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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"Go on, 'ave a bit of fun!"

10/10
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
20 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With the 'Carry On' movies proving popular both on television and in the cinema, Thames decided in 1969 to make a special for I.T.V. This uproarious parody of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' was the first of four Yuletide romps, and easily the best.

Sid James starred as 'Ebenezer Scrooge', not merely mean but a dirty old man to boot, keeping his money under the bed in a chamber pot! Other returning cast members included Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Charles Hawtrey, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, and Barbara Windsor.

Conspicuously missing, however, was Kenneth Williams. The man with the wonderfully snide voice and flared nostrils regarded the whole enterprise as a waste of time, and in any case had signed to do a B.B.C. sketch show with Joan Sims - the disastrously received 'The Kenneth Williams Show'. His input into 'Carry On Christmas' would have been welcome, but its a credit to the cast that they coped rather well without him.

Talbot Rothwell's innuendo-laden script stayed close to the Dickens classic, occasionally straying into the cobwebbed universe of Dracula and Frankenstein, as well as the poetic and romantic world of Robert Browning. All done in typical 'Carry On' style, of course.

The cast threw themselves into the piece with commendable enthusiasm, Butterworth and Howerd in particular looked to be having the time of their lives.

As Andrew Collins noted in Channel 4's '100 Greatest Christmas Moments', the specials were cheaply made ( as indeed were the films ) and studio bound. 'Carry On' humour was not reliant on big budgets and spectacular scenery so this was not a problem. Collins' positive comments were overshadowed by a powerful blast of sanctimony from the editor of 'Q' magazine, Paul Rees, who made comparisons with 'Love Thy Neighbour' ( eh? ), trotted out the old 'we've thankfully moved on since' argument and sneered: "What sort of a world was it back then?". Well, Paul, you would do well to learn something about that world before passing judgement. People in those days were not conditioned to think through the political ramifications of a joke before laughing - unlike yourself. I'm so glad I have never bought 'Q' magazine.

'Carry On Christmas' topped the ratings for that year's festive television ( Sid James fans could see their hero again on Boxing Day in the 'Two In Clover' segment of 'All-Star Comedy Carnival' ), led to a further three specials, and ultimately to the disappointing 'Carry On Laughing', made by A.T.V. in 1975.

The idea of a 'Scrooge' send-up was reused in 1988 by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis in the excellent 'Blackadder's Christmas Carol'.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What a Carry On.........

7/10
Author: (DownLoAdEr)
27 December 2003

Very amusing television show, with every slapstick innuendo, classic line possible from all previous and future films and TV specials.

This is 50 mins of little giggles to huge belly laughs. Barbra Windsor is wonderful with her wicked giggle. The rest of the cast (familiar from all our favourite Carry On films including Frankie Howard) all have at least two roles to play and it is obvious they were having fun filming the show. There are too many instances where you can see they are about to giggle while delivering lines to mention. If you get a chance to see it on a TV special, and you are a Carry On fan and missed it. DO IT! What a carry on Xmas giggle........

For those perfectionists it is a 1 star

For me it is the perfection of television humor in the 70's and is worthy of TEN stars (out of ten) for the classic 70's humor back then.

Feel free to Flame Me but this is classic Brit Humour from the 70's

This humour will never be seen in new shows, enjoy!!

Comedians just want to have a giggle. It would be great if they could be as open and honest as the Carry On team, and funny, without the HR Political Police ruining it for the rest of us.

My score is 5 out of 5 but NOT on a cultural scale, just a Carry On scale..... simply brilliant and funny.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Has energy and a sort of roughshod charm to it but funny it ain't

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
28 December 2003

Ebenezer Scrooge is a misery on Christmas, not allowing people money or doing anything to share Christmas cheer around his employees or acquaintances. While Scrooge is visited by three ghosts we see how his penny pinching has affected those around him.

I tuned in to this little show expecting just a version of the Christmas Carol story except with a great deal more innuendo and smut. That is half what I got - innuendo! The actual story didn't really hold true to the Scrooge story, this is apparent from the get-go where we have 10 minutes in the offices of Dr Frank A. Stein who is building a monster with his friend Count Dracula, Cinderella and a later scene with a poet and his love. The connection of these side stories to Scrooge is very, very thin indeed and they serve more as separate sketches than anything else.

If they were hilariously funny then this wouldn't be a problem - thing is, they aren't. At best they are energetic and silly, with some of the crudity and wit of Carry On movies, but sadly it doesn't even get near to the consistently of the films!

The cast is good on paper and do try hard - playing well to the studio audience but most of the material is not great and they can't work with it. Howerd has the most fun as he seems to be ad libbing all over the place. Sid James is always fun as are Hawtrey, Jacques, Winsor has a good role as Cinderella and Butterworth and Bresslaw are OK.

Overall this is a pretty average show. It has low production values and only really gets laughs because the audience are clearly hyped up to laugh. The actors lack the subtlety that is often needed to make innuendo work and I simply didn't laugh at all.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Carry On Christmas

5/10
Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
2 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Carry On film were a huge success, with eighteen (out of the thirty one made), and in the year that brought Camping and Again Doctor there came this seasonal television special. This spoofs the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, with Ebenezer Scrooge (Sid James) being mean and greedy with his money and to people in the Victorian town, and he is visited by three ghosts. Instead of showing Scrooge his personal past, present and future, the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Charles Hawtrey), Present (Barbara Windsor) and Future (Bernard Bresslaw) show him the fortunes of those people he did not give money to for whatever they needed. The characters affected by the miser's include Dr. Frank N. Stein (Terry Scott), Elizabeth Barrett (Hattie Jacques), Bob Cratchit (Bresslaw), Dracula (Peter Butterworth) and Robert Browning (Frankie Howerd). Obviously like the regular versions, Scrooge sees the error of his ways and gets started on mending things and giving money to those who need it, only he is carrying it in a toilet pot. All the actors in the Dickensian format do as well as they have before, it is a little annoying that Kenneth Williams does not feature, but the usual innuendos and double double entendres as always are what make this comedy special good fun. Worth watching!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nothing else like it!

5/10
Author: freestyla24 from United Kingdom
23 January 2005

Just about everything you'd expect when you mix a pantomime, Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol & a carry on film together. OK, so its not exactly a classic in the collection of carry on films, but its certainly watchable just to see Sid James having a laugh playing a leeching Scrooge, Charles Hawtrey popping up as a fairy & ghost in his own unique manner and Frankie Howered playing up to the camera (& getting on Hattie Jacques nerves at the same time, just look at her face!) I couldn't tell weather it was canned laughter or a live studio audience but it came across pretty well. Although not the best performance from the legendary carry on team, its worth a watch.

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