The Carry On films are a British tradition, a series of comedies that began with the sweet-natured Carry On Sergeant in 1958 to the mock-steamy Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978. Relying on a core repertoire of actors- such as Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Sid James, Peter Butterworth, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims and Bernard Bresslaw- the Carry On films were a mix of parody and farce with many lines acting as double entendres. They were extremely popular due to their mix of sauciness and slapstick.
The idea of making Carry On episodes for television had occurred to executive producer Peter Rogers back in 1969, six years before the episodes were made. Even longtime scriptwriter Talbot Rothwell had pitched the idea to him. With the downturn of the British cinema in the mid-Seventies, the decision to make the transition from silver screen to small screen was made. At the end of 1974, with Carry On Dick in cinemas and a Carry On stage show running in London, producer Peter Rogers united with broadcasters ATV (headed by Lew Grade) to launch an ambitious Carry On television series.
However, by this time, Talbot Rothwell had more or less retired from scriptwriting due to ill health and two of the bigCarry On stars- Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey- were not appearing for differing reasons (Kenneth due to his agent's dislke of the idea and Charles as he had parted company with the Carry On crew in 1972). Nonetheless, with new writers Lew Schwarz and Dave Freeman and several of the regular Carry On stars appearing- such as Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor and Jack Douglas- the thirteen episodes went out in two series in 1975.
Peter Rogers wasn't exactly satisfied with the results. He said 'the series didn't really achieve what we set out to do... perhaps the half-hour format wasn't right for Carry On. In any case it was an interesting experiment.'
The episodes remain largely forgotten, yet are available on various DVD releases of the classic Carry On films.moreless