Dramatisation of the love affair between Sidney James and Barbara Windsor, played out against the backdrop of the 'Carry On' films during the 1960s and 1970s.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jacqueline Defferary ...
Sally
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
David McAlister ...
Jason Round ...
Clapper Loader
...
...
Bernard Bresslaw
Hugh Walters ...
...
Alan Barnes ...
1st Assistant Director
Maria Charles ...
Charlie's Mum
Chrissie Cotterill ...
...
Imogen
Alice Bailey Johnson ...
Alice
Derek Howard ...
Kenneth Connor
Richard Vanstone ...
Alf
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Storyline

Star actors in the popular British 'Carry On' screen farces Sid James and Kenneth Williams have disliked each other since they acted on radio in the mid-1950s. Ten years later the feud still continues. Chirpy young actress Barbara Windsor arrives to appear in the series and Sid, though married, pursues her. Believing that he will be satisfied after a one night stand Barbara goes with him but this is the start of an affair which will last until the mid 1970s, shortly before Sid's death whilst touring in a play. After Sid's demise Kenneth assures Barbara that she was not responsible and she, in turn, encourages him to enjoy life more. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | Romance

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24 April 2000 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point Kenneth Williams asks "Oh, what's the bloody point?" of his fellow actors. That was the last line Williams wrote in his diary before he died from an overdose of barbiturates. See more »

Goofs

According to Kenneth Williams' published diaries, he was not traveling in a car with Barbara Windsor when he found out about Sidney James' death - rather, he had returned to his flat after dining out with his mother when the news was broken to him via a phone call. See more »

Quotes

Kenneth Williams: There comes a time in every man's life when he can no longer snog young women without appearing something of a dirty old sod, a benchmark you passed in the late 1950s.
Sid James: That is charming.
Kenneth Williams: You've got a very grubby image.
Sid James: At least I haven't got a grubby Moroccan sex life.
Kenneth Williams: Oh yes, go on. Throw your little stones from the ruined greenhouse of your own sad lechery. By all means pronounce judgement on diving splinter of my sexual proclivities if you can catch sight of it through the Epping Forest of ...
[...]
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Connections

References Carry on Nurse (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating piece of pop lore
16 October 2002 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

The "Carry On" movies were probably better distributed in Canada than the States, because we'd been weaned on British humour by the CBC, but they were strictly B-market, playing small town theatres and drive-in double bills. Still, aside from Sidney James with his TV shows, it's doubtful that the majority of those appreciative rural audiences could attach names to the faces on the screen, and while we drooled with the rest of this continent over the doings of the Beatles and Mick and Marianne and even Peter and Britt, the lives of the "Carry On" crew were an unknown commodity.

"Cor Blimey!" is something I tuned into out of idle curiosity and found myself rivetted. While I don't doubt it has its share of inaccuracies (some even I spotted, like misplaced productions in the time frame), the warts-and-all depictions of these troubled comedians has an authenticity I don't for a moment doubt. The friendship (yes, friendship) between James and Williams is particularly provocative, as they verbally spar on a constant basis and, deep down, enjoy every second of it, and each other. A telling moment is when Kenneth learns of Sid's death, and his smart alecky composure instantly falls away to a look of stunned grief. Adam Godfrey is nothing short of amazing as the caustic Williams (that moment where he tells the little autograph hunter to bugger off is horribly hilarious), a beautifully realized portrait of a brilliant and frustrated soul driven to extremes of exhibitionism. I remember reading the Joe Orton biography years ago, and being mystified that a "Carry On" comic was so thick with the doomed literary couple, like trying to evision Soupy Sales hanging out with Paul and Jane Bowles. Clearly Williams was exactly their type, and it's a pity that the rather tepid "Prick Up Your Ears" didn't incorporate him as a character.

While the story's focal point, Sid James' loosing battle with the bottle and his crazed romantic obsession with Barbara, who only has deep loyal friendship to offer, is rich and poignant, I could've done with more details about the rest of the "Carry On" crew. We only get the most fleeting glimpses of the (excellently cast) Charles Hawtrey and Joan Sims and Bernard Bresslaw. Also there's some conspicuous absenses, such as the divine Hattie Jacques (Dawn French would've been ideal). One moment that brings to mind another reviewer's comment on the amusing blend of film artifice and reality, is when Sid has his first stroke and he's in the hospital with the Jacques-like floor matron (Claire Cathcart). I was thinking for sure that this was a recreation of the "Carry On Doctor" set, until Barbara shows up to visit.

Anyway, I'll leave disputes over the film's tastefulness and historical accuracy to people of the Isles who better knew these stars, but for someone from this side of the pond for whom the "Carry On" films is a delightful 60s/70s footnote, this finely done TV film is an intelligent and illuminating watch.


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