A Perfect Carry On

30 September 1998
Channel 4
51 mins

Introducted by Barbara Windsor
Produced & Directed by Rory Sheehan
Tiger Aspect Productions

Press Release:

Take a band of beautiful girls, 'real' men... a bucket full of slapstick, innuendo and a lot of tickle and you've got A Perfect Carry On that's bound to put a 'twinkle in your eye and lead in your pencil.'

Tonight BARBARA WINDSOR celebrates 40 years of Carry On with connoisseurs, JANET STREET PORTER, DALE WINTON, MALCOLM BRADBURY, RICHARD O'BRIEN and PHILIP DODD, in an indulgent, nostalgic trip back through some of the best years. And as well as coming up with the perfect formula that went into their making, Barbara also reveals some risky secrets including the one when Sid James taught her more than just horse riding in Carry On Dick.

This is a saucy search, rich in archive material for the Holy Grail of British Comedy; the unbeatable recipe that in the '50s and '60s turned out hit after hit comedy. It will showcase classic moments from Carry on Khyber, Carry on Up the Jungle, Carry on Cabby, Carry On Henry, Carry on Constable and many more clips from the years when it was still cool to be politically incorrect. "It was amazing just how many of them were set in either the school gym or on the beach. Any excuse," says Janet Street Porter.

Over two decades these films were the wayward children of the British film industry that set out to make a mockery of everything everybody held dear. Today's rich parodies would include Carry On Millennium Dome, Carry on Titanic, Carry on Yeltsin and Carry on Car Boot Sale. Traditionally however, they thumbed their noses at the film critics and gave people what they wanted, unpretentious entertainment that was naughty but nice and good clean predictable fun.

"I remember I was always Auntie Barbara to one of my friend's sons who was 12 or 13 at the time. He used to say - 'Allo Auntie Barbara how are you?' One day he couldn't look at me because he had seen Camping and it was one of his first magic little moments," says Barbara.

Compiling all the ingredients of the Perfect Carry On recipe she explains: "First you need an idea - a send up of a national institution one like the NHS, the police, a historical period or just taking the mickey out of a film star. Add to that a script, a bucket load of double entendres, puns and innuendo. Assemble your tried and trusted cast, Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques, me and Bernard Williams, a budget of a couple of hundred quid and a few weeks to film it in."

And what have you got? Bawdiness, infantile humour, a brilliant ensemble of comic actors, big boobs, farting, sex, sex, sex, pantomime, atrocious scripts, appalling gags and cheap and cheerful film sets. Kew Gardens, Pinewood Studios and Snowdonia often masqueraded as locations for African jungles, British camping sites and the Khyber Pass. "Wherever they were set", says Janet Street Porter, "the Carry On films makes it feel and look like what it was to grow up in Britain - primus stoves and wind blowing into egg sandwiches. If it was Egypt, it was probably filmed at Camber Sands."



I never thought I'd say (or type) this but thank the Lord for Dale Winton and Janet Street Porter! They both had nothing but praise for the films and actually managed to get over that they are so likeable because they are still very funny. Winton especially obviously loved them to bits. Barbara Windsor didn't do much in the programme apart from come out with the usual stories about Spying etc and have a quick bitch about Columbus - As usual the facts given in the programme were sometimes wrong but at least it showed the films in a positive light.

George Seaton