Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Carry On Legacy - Carry On Nurse: 1958

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After the unexpected box-office success of Carry On Sergeant (1958), the team of producer Peter Rogers, director Gerald Thomas and screenwriterNorman Hudis quickly came up with another comedy using the same template, this time set in an NHS hospital. Carry On Nurse (1959) was financially even more successful than the first, and a surprise hit in America, leading to a five-year contract for Rogers and Thomas to provide more of the same.
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They subsequently repeated its popular formula directly in such medically-themed films as the near-remake Carry On Doctor (d. Thomas, 1967), as well as Carry On Again Doctor (d. Thomas, 1969) and Carry On Matron (d. Thomas, 1972).
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Like the previous film, Carry On Nurse was based on a pre-existing property owned by Rogers - Ring for Catty, written by Jack Searle and actor Patrick Cargill - and once again features a pair of romantic lovers (Shirley Eaton and Terence Longdon, who both appeared in Sergeant), around which a series of comic and sentimental episodes are loosely stitched together. The glue that binds the film is the Greek chorus of character comedians, many of whom simply reprise their roles fromCarry On Sergeant.
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Once again, Kenneth Williams is the supercilious intellectual, Kenneth Connor is the 'little man', Charles Hawtrey the campy outsider and Hattie Jacques the no-nonsense authoritarian matron. To these are added Leslie Phillips, (who, playing a character named Jack Bell, utters his immortal catchphrase "Ding dong, you're not wrong" when his name is called out), while Joan Sims makes the first of her 24 Carry On appearances as an accident-prone trainee nurse.
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It is probably best remembered, however, for its notorious final gag, in which the nurses decide to get even with the overbearing Colonel, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, by replacing a rectal thermometer with a daffodil.
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Published by


Volume 26, No.303, April 1959, page 45


The nurses of a men's surgical ward at the Haven Hospital have equal difficulty in resisting the advances of their charges and meeting the demands of their martinet Matron. Individual pursuits among the patients range from nuclear physics to studying racing form, but these are eventually forgotten in the collective pursuit of an unofficial operation on the bunion of a new patient, anxious for a speedy discharge so that he can enjoy a gay weekend. This operation, performed in a general state of intoxication, is not a success, since all concerned succumb to laughing gas.

A somewhat stale farce, mixing slapstick, caricature and crudely anatomical humour, puts life in a public hospital ward into the same cheerlessly rollicking category as the barrack-room. Predictably, the main butt is Matron, and at least one sequence implies a strongly intended criticism of the type of Matron who makes a fetish of details that have no real bearing on the patients' well-being whatever.

The Monthly Film Bulletin was published by the British Film Institute between 1934 and 1991. Initially aimed at distributors and exhibitors as well as filmgoers, it carried reviews and details of all UK film releases. In 1991, the Bulletin was absorbed by Sight and Sound magazine.

Pussycat - Mississippi: 1975

The seventeen and a half year old girls had been telephone operators in Limburg, whilst Theunissen, Wetzles and Coumans were in a group called Scum. Wille played in a group called Ricky Rendall and His Centurions until he married Tonny, and created the group Sweet Reaction that eventually became known as Pussycat.

In 1975 they scored a big European hit with the song "Mississippi". However they had to wait a further year for the single to make the British charts when it climbed to Number One in the UK Singles Chart in October 1976. Penned by Werner Theunissen, the septet became the first Dutch act to top the UK Chart. It is estimated that "Mississippi" sold over five million copies worldwide. It was later followed by "Smile" in 1976, and "Hey Joe" in 1978. Others hits were "If You Ever Come to Amsterdam", "Georgie", "Wet Day in September" and "My Broken Souvenirs". A stellar European career followed that ultimately, at its peak, spanned ten years and included some seventeen albums. By 1978 Hans Lutjens had replaced Coumans on drums, as the band continued to release albums and tour, travelling as far afield as South Africa. They made regular appearances on the West German TV Series, Musikladen, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

But as the 1980s rolled along, the sisters found it increasingly difficult to finance huge tours with so many Musicians, and replaced their backing band with taped music, and thus Pussycat shifted their image one last time. They continued to play and record through the mid 1980s when they finally disbanded.

Tonny, whose own extra curricular activities had commenced back in 1973 with her own single release "For You" (under the alias Sally Lane), proved especially prolific, unleashing a string of albums, of which New Words to an Old Love Song saw her elected Best Female Country Singer of the Year by the Dutch magazine, Country Gazette.

The Wednesday Play - Cathy come home: 1966

A harrowing television play which generated great controversy when it was first transmitted in Britain on BBC TV in November 1966 as part of the ‘Wednesday Play; series. It was Tony Garnett’s first ‘Wednesday Play’ as a producer and was directed by Ken Loach. Writer Jeremy Sandford had investigated the plight of the homeless and its effect on family life.
Jeremy Sandford's drama about a young family's slide into homelessness and poverty was a defining moment in 1960s television, demonstrating how far drama could influence the political agenda. The controversy generated by Cathy Come Home led to public outrage at the state of housing in Britain, and gave a welcome boost to the (coincidental) launch of the homelessness charity Shelter a few days after the play was first broadcast, as part of the BBC's The Wednesday Play strand.
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The play follows young lovers Cathy and Reg from the optimism of their early married days through a spiral of misfortune that follows Reg's work accident, leading to eviction and separation, and culminating, in what remains one of TV's most memorable scenes, in a hysterical Cathy having her children forcibly taken away by Social Services.

