A 32nd Carry On film could be in cinemas by the end of the year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the series famed for its slapstick and double entendres.
After years of delays, a final script for the film, with the working title Carry On London, has been signed off, the production company has confirmed.
Stars including Vinnie Jones, Shane Ritchie and Daniella Westbrook have been linked to the project, but casting details have yet to be confirmed. The plot is said to revolve around a fleet of limousine drivers taking celebrity clients to the Herberts, a British version of the Oscars.
It will be the first Carry On film since the attempt to revive the franchise with the ill-fated Carry On Columbus 16 years ago. That film starred Julian Clary, Jim Dale, Maureen Lipman and the Carry On veteran June Whitfield, but was panned by the critics. Empire magazine called it "a cheaper alternative to pantomime." It flopped at the box office.
The Carry On films began with Carry On Sergeant in 1958, a gentle-humoured affair compared to later entries in the canon which mined a deep – and deeply popular – seam of toilet humour, lightweight smut and mother-in-law jokes. They also starred some of Britain's finest comedians, notably Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howerd.
While some films – such as Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, from 1966 and the 1978 Carry On Emmanuelle – rarely got a television outing after their cinema release, others, such as Carry On Doctor, from 1967 and Carry On Up the Khyber, 1968, became hardy re-run perennials. The 1969 Carry On Camping contributed the defining Carry On moment, involved Barbara Windsor's bra, an al fresco aerobics session and a shocked Kenneth Williams. Pinewood Studios will hold a party this weekend to celebrate the franchise's 50th birthday.
Plans to resurrect the series began in 2003 but the production has had a problematic birth. The EastEnders and Extras star Shaun Williamson was due to play chauffeur Dickie Ticker, but pulled out in 2004 after the producer James Black was replaced, delaying the film's production.
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