Friday, 5 August 2016


From 1998: the flyer promoting the original London National Theatre run of the biographical CARRY ON play CLEO, CAMPING, EMMANUELLE AND DICK.

I was lucky enough to see this excellent play, chronicling the Carry On films and the private lives of their stars from the vantage point of a grotty caravan on the Pinewood lot, during this initial run... and loved it. The script was excellent, the performances top notch (without falling into parody) and the sense of love for these great British icons obvious. I'm pleased to say the rest of the audience seemed to agree with me. The simple staging (a caravan plonked on stage) also worked a treat and served as a focal point for the lives of Barbara, Sid and Kenny across many years and many films.

A few years later I got to meet Barbara Windsor and we chatted briefly about the play. We both agreed that someone should film it. A few years later: someone did. ITV adapted it as COR BLIMEY, a TV movie well worth seeing. Even if the both the play and the TV flick didn't exactly stick entirely to the fact. The closing minutes of the movie - and THAT little twist - are guaranteed to pull at the heart strings.

Not everyone was a fan however. I went to a talk and book launch by Joan Sims at the (now long gone) Borders Books flagship in Oxford Street (where - at various times - I also met the Hoff, Monica Lewinsky and the woman who sang the theme to Ally McBeal) and she was more damming of the venture. Saying - if memory serves - that she didn't think it reflected reality at all.

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