The success of Cathy established director Ken Loach as a politically committed filmmaker standing apart from the commercial mainstream, and demonstrated again his sensitivity to his usually working-class characters.

With its abandonment of the confines of the studio in favour of location filming, and its innovative use of documentary techniques - owing something to the Free Cinema movement associated with filmmakers likeLindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz - Cathy played an important part in the development of television drama at a time when writers were attempting to take the form into a new territory, distinct from its theatrical origins.Loach himself had been attempting to break free of the usual restrictions of TV drama since the early '60s, notably with the series Diary of a Young Man (BBC, 1963) and an earlier Wednesday Play, 'Up the Junction' (BBC, tx. 3/11/1965), which also starred Carol White (as did his first cinema release, Poor Cow (1967)).

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While some critics remained uncomfortable about the blurring of the distinction between drama and documentary, there was little argument about the play's power. If anything, its reputation has grown in the years since it first appeared - in September 2000, Cathy Come Home came in second place in the Britsh Film Institute's TV 100 poll of industry figures, behind Fawlty Towers.

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Loach returned to similar themes in his 1994 film Ladybird, Ladybird.Sandford continued his crusading approach with the similarly powerfulEdna: the Inebriate Woman (BBC, 1971).

Cloppa Castle: 1978

Cloppa Castle

Cloppa Castle Cloppa Castle
Cloppa Castle oil well Cloppa Castle
Cloppa Castle Cloppa Castle
Shown on ITV back in 1978 this fantastic little puppet series was excellent and I had no idea that it was over Thirty years old. There you go, that old saying about time flying!

Each episode lasted approximately 10 minutes and there were several dozen episodes made. The very first episode has Queen Ethelbruda's ghost appearing and we are shown Cloppa Castle is a state of ruin. I'm not sure why but seeing this again made me a little sad. The Queen decides to show us what the castle used to be like, full of people and ideas even though they were constantly at war.
Each episode concerned the goings on at a fort called Cloppa Castle. The castle is medieval and owned by the Byegones who are under what seems like a permanent siege from the bad guys called Hasbeenes. The Byegones are ruled by Queen Ethelbruda and King Woebegone, although early on it is clear that Ethelbruda wears the trousers in this relationship. King Woebegone is quite happy just to sit back and relax, leaving the more strategic decisions to his wife. One of his main duties that he very often forgets to do is inspecting the troops each day. Occasionally we see him emerge from "ye old wine cellar" in the castle basement or doing a spot of fishing in the local river. The King and Queen have a son called Prince Idelbone presumably named because he rarely gets out of bed before noon. They also have and a bit of a space cadet for a daughter called Princess Tizzibel.
The actual brains and guts of the castle comes next lead by Royal wizard called Mudlin who spends most of his time in his lab beneath the castle grounds. There is a court jester called Jest A Minit who tries very little to crack jokes and those he does crack are not worth hanging around for. The main brains of the outfit is the Royal inventor called Cue-Ee-Dee (the name of the door of his laboratory). The inventor is often helped by a bright young pageboy called Albright. The Royal security and indeed all castle security is managed by the head soldier called Elbow. He orders the other soldiers around especially Osmosis and Kippo. The Castle is set in a kingdom with other castles as one of the more friendly neighbours is King Cedric the Depleted.
The cause of the conflict is oil. The Byegones were digging for water inside the castle when they accidently struck oil. Cue-Ee-Dee constructed an oil Derrick to extract the oil and as a result of the new found wealth of the Byegones, the Hasbeenes are determined to get it for themselves. The Hasbeenes are the arch enemies of the Byegones and are hell bent upon usurping the throne and laying claim to the oil resources found beneath the castle grounds. Hence they spend most of their time outside the castle thinking up plans to get inside.

The Characters
Quen Ethelbruda
(Queen Ethelbruda)

The King Woebegone
(King Woebegone)

Prince Idelbone
(Prince Idlebone)

Princess Tizzibel (Tizzi for short)
(Princess Tizzibel)

Cue-ee-dee - the inventor
(Cue - Ee - Dee)

Albright - clever and quick thinking

The Court Jester
(Jest a Minit)

Mudlin the Wizard

Osmosis - small castle guard

Prince Wolfnot - once fiance to Princess Tizzi
(Prince Wolfnot)

The leader of the Hasbeenes is Beosweyne. He is a black bearded warrior, the strongest of his clan. His right hand man is called Hench but the rest of the army are nothing short of a rabble. The rules are simple - all is fair in love and war and the battles commence each day irrespective of time of day or weather. That is until the clock strikes three. Then everything stops for tea for about half an hour before war recommences.

Cloppa Castle credits

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Cloppa Castle credits

Cloppa Castle credits

Cloppa Castle credits

Cloppa Castle credits