The Carry On franchise mainly consists of thirty low-budget British comedy
features, produced from 1958 to 1978 - a final title (Carry On Columbus) was
released in 1992. Thames Television later screened four Carry On Christmas
specials between 1969 and 1973, followed by Carry On Laughing from ATV in
1975. The series also spawned three West End (1973-75) and regional stage
plays (1976 and 1992), and even an album in 1971.
Anglo Amalgamated Films produced the first dozen titles (until 1966), and the
Rank Organisation made the remaining nineteen. Writer Norman Hudis scripted
the first six films, then was replaced by Talbot Rothwell who penned the next
twenty. Every film was made at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, with
most location filming undertaken nearby.
The films' humour (albeit dated and sexist by modern standards) was in the
comic tradition of the British music halls and bawdy seaside postcards.
Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas made all thirty-one films,
and drew on their own repertory company of actors that included Kenneth
Williams (who made 25 appearances), Joan Sims (24), Charles Hawtrey (23),
Sid James (19), Kenneth Connor (17), Peter Butterworth (16), Hattie Jacques,
Bernard Bresslaw (14 each), Jim Dale, Peter Gilmore (11 each), Barbara
Windsor (10), Patsy Rowlands (9), Jack Douglas (8), and Terry Scott (7).
Talbot (1916-1981) wrote Carry On Jack but his first screenplay for the run was called Call Me A Cab which became Carry On Cabby, the seventh entry in the run and the first not to star Williams. Series stalwarts James, Jacques, Hawtrey, Connor and Liz Fraser all returned here. Dale debuted here, whilst Esme Cannon (1905-1972) made her fourth and final appearance.
James also starred in the contemporary BBC drama Taxi! (with his Carry On
co-star Bill Owen), and the filming of Cabby was recreated for the BBC Four
serial, Hattie (with Jacques depicted by Ruth Jones).
Released in mid-1963, the comedy was shown again on Film4 today, and
featured Amanda Barrie, and four Doctor Who cast connections:
- for Gilmore (Dancy) and Norman Mitchell (Businessman) see Carry On Cleo
- Geoffrey Colvile (Printer) was Perry in The Evil of the Daleks
- Penelope Lee (Kisser) provided the Computer voice for Revelation of the Daleks
- for costume designer Joan Ellacot see Carry On Cruising