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The ''Carry On'' series primarily consists of 31 British comedy motion pictures (1958–1978 and 1992), four TV Christmas specials, a television series of thirteen episodes, and three stage plays. The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of music hall and bawdy seaside postcards. Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas drew on a regular group of actors that included Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas, and Jim Dale. The ''Carry On'' series contains the largest number of films of any British series, and it is the second-longest British film series, although with a fourteen-year break (1978–1992) between the 30th and 31st entries. (The ''James Bond'' film series is the longest-running, though with fewer films, 25, as of 2020). Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd produced twelve films (1958–1966), the Rank Organisation made eighteen (1966–1978) and United International Pictures made one (1992). Rogers and Thomas made all 31 films, usually on time and to a strict budget, and often employed the same crew. Between 1958 and 1992, the series employed seven writers, most often Norman Hudis (1958–1962) and Talbot Rothwell (1963–1974). In between the films, Rogers and Thomas produced four Christmas specials for television in 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1973, a thirteen-episode television series in 1975, and various West End stage shows that later toured the regions. All the films were made at Pinewood Studios near Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. Budgetary constraints meant that a large proportion of the location filming was undertaken close to the studios in and around south Buckinghamshire, including areas of Berkshire and Middlesex. However, by the late 1960s (at the height of the series' success) more ambitious plots occasionally necessitated locations further afield, which included Snowdonia National Park, Wales (with the foot of Mount Snowdon standing in for the Khyber Pass in ''Carry On Up the Khyber''), and the beaches of the Sussex coast doubling as Saharan sand dunes in ''Follow That Camel''.

Background

''Carry On Sergeant'' (1958) is about a group of recruits doing National Service; its title, a command commonly issued by army officers to their sergeants in the course of their routine duties, was in keeping with its setting. The film was sufficiently successful to inspire a similar venture, again focusing on an established and respected profession in ''Carry On Nurse''. When that too was successful, further forays with ''Carry On Teacher'' and ''Carry On Constable'' established the series. This initial 'pattern' was broken with the fifth film in 1961, ''Carry On Regardless'', but it still followed a similar plot to that of many of the early films—a small group of misfit newcomers to a job make comic mistakes, but come together to succeed in the end. The remainder of the series developed with increased use of the British comic traditions of music hall and bawdy seaside postcards. Many titles parodied more serious films, such as their tongue-in-cheek homages to James Bond (''Spying''), westerns (''Cowboy''), and Hammer horror films (''Screaming!''). The most impressive of these was ''Carry On Cleo'' (1964), in which the budget-conscious production team made full use of some impressive sets that had been intended for the Burton-and-Taylor epic ''Cleopatra'' (1963). ''Carry On Emmannuelle'', inspired by the soft-porn ''Emmanuelle'', brought to an end the original ''Carry On'' run. The stock-in-trade of ''Carry On'' humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British institutions and customs, such as the National Health Service (''Nurse'', ''Doctor'', ''Again Doctor'', ''Matron'' and the proposed ''Again Nurse''), the monarchy (''Henry''), the Empire (''Up the Khyber''), the armed forces (''Sergeant'', ''England'', ''Jack'' and the proposed ''Flying'' and ''Escaping''), the police (''Constable'') and the trade unions (''At Your Convenience'') as well as camping (''Camping''), foreign holidays (''Cruising'', ''Abroad''), beauty contests (''Girls''), caravan holidays (''Behind''), and the education system (''Teacher'') amongst others. Although the films were very often panned by critics, they mostly proved very popular with audiences. In 2007, the pun "Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me", spoken by Kenneth Williams (playing Julius Caesar) in ''Carry on Cleo'', was voted the funniest one-line joke in film history. A film had appeared in 1957 under the title ''Carry On Admiral''; although this was a comedy in similar vein (and even featured Joan Sims in the cast) it has no connection to the ''Carry On'' series itself. The much earlier 1937 film ''Carry On London'' is also unrelated (though it coincidentally starred future ''Carry On'' performer Eric Barker). The cast were poorly paid—around £5,000 per film for a principal performer.Butters, Wes and Davies, Russell. ''Kenneth Williams Unseen'', HarperCollins, 2008 In his diaries Kenneth Williams lamented this, and criticised several of the movies despite his declared fondness for the series as a whole. Peter Rogers, the series' producer, acknowledged: "Kenneth was worth taking care of, because while he cost very little ../nowiki> he made a very great deal of money for the franchise."


