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“I only popped out for a bit”

It’s 50 years since the first Carry On film was released, and amidst all the justified retrospection and ribaldry, the fact that the supposed ‘new’ Carry On film, Carry On London, *still* hasn’t materialised, has been conveniently overlooked. Which, given it’s been in pre-production for aeons, has got a wretched premise and boasts an appalling cast, is probably just as well.

No doubt, when the film is finally eked together, the producers will also forget that all the best Carry Ons:

a) have as many cast as possible share the same name as their character
b) have proper theme tunes (the best two by far being Carry On Doctor and Carry On At Your Convenience – download them both off iTunes now); and
c) always have a scene that begins with characters out of shot having a conversation that sounds saucy (“I just can’t seem to get it in” “Relax – give it to me, let me have a go” “Perhaps I should try this way round…”) only for the camera to reveal them doing something mundane (completing a jigsaw puzzle).

Indeed, if it’s a new Carry On you’re after, why not go back to the most enduring location – a hospital. After all, the Carry On Again Nurse idea still hasn’t come to fruition.

This would be far more emblematic of the franchise and far easier to flog around the world. There’s also plenty of mileage to be had with topical references to waiting lists (“I’ve been coming in here once a week to see the nurse about my plastercast, and I still haven’t had it off”) deep cleans (“Just what this place needs: one more scrubber”) and penny-pinching (“Do you think you should make another incision?” “Don’t worry: these people are used to cuts”).

Plus there’d be the potential for a publicity-generating cameo from David Tennant, who is accosted by an outpatient – “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I thought you were a doctor” – before casting a brief glance at the camera.

The thing that would clinch it, though, would be for it to be set not in the present day but somewhere between roughly 1965 and 1974. Yet done very faithfully, not with endless shots of people self-consciously wearing flares or knowingly driving perfunctory cars and mugging to the camera about LSD. That would be horrendous. No, it would have to be played and filmed very straight; any attempt to parody a parody always fails.

The people who should be in it are:
James Corden
David Mitchell
Ruth Jones
Richard Wilson
Claudia Winkleman
Tim Vine
Caroline Quentin
Tess Daly
Bruce Forsyth
Richard Stilgoe

But sadly the people who probably would be in it are:
Russell Brand
Peter Kay
Catherine Tate
Alan Carr
Graham Norton
Ronni D’Ancona
Julian Clary
Justin Lee Collins
Ricky Gervais
Leslie Ash

with a special guest appearance by Barbara Windsor either way.



  1. Chris Hughes

    July 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Right, so who’s who in this? I’m assuming Richard Wilson is the cantankerous hospital boss, essentially reprising his Only When I Laugh role. David Mitchell is a harrassed junior doctor trying to fend off the attentions of matron Ruth Jones.

    Tim Vine should be a fast-talking, wise-cracking medical student and James Corden is the perennial bed-bound malingerer.

    What do Brucie and Tess get to do? Does the film end inexplicably with the cast getting “mixed up” in Strictly Come Dancing (a scene which must, by law, include Bruce “accidentally” finding himself dancing with Richard Wilson and doing a double take)?

    If this can’t get off the ground, then I’d like a remake of Dentist On The Job with Lee Mack.

  2. Ian Jones

    July 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I imagined Brucie having a cameo role in one scene, a la Peter Butterworth, strolling in, doing a bit of business, then strolling out. Tess would be his significant other. Or maybe a junior nurse, for James Corden to lust after. Don’t forget Richard Stilgoe, who would play a veteran surgeon with a fine line in tinkling the ivories and tickling your funny bone. He would also sing a wry song at the hospital dinner dance.

  3. Andy Elms

    July 30, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Can we also have Ian Kirkby as a shouty authoritive doctor type? And Dave Chapman as a ventroloquist who needs to have his hand surgically removed from his dummy?

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