Carry On Laughing

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This article describes the all-original 1975 TV series. Not to be confused with the later "Carry On" film-clip compilations or the stage play of the same name.
Carry on Laughing
Alt=Series title held by cartoon figures
Genre Comedy
Directed by Alan Tarrant
Starring
Composer(s) John Marshall and Ritchie Tattersall
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 13
Production
Executive producer(s) Peter Rogers
Producer(s) Gerald Thomas
Running time 24-26 minutes
Production company(s) Associated Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Original run 4 January 1975 (1975-01-04)  – 7 December 1975 (1975-12-07)

Carry On Laughing is a British television comedy series produced in 1975 for ATV. Based on the Carry On films, it was an attempt to address the films' declining cinema attendance by transferring the franchise to television. Many of the original cast members were featured in the series.

Carry on Laughing ran for two seasons, the first for six half-hour episodes and the second for seven episodes. The episode Orgy and Bess featured the final Carry On performances of both Sid James and Hattie Jacques.

The TV series is not as widely known as the original films, which - by contrast - are broadcast regularly on British television. It is also considered[who?] much less successful at transferring the established formula to the small screen than the Carry On Christmas specials.

Production[edit]

The series was conceived after the departures of two long-serving Carry On contributors: writer Talbot Rothwell and actor Charles Hawtrey. Furthermore, Kenneth Williams declined to appear in the series. Other Carry On regulars only appeared in a minority of episodes: Sid James in only the first four, Hattie Jacques in only one; and Bernard Bresslaw appeared only in the second series.

In the absence of Rothwell, other writers were brought in. Lew Schwarz and experienced Carry On writer Dave Freeman each wrote six, while Barry Cryer and Dick Vosburgh penned Orgy and Bess.

Each episode parodied a famous TV series, film or book. Three episodes feature a character based on Lord Peter Wimsey - Lord Peter Flimsy. Another two episodes are nods to Upstairs, Downstairs, with the character of Hudson the Butler parodied as Clodson.

The series provided an opportunity for David Lodge - little more than a bit-part player in some of the later Carry On films - to play leading characters.

Note[edit]

ATV had already helped to bring the Carry Ons to the small screen in 1973, when it broadcast What A Carry On, a one-off show hosted by Shaw Taylor featuring clips from the stage play Carry On London and interviews with its stars - Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth and Jack Douglas. It is believed that this footage is missing from the archives.

What A Carry On was also the title of a BBC series of classic clips from the films.

Episodes[edit]

Series 1[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "The Prisoner of Spenda" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 4 January 1975

Starring Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Peter Butterworth, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas, David Lodge and Ronnie Brody

Parody of The Prisoner of Zenda
2 2 "The Baron Outlook" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 11 January 1975
Starring Sid James, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Diane Langton, and David Lodge
3 3 "The Sobbing Cavalier" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 18 January 1975

Starring Sid James, Jack Douglas, Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, and David Lodge

Parody of The English Civil War
4 4 "Orgy and Bess" Alan Tarrant Barry Cryer and Dick Vosburgh 25 January 1975
Starring Sid James, Kenneth Connor, Barbara Windsor, Hattie Jacques, and Jack Douglas
5 5 "One in the Eye for Harold" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 1 February 1975
Starring Jack Douglas, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Diane Langton, David Lodge, and Norman Chappell
6 6 "The Nine Old Cobblers" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 8 February 1975
Lord Peter Flimsy (Jack Douglas) and his butler Punter (Kenneth Connor) are summoned by Ameila Forbush (Joan Sims) to the village of Sincreek to solve a murder when a dead body is found on stage during Miss Dawkins's (Patsy Rowlands) solo at an amateur village hall concert. The first of three appearances of Flimsy (a parody of Lord Peter Wimsey), this episode also stars Barbara Windsor and David Lodge.

Series 2[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
7 1 "Under the Round Table" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 26 October 1975
Starring Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw, Jack Douglas, Oscar James, Victor Maddern, Norman Chappell, Ronnie Brody and Brian Capron
8 2 "The Case of the Screaming Winkles" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 2 November 1975
Starring Jack Douglas, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, and David Lodge
9 3 "And in My Lady's Chamber" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 9 November 1975
Starring Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw, Jack Douglas, Sherrie Hewson, Andrew Ray and Carol Hawkins
10 4 "Short Knight, Long Daze" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 16 November 1975
Starring Kenneth Connor, Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw, Jack Douglas, Norman Chappell, and Brian Capron
11 5 "The Case of the Coughing Parrot" Alan Tarrant Dave Freeman 23 November 1975
Starring Jack Douglas, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, David Lodge, Sherrie Hewson, Peter Butterworth, Norman Chappell and Johnny Briggs
12 6 "Who Needs Kitchener?" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 30 November 1975
Starring Kenneth Connor, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Andrew Ray, Sherrie Hewson and Carol Hawkins
13 7 "Lamp Posts of the Empire" Alan Tarrant Lew Schwarz 7 December 1975
Starring Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Oscar James, Norman Chappell, and Michael Nightingale

See also[edit]

Related use of the title[edit]

The title Carry On Laughing was also used for:

  • a series of television programmes shown by Thames Television from 1981 to 1984, featuring classic clips from the Carry On film series. In 1983, a Christmas special of this series was made, entitled Carry On Laughing's Christmas Classics, featuring classic film clips, linked by newly filmed material with Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor.

DVD releases[edit]

The entire series was released as DVD bonus features spread over various UK releases of Carry On films. The entire series was also released in a 2 DVD set on 25 May 2004 by A&E Home Video (Region 1 format, US and Canada).

Bibliography[edit]

  • Davidson, Andy (2012). Carry On Confidential. London: Miwk. ISBN 978-1-908630-01-8. 
  • Sheridan, Simon (2011). Keeping the British End Up - Four Decades of Saucy Cinema. London: Titan Books. ISBN 978-0-85768-279-6. 
  • Webber, Richard (2009). 50 Years of Carry On. London: Arrow. ISBN 978-0-09-949007-4. 
  • Hudis, Norman (2008). No Laughing Matter. London: Apex. ISBN 978-1-906358-15-0. 
  • Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan (third edition) (2007) (Reynolds & Hearn Books)
  • Ross, Robert (2002). The Carry On Companion. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-8771-8. 
  • Bright, Morris; Ross, Robert (2000). Mr Carry On - The Life & Work of Peter Rogers. London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-55183-6. 
  • Rigelsford, Adrian (1996). Carry On Laughing - a celebration. London: Virgin. ISBN 1-85227-554-5. 
  • Hibbin, Sally & Nina (1988). What a Carry On. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-55819-4. 
  • Eastaugh, Kenneth (1978). The Carry On Book. London: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-7403-0. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]