Cast




Filmography



''Carry On'' films

* ''Carry On Sergeant'' (1958) * ''Carry On Nurse'' (1959) * ''Carry On Teacher'' (1959) * ''Carry On Constable'' (1960) * ''Carry On Regardless'' (1961) * ''Carry On Cruising'' (1962) * ''Carry On Cabby'' (1963) * ''Carry On Jack'' (1964) * ''Carry On Spying'' (1964) * ''Carry On Cleo'' (1964) * ''Carry On Cowboy'' (1965) * ''Carry On Screaming!'' (1966) * ''Don't Lose Your Head'' (1966) * ''Follow That Camel'' (1967) * ''Carry On Doctor'' (1967) * ''Carry On Up the Khyber'' (1968) * ''Carry On Camping'' (1969) * ''Carry On Again Doctor'' (1969) * ''Carry On Up the Jungle'' (1970) * ''Carry On Loving'' (1970) * ''Carry On Henry'' (1971) * ''Carry On at Your Convenience'' (1971) * ''Carry On Matron'' (1972) * ''Carry On Abroad'' (1972) * ''Carry On Girls'' (1973) * ''Carry On Dick'' (1974) * ''Carry On Behind'' (1975) * ''Carry On England'' (1976) * ''That's Carry On!'' (1977) * ''Carry On Emmannuelle'' (1978) * ''Carry On Columbus'' (1992)

Unmade films

Several other films were planned, scripted (or partly scripted) or entered pre-production before being abandoned: * ''What a Carry On...'', 1961 * ''Carry On Smoking'', 1961. The story revolved around a fire station, and various attempts to train a bungling group of new recruits. * ''Carry On Spaceman'', 1961 and again in 1962. See section below. * ''Carry On Flying'', 1962. Scripted by Norman Hudis, about a group of RAF recruits. It got as far as pre-production before being abandoned. Jim Dale was to have a starring role. * ''Carry On Robin'', 1965. A planned spoof of Robin Hood starring the "Carry On regulars" was outlined by Rogers and registered with the British Film Producers Association but never pursued. * ''Carry On Again Nurse'', 1967 and two other attempts. See section below . * ''Carry On Escaping'', 1973. Scripted by Talbot Rothwell, a spoof of World War II escape films. The complete script is included in the book ''The Complete A–Z of Everything Carry On''. * ''Carry On Dallas'', 1980. A planned spoof of the popular American soap opera ''Dallas''. A script was written and casting offers made to Williams, Connor, Douglas, Sims, Hawtrey and Dale. The production was abandoned when Lorimar Productions demanded a royalty fee of 20 times the total production budget. * ''Carry On Down Under'', 1981. Gerald Thomas did some location scouting while on holiday in Australia and spoke to the Australian Film Commission. The production was abandoned when finance fell through. A complete script was written by Vince Powell and is included in the book ''Fifty Years of Carry On''.


''Carry On Spaceman''


''Carry On Spaceman'' was to be released shortly after ''Carry On Regardless'', in 1961. It was scripted by Norman Hudis, and was to satirise interest in the Space Race from the Western world's point of view. The cast was to consist of three would-be astronauts who constantly bungled on their training and their mission into outer space; most likely the trio would have been played by the trinity of Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor, and Leslie Phillips that had been established in ''Carry On Constable''. Attempts to revive ''Carry On Spaceman'' in 1962 under Denis Gifford, again by Hudis, failed, and the project was subsequently abandoned.


