Carry On Christmas Special

Carry On Christmas Special


Reviewed by: Gary Duncan

These four Yuletide TV specials from the late Sixties and early Seventies set their stall out from the opening minutes of the first episode. We're in a busy Dickensian street. Cue fake snow and dirty-faced urchins. The camera zooms in on a sign in a shop window that reads, "Take Home Something Really Useful for Christmas". The shop door opens and a man walks out carrying - wait for it - a lavatory!

If that does it for you, then you're in for a treat, because there's an awful lot of it. This is toilet humour of the most literal kind and fans of the Carry On movies will love it.

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The "stories" are as flimsy as the teetering sets, of course, but that doesn't matter. The opening episode, which first aired in 1969, is very loosely based on A Christmas Carol - very loosely in the sense that it not only features Scrooge and Bob Cratchit but also Dracula, Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde. Don't ask why because that's not important. What really matters is that Barbara Windsor flashes her boobs, Bernard Bresslaw wears a dress and Sid James growls, rubs his hands together and says things like "tits, tits, tits, I love tits". Or something like that.

I laughed so much I . . . actually, I didn't laugh very much at all. Maybe it was the irritating canned laughter. Or the tidal wave of lazy innuendo. Or the feeling that these "specials" weren't that special after all and had simply been cobbled together with leftovers from the much superior Carry On movies.

Redeeming features? Okay, I'll admit to a few groans here and there but that's only because the unremitting naffness of it finally wore down my defences. Frankie Howerd manages to ad lib his way out of the bottomless black hole that is the script and his impromptu asides to the camera do raise a few titters. That's about it though and that's not much to show for four 50-minute episodes.

Tellingly, there's no sign of Kenneth Williams in any of these festive offerings, and maybe that's what's missing. But it's unlikely that even he could have saved this Christmas turkey.

Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2005
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Festive fun from the Carry On gang.
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Director: Ronnie Baxter, Alan Tarrant, Ronald Fouracre

Writer: Talbot Rothwell, Sid Colin, Dave Freeman

Starring: Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Charles Hawtry, Frankie Howerd, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Connor, Terry Scott, Wendy Richard, Joan Sims, Jack Douglas

Year: 2005

Runtime: 291 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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