What a Carry On! The Best and Worst of the Movies

With news that the bikini worn by Dame Barbara Windsor in the 1969 film Carry On Camping has sold at auction for £9,500, we thought we’d take a trot through some of the classics and clunkers from the venerable British comedy movie series.

The late actress wore the bikini in a famous scene where her bikini top flew off in the middle of an exercise class. An image from the scene in Carry On Camping was included in the order of service for her funeral, accompanied by her quote: “That picture will follow me to the end.”

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The scene had to be shot three times, with the garment being removed by the deft use of a fishing rod in the hands of an off-screen assistant. Remnants of the fishing line could still be seen stitched to the front of the top, auction house Kerry Taylor Auctions said.

Proceeds from sale of the item, which had been rescued from a bin decades ago, will be donated by the vendor to the Alzheimer’s Society. The actress, who also starred in EastEnders, died in December from Alzheimer’s at the age of 83.

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The film series, starting with Carry On Sergeant in 1958, consisted of 31 movies made between 1958 and 1978, and one in 1992, plus four TV Christmas specials, a television series of thirteen episodes, and three stage plays. Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas drew on a regular group of actors that included Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas, and Jim Dale.

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As of September 2019, three new Carry On films were set to be filmed back-to-back, after Brian Baker won the rights to the movies following a legal battle with ITV earlier that year. Production of the new films had been planned to take place in spring 2020, but filming was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So we don’t know at this stage whether to expect more Carry Ons…

Barbara Windsor’s Carry On Camping bikini

In 2018, the 60th anniversary of the series, the British Film Institute selected its five favourite Carry Ons, and five it thought were best forgotten…

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