the Beatific Islands, chooses to stay there.

* Patricia Hayes gets one scene as Mrs Beasley, a hospital patient who seemingly comes in every day with one complaint or another.

* Wilfred Bramble cameos (mutely) as a dirty old man. His scene is scored by the theme from Steptoe & Son.

* Peter Gilmore plays Henry, a doctor.

* Valerie Leon appears as Nookey’s leggy, cleavage-thrusting secretary, Deirdre.

Top totty: Valerie Leon again.

Kenneth Williams says: “Pinewood at 8. Sometimes on this picture, just before a ‘take’, I’ve suddenly had the feeling ‘What on earth am I doing?’ and it’s almost unnerving. I realise that you get nervous from realising the importance of what you’re doing. I’m all right when I have the jokes – then just go on and do it – without self-consciousness.” – Wednesday 19 March 1969 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p346)

“To the Metropole to see Carry On Again Doctor. It was very good indeed, and should have got excellent reviews from the press. It moves along at a spanking pace, the cutting is excellent and the situations all hold. My performance as Carver, the surgeon, is remarkably authoritative and the incredibly banal lines which I have to say are made quite acceptable by the sort of style and panache I bring to the role. I was surprised and pleased, save for the fact that the greying hair was quite noticeably at times. Alas! my youth has left me. This should be the last film I do.” – Wednesday 10 December 1969 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p363)

Review: Unlike the first two medical Carry Ons, this focuses on the hospital staff; the patients are mostly just cameos. It also has a slightly nasty, cynical streak, which has been rare in this series. It’s essentially a film about people being selfish, lying, manipulating and cheating. It’s all thunderingly sexist too. The story is in three sections: an opening at the hospital, which is full of Christmas-cracker-quality jokes; a segment set out in the wilds of Nebulous Foreign Location yet filmed in a small studio; and finally a farce-like climax in Nookey’s clinic, which sadly never really takes off. The film has its moments, but is generally a bit of a disappointment.

Six jiggery-pokeries out of 10

Carry On Camping (1969)

Camping

Various holidaymakers – including two plumbers, their girlfriends, a coachload of young girls, a shrieking wife and her unhappy husband – head for Paradise campsite…

What’s it spoofing? Campsite etiquette. A sequence at the end also pokes fun at the then-contemporary flower-power movement. The title is a pun, of course.

Funniest moment: Sid, Joan, Bernie and Anthea arrive at Paradise, which they think is a nudist camp. A sign at the entrance reads ‘All asses must be shown’. Sid asks a nearby guy where the owner is. “He’s gone for a pee,” is the answer. The owner then walks up, carrying a letter P, which is nailed before the word ‘asses’ on the sign.

The Big 10:

* Joan Sims (12) plays Joan Fussey, a woman who lives with her nagging mother.

* Sid James (10) plays Sid Boggle – a classic (maybe *the* classic) Sid James cackling letch. He wants to get girlfriend Joan to a nudist colony, but soon switches his attentions to the much younger Babs. In the tradition of the stereotype, he never actually gets any.

* Bernard Bresslaw (6) plays Bernie Lugg, Sid’s mate/sidekick. He keeps putting his foot in it by saying the wrong thing. Like in Carry On Doctor, he’s paired off with Dilys Laye.

* Charles Hawtrey (16) is the never-quite-all-there backpacker Charlie Muggins.

* Barbara Windsor (3) plays schoolgirl – yes, schoolgirl – Babs. We first see her having a scrap with another uniformed girl. Next she’s spotted making out with a grown man. She later outrageously flirts with Sid, a man three times her age, then her bikini top famously flies off while she’s doing some exercises. You can practically hear political correctness getting ready for a fight.

* Hattie Jacques (8) gets a variance on her standard ‘matron’ role, as Miss Haggerd, the matron of girls school Chayste Place. She’s attracted to her colleague Soaper.

* Kenneth Williams (16) plays Dr Soaper, the naive head of the school. Aside from one or two moments, he seems blissfully unaware that his charges might be attractive – he’s certainly aware of Miss Haggerd’s feelings, though, and has to keep putting her off.

* Peter Butterworth (7) plays the aptronymic owner of the campsite, Joshua Fiddler.

Notable others:

* Dilys Laye plays Anthea, Bernie’s slightly prudish maybe-girlfriend who seems to be ill most of the time.

* Terry Scott appears as Peter Potter, a put-upon suburban husband who wants an exotic foreign holiday but is forced to go camping with his wife.

* Betty Marsden plays Harriet, Peter’s irritatingly loud and brash other half who never pays him much attention. She has an horrendous laugh.

* Valerie Leon cameos as a sexy sales assistant in a camping-equipment shop.

* Julian Holloway’s role as coach driver Jim Tanner was reportedly hacked down in post-production (he certainly seems to hang around unnecessarily, as if his contribution is now missing). Does the character’s name mean the part was meant for Jim Dale?

* Patricia Franklin appears as the pregnant daughter of a local farmer. Franklin’s daughter in real life, Charlotte Hatherley, was in Britpop band Ash between 1997 and 2006, and also used to go out with director Edgar Wright, who cast Franklin in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.

Top totty: Valerie Leon.

Kenneth Williams says: “Gerald [Thomas, director] took me aside and said we’d been friends long enough for him to talk frankly about my work, and that I had been bad in the scene because I had been mugging & pulling faces and lost the ‘character’ of the Headmaster & that the scene had lacked credibility because of this. Peter Rodgers [producer] said ‘It was like watching Kenneth Williams doing himself on television, instead of playing a character…’ Of course by this time the ego was on the ground and covered in mud.” – Thursday 24 October 1968 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p336)

“At one point I said to Gerald ‘You can leave me out of the next film you make’ and he said ‘In the next one you are playing a coloured witch doctor’ and I replied ‘Don’t bother to ask me’ and Barbara [Windsor] cried out ‘I’ll do it Gerald’ which was quite funny.” – Wednesday 30 October 1968 (The Kenneth Williams Diaries, p336)

Review: The story begins with characters watching a nudist film (which is stock footage but has newly filmed close-ups of a pretty, young, topless blonde)… Barbara Windsor’s boobs pop out a couple of times… The plot’s entire thrust, as it were, is two middle-aged men lusting after sexualised schoolgirls… The amount of sex in this series has been tantrically increasing for a few films now – not actual sex, of course, but characters being obsessed with it – and now we reach, um, a peak. There’s also a palpable feel of a ‘Carry On family’. Many characters are given the same names of the actors, while there are strong familiar stereotypes in cackling Sid James, giggling Barbara Windsor, gormless Bernard Bresslaw, repressed Kenneth Williams and so on. On the downside, it’s a shame that scenes of people on holiday were famously filmed in drab weather, while the hippy festival that climaxes the story might have been topical yet feels tacked on to provide an end sequence. But the film has a great zip to it with many quick, punchy scenes and it’s often very amusing.

Eight bikini tops out of 10