Channel 4 Carry On Weekend

29 August 1998/30 August 1998
Channel 4

Firstly, from the press and TV it seems that the Carry Ons were crap, and that we should blot them from our cultural history. Secondly, the actors and actresses in the films were all social misfits of one kind or another. Thirdly, anyone who enjoyed them must be suffering form some sort of mental breakdown. Well that is how it came across to me. Apart form the odd person praising the films for what they were, good fun, and to start with excellent family entertainment, most were going on about how this country has much more to offer, how we should be more like the Americans etc., and that we should far from enjoy the films, but deride them. (The fact that most of the people who were knocking them seemed to be these Luvs that are out of touch without the British public and don't have much of a success themselves is interesting).

Whilst the films did get worse as the series progressed, resulting in the last few being virtually unwatchable (I had to turn off England recently as I couldn't watch it!!!), they were still highly popular and very funny in a harmless way. Today's comedy seems to be less innocent with no implied smut, just bucket loads of actual smut. They were not politically correct, but then most comedy, good comedy, isn't. Satire is far from politically correct, innuendo works on two levels and cannot be categorized as either filth or innocent statement, so that, with it's ambiguity, is now also labeled PinC. Racism, sexism, and any other ism that has been invented causes too much offence now for any of the classic comedy subjects to remain PC. I fell sorry for the world today as if this continues then we shall not have anything to amuse us unless it contains a nanny trailer beforehand to say that we should only laugh at certain things and should be deeply offended by others.

As for the regulars, it seems very easy to assassinate the characters of those that have been dead for a number of years. KW was virtually lynched by the Reputations program and continues to be because people cannot get a balanced view of him. In their ignorance they read the diaries and just make comments on the one side of him, not the overall character. Even Barry Took seems to have changed his views and was fitting in with what the program wanted to say about KW. Hawtrey may have had his problems, but how many stars these days have to go to a drying out clinic - Mrs Merton etc. - and how many are actually supported by the press with this - oh it is a shame, lets rally round. Of course, someone has decided to report with an angle as they can get on TV then so they will dig anything up. Howerd was well known in the business for his embrocation fluid rouse and it is mentioned in a number of places (Monkhouses biog for one), yet Monkhouse had no qualms about having him on his TV show. If he didn't have a problem with it, them why as hell should a TV producer today?!). As for Sid - he played a dirty old man, he was a dirty old man. I am sure that most people guessed that he was fairly similar to what he played (Galton and Simpson usually got ideas from reality for their comedy, so where is the revelation that Sid was a mild conman and rogue), but people continued to love him for it.

I am more interested in KW that the rest of the Carry On team, but I am getting fed up with people just trying to force a message down my throat. I HAVE read the diaries and letters several times, I have read articles, biogs, and have watched and listened to loads of material with KW in. I have also read and listened to various peoples opinions, but I still have my own. What seems to be happening is a twisting of the facts to suit an outcome. Sherlock Holmes should be consulted as he would not fall into the trap that most are and presume anything. Only the truth is real. There are far to many maybes to convict KW of suicide, and that is why I am of the opinion it was an accident (an for every time people quote that he mentioned suicide in his diaries, I can find somewhere stating he was happy, or come up with an argument against). I am sure that if the time was taken to research the others then there will be the same outcome.

As for being ashamed to enjoy the Carry Ons, then I am NOT. They are harmless fun, and whilst I prefer the earlier ones s I find the comedy far better, I still can watch and laugh at many of the later ones. I am sane, I am intelligent, and I am proud to be British - what I say to the critics of our comedy past is WAKE UP. We have a marvelous heritage that many other countries would kill for, praise it and nurture it. what we should not do is abandon it for the 'ratings hits' ethic that America has, everything comes down to money there and everything suffers for it.

Steven Arnold