Who doesn’t enjoy a Carry On Film?
True, in this modern day they may be a little close to the knuckle with outrageous innuendo and a sprinkling of sexism. The Carry On franchise ran from 1958 – 1992. This British comedy saw 31 films. Produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas, a regular cast of stars included favourites Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtry, Barbara Windsor and Sid James.
One of my favourite films is Carry On At Your Convenience made in 1971. Sid James played Sid Plummer who worked at WC Boggs’ Lavatory factory in a time of industrial action and strikes. I remember the film had a gambling slant as the pet budgie, Joey, had the knack of tipping winning horses until Benny The Bookie (turf accountant) closed his account.
Sid Plummer said: ‘What kind of sportsman are you?’
Benny replied: ‘If I was a sportsman I’d be riding the horse!’
Anyway, it seems Sid James was a gambling man who wasn’t afraid to have a bet.
He loved to bet on the horses.
However, he was a gambling addict and largely unsuccessful. In fact, he lost ten of thousands over his lifetime. He was so prone to a bet that he asked his agent Michael Sullivan not to tell his wife how much he was earning so she wouldn’t know about his gambling losses.
In fact, James was notoriously tight-fisted because he was often in debt or looking to bet on the next ‘sure thing’.
He also loved to drink whisky and favourite brand Cutty Sark. By all accounts, it was his favourite because it was free!
Often referred to as a gentleman who loved the three ‘Bs’: Booze, Birds and Betting.
It was known that James would look for the next ‘bung’ and cash in hand to keep it from the tax man or suspicious wife. To get free cases of scotch he’d place brands on set or add unscripted mentions in broadcasts.
Sid James starred in 20 Carry On films.
He passed away on 26th April 1976 aged 62.