Simon Callow filmed what was to have been his first television appearance for this episode as First Crew Member. His scene was ultimately cut although he remains listed in the closing credits. See more »
Carry On Laughing: Orgy And Bess (TV) (Alan Tarrant, 1975) ***
This is one of the funniest entries in the alternate TV comedy series, most of which were period spoofs of famous historical events and figures; it's also notable as being the "Carry On" swan-song for both Sid James and Hattie Jacques they play Sir Francis Drake and Queen Elizabeth I respectively.
The script includes such a barrage of (typically) vulgar puns and topical gags (some of them fairly obscure at this juncture) that one's barely able to keep up with it! As was to be expected by now, too, one of the central characters Sir Walter Raleigh is depicted as outrageously effeminate; latter-day series regular Jack Douglas, then, appears in two roles for no very good reason. Of course, the ubiquitous "Carry On" siren diminutive, buxom and plucky Barbara Windsor is on hand to divert Drake's attentions from the corpulent queen, so that his position as the latter's chief confidante can be usurped by Douglas' scheming Lord Essex!
When caught in the act, Jacques immediately forgives James except that, just then, her intended suitor appears on the scene Kenneth Connor as King Philip II of Spain (made to speak gibberish when delivering lines in his 'native' language: incidentally, much is made of the fact that the two monarchs share their names with England's own current royals!); this affront, of course, throws the two countries into war fought and won off-screen by the 'heroic' Drake the direct result of which is the promise set up by the risqué title (obviously derived from the celebrated George Gershwin musical "Porgy And Bess") though, of course, the only thing we're allowed to see is the queen's chambers being filled by prancing courtiers!
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