Carry On at Your Convenience

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Carry on at Your Convenience
Carry-On-At-Your-Convenience.jpg
Carry on at Your Convenience (DVD)
Directed by Gerald Thomas
Produced by Peter Rogers
Written by Talbot Rothwell
Starring Sid James
Kenneth Williams
Charles Hawtrey
Joan Sims
Hattie Jacques
Bernard Bresslaw
Kenneth Cope
Music by Eric Rogers
Cinematography Ernest Steward
Edited by Alfred Roome
Distributed by Rank Organisation
Release date(s) December 1971
Running time 90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £220,000

Carry on at Your Convenience, released in 1971, is the 22nd in the series of Carry On films to be made, and was the first box office failure of the series. This failure has been attributed to the film's attempt at exploring the political themes of the trade union movement, crucially portraying the union activists as buffoons which, apparently, alienated the traditional working-class audience of the series. The film, known as Carry On Round the Bend outside the United Kingdom, did not return full production costs until 1976 after several international and television sales.[1] The film features regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques and Bernard Bresslaw. It features Kenneth Cope in the first of his two Carry on appearances.

Origin of the title[edit]

The film revolves around a company where toilet equipment is manufactured. At the time of filming, public toilets in Britain were still called "public conveniences" on signposts. The phrase "Carry on at your convenience" is one typically used by the examiner during a driving test, instructing the candidate to resume driving after a part of the test involving stopping the car.

Plot[edit]

In lavatory factory W.C. Boggs & Son, the traditionalist owner W.C. Boggs (Kenneth Williams) is having no end of trouble. Bolshie union representative Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope) continually stirs up trouble in the works, to the irritation of his co-workers and management. He calls a strike for almost any minor incident – or because he wants time off to attend a local football match. Sid Plummer (Sid James) is the factory foreman bridging the gap between workers and management, shrewdly keeping the place going amid the unrest.

Prissy lavatory designer Charles Coote (Charles Hawtrey) has included a bidet in his latest range of designs, but W.C. objects to the manufacture of such "distasteful" items. W.C. won't change his stance even after his son, Lewis (Lew) Boggs (Richard O'Callaghan), secures a large order from abroad for the bidets. It is a deal that could save the struggling firm, which W.C. has to admit is in debt to the banks.

Vic's dim stooge Bernie Hulke (Bernard Bresslaw) provides bumbling assistance in both his union machinations and his attempts to woo Sid's daughter, factory canteen worker Myrtle (Jacki Piper). She is torn between Vic and Lew Boggs, who is something of a playboy but insists he loves her.

Sid's wife is Beattie (Hattie Jacques), a lazy housewife who does little but fuss over her pet budgie, Joey, which refuses to talk despite her concerted efforts. Their neighbour is brassy and lascivious factory worker Chloe Moore (Joan Sims). Chloe contends with the endless strikes and with her crude, travelling salesman husband Fred (Bill Maynard), who neglects her and leaves her dissatisfied. Chloe and Sid enjoy a flirtatious relationship and are sorely tempted to stray. Unusually for Sid James, his character is a faithful husband, albeit a cheeky and sorely tempted one.

Sid and Beattie find that Joey can correctly predict winners of horseraces – he tweets when the horse's name is read out. Sid bets on Joey's tips and makes several large wins – including a vital £1,000 loaned to W.C. when the banks refuse a bridging loan – before Sid is barred by his bookie.

The strikers finally return to work, but it is only to attend the annual works outing, a coach trip to Brighton. A good time is had by all with barriers coming down between workers and management, thanks largely to that great social lubricant, alcohol. W.C. becomes intoxicated and spends the day – and it seems the night – with his faithful, adoring secretary, Miss Hortense Withering (Patsy Rowlands). Lew Boggs manages to win Myrtle from Vic Spanner, giving his rival a beating, and the couple elope. After arriving home late after the outing and with Fred away, Chloe invites Sid in for a cup of tea. They fight their desires and ultimately decide not to have the tea fearing that neighbours might see Sid enter Chloe's home and get the wrong idea.

At the picket lines the next day, Vic gets his comeuppance – partly at the hands of his mother (literally, as she spanks him in public) – and the workers and management all pull together to produce the big order to save the firm.

Cast and Crew[edit]

  • Screenplay – Talbot Rothwell
  • Music – Eric Rogers
  • Production Manager – Jack Swinburne
  • Art Director – Lionel Couch
  • Editor – Alfred Roome
  • Director of Photography – Ernest Steward
  • Camera Operator – James Bawden
  • Make-up – Geoffrey Rodway
  • Continuity – Rita Davidson
  • Assistant Director – David Bracknell
  • Sound Recordists – Danny Daniel & Ken Barker
  • Hairdresser – Stella Rivers
  • Costume Designer – Courtenay Elliott
  • Set Dresser – Peter Howitt
  • Assistant Art Director – William Alexander
  • Dubbing Editor – Brian Holland
  • Titles – GSE Ltd
  • Processor – Rank Film Laboratories
  • Toilets – Royal Doulton Sanitary Potteries
  • Assistant Editor – Jack Gardner
  • Producer – Peter Rogers
  • Director – Gerald Thomas

Filming and locations[edit]

  • Filming dates – 22 March-7 May 1971

Interiors:

Exteriors:

  • Brighton – Palace Pier. The West Pier in Brighton was used two years later for Carry On Girls.
  • Brighton – Clarges Hotel. The same location was also used in the later Carry On Girls.
  • Pinewood Studios. The studio's wood storage area was used as the exterior of WC Boggs' factory
  • Odeon Cinema, Uxbridge.
  • Heatherden Hall, Pinewood Studios

Behind the scenes[edit]

After Sid James' character was criticised for leering at some girls in Carry On Henry (1971), here his character was changed to the put-upon family man similar to the character he portrayed in the TV sitcom Bless This House.[1] In the next film Carry On Matron (1972) his character was preoccupied with thieving, but made odd suggestive comments to nurses (including one played by Jacki Piper, who played his daughter in this film). Sid's girl-chasing persona was fully reinstated for subsequent films.

See also[edit]

  • Prague Philharmonic, Gavin Sutherland conducting. The carry on album: music from the films : London, England : ASV, p1999. LCCN 00300982

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ross, Robert. The Carry On Companion, B. T. Batsford: London, 1996. ISBN 0-7134-7967-1 p 98

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]