Oo, er, missus! Carry On team is reborn so they can carry on camping it up
When movie buffs discuss the greatest moments in British cinematic history, Barbara Windsor losing her bra in Carry On Camping has rarely ranked on a par with the tear-jerking romance of Brief Encounter.
Nonetheless, in any trip down memory lane, half of the country could probably join in the cry of: "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" and similar lines of majestic nonsense.
And we are to get the chance to do so again. Fourteen years after the last attempt at the "oo, er, missus" humour of the Carry On movies ended ignominiously with Carry On Columbus, the franchise is to be resurrected this summer when the 32nd film in the series goes into production. The UK film company Intandem Films announced yesterday, on the eve of the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, the annual homage to the more artistic side of the cinematic art, that Carry On London will be shot in and around the capital this summer.
The former EastEnders star Shane Richie will be joined by footballer-turned-film gangster Vinnie Jones - with Victoria Silvstedt, a Miss Sweden and Maxim Woman of the Year - for those unacquainted with her talents - taking what will presumably be the role previously occupied by the busty beauty Barbara Windsor.
The cast of characters, including Sir Desmond Uppingham Knightly, a scoundrel magazine publisher, and the gangster Tony Le Berc, also known as Two-Fingers Tony - none of whom bears any resemblance to any real-life people, living or dead - will be directed by Peter Richardson, who is best known for the TV show The Comic Strip Presents. The £6.4m project promises to be a cocktail of political incorrectness and double entendres which look set to put back the cause of equal rights several decades.
Richie said yesterday: "Like many people I grew up with the Carry On movies and was thrilled to be asked to star in the new film.
"The original films, packed with double entendres and hilarious comedy, kept us all laughing for over 30 years, so it's a great honour not only to be asked to be part of the new film but also to be carrying on a wonderful tradition. I'm really looking forward to it, Matron!"
Vinnie Jones agreed it was great to part of a "wonderful" comedy tradition. "It really kept me laughing through my youth so it's great news that I'm part of that tradition and able to introduce it to my own kids."
Carry On London follows Lenny's Limos, who are hired to take celebrities to a new film awards ceremony. In true Carry On style, the scenario descends into a maelstrom of corny gags and slapstick humour as the cast of gangsters, starlets and three hapless drivers career through the West End of London.
Thirty Carry On films were made at Pinewood Studios, where parts of the new movie will be shot, between 1958 and 1978, with casts that regularly included the era's comedy greats: Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams, all of whom are now dead. However, Peter Rogers, who created the genre and produced all 30 plus the last attempt in 1992, is still alive and will be again among the producers.
"Here we go again," the veteran producer said yesterday. "I could say this is where I came in - but, in fact, it's where I intend to go, with a new team of players who, I hope, will take the place of the one we lost."
Intandem Films aims to re-launch the Carry On brand to create a new generation of fans. Garry Smith, its chief executive officer, said it was a successful and powerful franchise. "We believe that this film will certainly please the faithful fans but also appeal to a young new audience... who simply want to be entertained by a laugh-out-loud quality comedy," he said.
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