''Carry On Again Nurse''


Three scripts were written for an intended sub-sequel to the successful ''Carry On Nurse'', the second instalment of the ''Carry On'' series. The first film was renamed, while the other two were never made. The first intended ''Carry On Again Nurse'' was made in 1967, but released as ''Carry On Doctor''. ''Carry On Nurse'' was alluded to twice in ''Carry On Doctor'', firstly with the sub-titles (one reading ''Nurse Carries On Again'' and ''Death of a Daffodil''), and again in a later scene with Frankie Howerd commenting on a vase of daffodils in his ward. A second attempt at ''Carry On Again Nurse'' came in 1979, after the series left Rank Films and moved to Hemdale. A completed script had been written by George Layton and Jonathan Lynn in 1977. It was cancelled due to the financial loss of ''Carry On Emmannuelle''. The final attempt to create ''Carry On Again Nurse'' came in 1988, with a script written by Norman Hudis. It was to revolve around a hospital set for closure, and set to star original actors Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor and Joan Sims, with Sims filling in the role of matron that was previously held by Hattie Jacques. The end of the film was going to be a tribute to Jacques, with Sims turning around a photograph of the actress and asking "Well, did I do alright?" (the script is included in the book ''The Lost Carry Ons''). Production was scheduled to begin in June 1988, but the death of Williams two months previously, followed by that of Hawtrey six months later – combined with a budget of £1.5 million, which was deemed too expensive – proved to be the end of the film and it was cancelled.


''Carry On London''


A new film, ''Carry On London'', was announced in 2003 by producer Peter Rogers and producer James Black but remained in pre-production well into 2008. The script was signed off by the production company in late March 2008, and "centred on a limousine company ferrying celebrities to an awards show". The film had several false starts, with the producers and cast changing extensively over time. Only the little-known Welsh actress Jynine James remained a consistent name from 2003 to 2008. Danniella Westbrook, David Jason, Shaun Williamson and Burt Reynolds were also once attached to the project. It was announced in May 2006 that Vinnie Jones and Shane Richie were to star in the film, which was to be directed by Peter Richardson, though Ed Bye later replaced him as the named director. At the 50th anniversary party held at Pinewood Studios in March 2008, Peter Rogers confirmed that he was planning a series of ''Carry On'' films after ''London'', subject to the success of the first. In early 2009, ''Carry On London'' or ''Carry On Bananas'' was once again 'back on', with Charlie Higson attached as director, and a different, more modern, cast list involving Paul O'Grady (as the acidic Kenneth Williamsesque character), Jynine James, Lenny Henry, Justin Lee Collins, Jennifer Ellison (as the saucy Barbara Windsor type), Liza Tarbuck (paralleling Hattie Jacques), Meera Syal, James Dreyfus, and Frank Skinner (filling in the Sid James role). Despite new media interest and sets being constructed at Pinewood film studios, the film once again was put on hold, and the project was abandoned after the death of Peter Rogers in April 2009.


Reboot


In May 2016, producer Jonathan Sothcott of Hereford Films announced plans for a new series of ''Carry On'' films, beginning with ''Carry On Doctors'' and ''Carry On Campus''. As of early 2017, no news had surfaced on whether the planned reboot was still going ahead. On 12 April 2017, Sothcott confirmed to thehollywoodnews that he was no longer involved with the film series. As of September 2019, three ''Carry On'' films were set to be filmed back-to-back, after Brian Baker won the rights to the movies following a legal battle with ITV earlier that year. Production of the new films had been planned to take place in spring 2020. However, filming was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and little more was heard about the project until after the death of Barbara Windsor in December 2020, when Brian Baker announced that he will be using old footage of the actress in the film, saying "Barbara will be making an appearance." Baker told the ''Daily Star Sunday'' that ‘we have got two new stories and we are looking to do one of the old ones again to bring it up to modern day quality - probably ''Carry On Sergeant.’''


Television


The characters and comedy style of the ''Carry On'' film series were adapted to a television series titled ''Carry On Laughing'', and several Christmas specials.

Stage shows




Album


In 1971, Music for Pleasure released a long-playing record, ''Oh! What a Carry On!'' (MFP MONO 1416), featuring songs performed by Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, and Dora Bryan.

