Carry On Christmas Specials

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The Carry On Christmas Specials were four one-off sitcoms produced for Thames Television made in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973. They brought the cast and formula of the Carry On films to a television production.

Carry on Christmas (1969)[edit]

Description[edit]

The first special, Carry On Christmas, was broadcast in 1969. It was filmed shortly after the completion of Carry on Up the Jungle and featured the same main cast from that film. It was scripted by long-term Carry On author Talbot Rothwell. The story was an irreverent take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, featuring Sid James as Scrooge. The 'Christmas Past' sequence reveals that Scrooge failed to invest in the schemes of Dr. Frank N. Stein, who (assisted by his servant, Count Dracula) sought to create a mate for Barbara Windsor's Monster. The 'Christmas Present' sequence described Robert Browning's difficulties in attempting to elope with Elizabeth Barrett without funds, thanks to Scrooge's unwillingness to lend. The 'Christmas Future' sequence retold the story of Cinderella.

Cast[edit]

Starring Roles
Sid James Ebenezer Scrooge
Terry Scott Dr Frank N Stein, Convent Girl, Mr Barrett, Baggie
Charles Hawtrey Spirit of Christmas Past, Angel, Convent Girl, Buttons
Hattie Jacques Elizabeth Barrett, Nun, Passer-by
Barbara Windsor Cinderella, Fanny, Spirit of Christmas Present
Peter Butterworth Dracula, Beggar, Convent Girl, Haggie
Bernard Bresslaw Bob Cratchit, Frankenstein's Monster, Spirit of Christmas Future, Convent Girl, Town Crier, Policeman
Frankie Howerd Robert Browning, Fairy Godmother

Carry on Again Christmas (1970)[edit]

Description[edit]

The second special, Carry On Again Christmas, was shown the following year. Rothwell did not script this episode, but Sid Colin, who had co-written Carry On Spying with Rothwell, wrote the episode with Dave Freeman, who would go on to script Carry On Behind, several episodes of the Carry On Laughing television series, and the 1992 film, Carry On Columbus. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story Treasure Island, this episode saw the Carry on debut of Wendy Richard, who would go on to have small roles in Carry On Matron and Carry On Girls.

Although the 1969 special was broadcast in colour, the 1970 special was shown in black and white due to a technicians' strikes that caused Thames television to broadcast all their Christmas shows that year in black and white.

Cast[edit]

Starring Roles
Sid James Long John Sil
Terry Scott Squire Treyhornay
Charles Hawtrey Old Blind Pew, Night Watchman, Nipper the Flipper
Kenneth Connor Dr Livershake
Barbara Windsor Jim Hawkins
Bernard Bresslaw Rollicky Bill
Bob Todd Ben Gunn, Ship Mate
Wendy Richard Kate

Carry on Christmas (or Carry On Stuffing) (1972)[edit]

Description[edit]

In 1972 a new Christmas special was produced, entitled Carry On Christmas (or Carry On Stuffing). Two unforeseen problems meant that many fans consider this the weakest Christmas special. Firstly, Talbot Rothwell became ill whilst writing the script, and was unable to finish it. Dave Freeman had to be brought in to complete the script, but the two men did not work together. As a result, the script does not flow as easily as the earlier offerings. Secondly, Charles Hawtrey pulled out of the special at short notice. Having taken third billing to Sid James and Terry Scott in the previous two shows, and knowing they would both be absent, Hawtrey demanded top billing. But Carry On producer Peter Rogers refused, giving top billing to Hattie Jacques instead. Hawtrey's role had hastily to be recast, and was split between Norman Rossington and Brian Oulton, both of whom had played cameo roles in several Carry On films. The special featured a collection of historical sketches, loosely linked around an 18th-century banquet.

It included a performance of two madrigals originally written for Carry On Henry.[1] The songs reappeared in the 1973 stage show Carry On London.[1]

Cast[edit]

Starring Roles
Hattie Jacques Miss Molly Coddle, Lady Vera, Harriet, The Good Fairy
Joan Sims Lady Rhoda Cockhorse, Mother, Esmeralda, Princess YoYo
Barbara Windsor Eve, Virginia, Maid, Aladdin
Kenneth Connor Sir Henry, Lieutenant Banghem, Hanky Poo
Peter Butterworth Sir Francis Fiddler, Captain Dripping, Lieutenant Trembler, Hole in One
Jack Douglas Mr Perkin, Adam, Tomkins, Ringworm, King of the Underworld
Norman Rossington General Sir Ffingham Clodhopper, Genie
Brian Oulton Oriental Orator
Billy Cornelius Waiter
Valerie Leon Serving Wench
Valerie Stanton Demon King's Vision

Carry on Christmas (1973)[edit]

Description[edit]

1973 saw the final original Christmas special, Carry On Christmas. Talbot Rothwell made a return as writer, as did Sid James. This was the only special to have a modern-day setting, featuring Sid James as a department store Father Christmas, although it did feature historical sketches.

Cast[edit]

Starring Roles
Sid James Sid Belcher (Santa), Seedpod, Sir Henry, Sergeant Ball, Robin Hood
Joan Sims Mother, Sennapod, Bishop's Wife, Adelle, Salvation Army Woman, Maid Marion, Traffic Warden
Barbara Windsor Virginia, Crompet, Lady Frances, Fifi, Lady Frances
Kenneth Connor Shop Manager, Anthro Pod, The Bishop, Private Parkin, Will Scarlet
Peter Butterworth Carol Singer (2001 BC), Old Man, Darts Player, 2nd German Soldier, Friar Tuck
Bernard Bresslaw Peapod, Camp Aristocrat, Darts Player, Captain Ffingburgh, Much, Policeman
Jack Douglas Carol Singer (2001 BC), Crapper, 1st German Soldier, Ballad Singer
Julian Holloway Captain Rose
Laraine Humphreys Bed Customer

Carry on Laughing's Christmas Classics (1983)[edit]

It would be ten years before the next Christmas special. Carry On Laughing's Christmas Classics saw Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor introduce some of the funniest moments from the later Carry On films, in a format very similar to the film That's Carry On!. Although people would see this as a fifth special, it is a compilation of clips from the films, and so not officially counted as a Christmas special.

DVD release[edit]

In 2005, all four specials were released on DVD, featuring special interviews with film producer Peter Rogers and stars Jack Douglas and Wendy Richard.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ross, Robert. The Carry On Companion, B. T. Batsford: London, 1996. ISBN 0-7134-7967-1 pp 93-94

External links[edit]