The Carry On series primarily consists of 31 British comedy motion pictures (1958–1978 and 1992), four TV Christmas specials, a television series of thirteen episodes, and three stage plays. The films’ humour was in the British comic tradition of music hall and bawdy seaside postcards. 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.
The Carry On series contains the largest number of films of any British series, and it is the second-longest British film series, although with a fourteen-year break (1978–1992) between the 30th and 31st entries. (The James Bond film series is the longest-running, though with fewer films, 25, as of 2020).
Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd produced twelve films (1958–1966), the Rank Organisation made eighteen (1966–1978) and United International Pictures made one (1992).
Rogers and Thomas made all 31 films, usually on time and to a strict budget, and often employed the same crew. Between 1958 and 1992, the series employed seven writers, most often Norman Hudis (1958–1962) and Talbot Rothwell (1963–1974). In between the films, Rogers and Thomas produced four Christmas specials for television in 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1973, a thirteen-episode television series in 1975, and various West End stage shows that later toured the regions.
All the films were made at Pinewood Studios near Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. Budgetary constraints meant that a large proportion of the location filming was undertaken close to the studios in and around south Buckinghamshire, including areas of Berkshire and Middlesex. However, by the late 1960s (at the height of the series’ success) more ambitious plots occasionally necessitated locations further afield, which included Snowdonia National Park, Wales (with the foot of Mount Snowdon standing in for the Khyber Pass in Carry On Up the Khyber), and the beaches of the Sussex coast doubling as Saharan sand dunes in Follow That Camel.
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