Documentaries

A 50-minute television documentary, ''What's a Carry On?'', was made in 1998 for the 40th anniversary of the first film. It included archive clips, out-takes and interviews with surviving cast members. It was included as an extra on the DVD release of ''Carry On Emmannuelle''. In November 2003, a TV series titled ''Popcorn'' on S4C ran a ''Carry On'' special documentary and interviews, featuring Jynine James. This was in respect of a new ''Carry On'' film being produced by Peter Rogers called Carry On London. It featured interviews and clips of the past ''Carry On'' films and went into detail about the new film and cast. However, despite the script being signed off and sets constructed at Pinewood film studios, the project was shelved, owing to the untimely death of producer Peter Rogers. A two-hour radio documentary, ''Carry On Forever!'', presented by Leslie Phillips, was broadcast in two parts on BBC Radio 2 on 19 and 20 July 2010. A three-part television retrospective with the same title, narrated by Martin Clunes, was shown on ITV3 in the UK over Easter 2015.

Critical reception




References in other media


The success of the ''Carry On'' series occasionally led to affectionate parodies of the series by other contemporary comedians: * In ''The Spitting Image Book'', released in 1985, there is a reference to a fictitious made-for-TV film entitled ''Carry On Up the Rectum'', satirising the transparency of the puns used for ''Carry On Up the Khyber'' and possibly ''Carry On Up the Jungle''. * Harry Enfield's mockumentary ''Norbert Smith: A Life'' (1989) includes a clip from an imagined ''Carry On'' film, ''Carry On Banging'' (a parody of the more risque approach of the later ''Carry On'' films, such as ''Carry On Dick'' and ''Carry On Emmannuelle''). The setting is the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp of the 1980s, and featured Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Kenneth Connor. * ''That Mitchell and Webb Look'' features the sketch "Bawdy 1970s Hospital", which portrays a stereotypical ''Carry On''-style hospital with frequent use of double entendre, except by one doctor who has trouble fitting in as he comes out with simple obscenity, unable to understand the distinction. * A "flash frame" of the end shot of ''Carry On Cowboy'' is used in series two of ''The Young Ones''. * In Tom Holt's eighth Portable Door novel ''When It's a Jar'' (2013) the ''Carrion'' franchise offers a "uniquely quirky blend of spatterfest zombie horror and traditional British slapstick-and-innuendo comedy" with titles such as ''Carrion Nursing'', ''Carrion Camping'' and ''Carrion Up the Khyber''. * In The Goodies' book ''The Making of the Goodies Disaster Movie'', the trio visit the set of ''Carry On Christ'' in order to get advice from the Carry On team, while they are filming a scene relating to 'The Feeding of the Five Thousand', with some of the cast noted as Kenneth Williams playing 'Pontius Pilate', Charles Hawtrey as 'A Wise Virgin', Barbara Windsor as 'Not a Wise Virgin' and Hattie Jacques as 'The Five Thousand'. * Clips from several ''Carry On'' films are used in ''In The Movies It Doesn't Hurt'' (1975), a short film on laboratory safety for schools starring Bernard Bresslaw.

Home media

The ''Carry On'' film series has had numerous individual releases on VHS, and a number of VHSs were released in an eighteen VHS box-set on 1 September 2003. The film series was first released as a DVD box-set on 1 September 2008, by ITV Studios Home Entertainment. Five years later, on 7 October 2013, it was re-released with smaller packaging. All the movies contained in the collection are also available to buy individually. Since 2013, StudioCanal has released a number of the ''Carry On'' films on Blu-ray, beginning with ''Carry On Screaming!'' (21 October 2013), ''Carry On Cleo'' (5 May 2014), ''Carry On Cowboy'' (2 June 2014) and ''Carry On Jack'' (7 July 2014).


References




Notes



Bibliography

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External links



Carry On Films at The Whippit Inn
Detailed information on the ''Carry On'' film series
What a Carry On
A tribute to the series
Carry on Films
at IMDb * {{DEFAULTSORT:Carry On (Franchise) Category:British film series Category:Comedy film franchises Category:Film series introduced in 1958