On Doctor Trivia
- The Rank Organisation were still reluctant to
officially continue the Carry On series at this point although everybody
involved knew it was a tribute to Carry On Nurse. The original title,
subsequently one of Talbot Rothwell’s on-screen alternatives, was Nurse
Carries On Again. Shortly afterwards that was adapted to Carry On Again
Nurse, a title subsequently put into pre-production in 1979 and again in
1988 but never actually filmed.
- With original distribution company Anglo Amalgamated
threatening to put their own ‘Carry On’ film into production in September
1967 Peter Rogers was keen to push forward with the new title Carry On
Doctor. Seemingly sensing the end for both his series of films and the
Doctor comedies produced by his wife Betty Box, Carry On Doctor was
originally planned as the coda to both. Even before hinting at the idea with
the head of Rank Peter had mentioned it to Kenneth Williams. His diary entry
of 6th May reveals that the producer: “would like to do a Carry On Doctor as
the last, and then ‘say goodbye to the Carry Ons’ rather sad really.”
- The double whammy closure was certainly evident in
the film, with Rank’s other successful comedy series, the Doctor films,
acknowledged in the Carry On. James Robertson Justice, the formidable Scots
actor who had played Sir Lancelot Spratt in all six Doctor productions,
agreed to his likeness being used for a portrait in the Carry On. The
painting, suitably bearing the legend Sir J Robertson Justice, is situated
in the hospital foyer between the lifts.
- Eric Rogers had his usual classical and popular
culture in-joke fun with the film’s musical score. On the first appearance
of Charles Hawtrey as Mr Barron, a sufferer of a phantom pregnancy, a snatch
of ‘The Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells’ from Mussorgsky’s Pictures
from an Exhibition is included. Later, during the makeshift operation on
Kenneth Williams, Bernard Bresslaw relishes in revealing that he used to e a
barber and is complemented by a snatch of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
- Peter Rogers was wary of included two well known camp
performers: Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howerd, in the same cast. Indeed
their roles were seemingly interchangeable. Days after turning the film
down, Kenneth was told that Frankie was out of the film and was now offered
the leading role. Typically, Kenneth balked at accepting the responsibility
and rejected the idea, ironically seeking solace in the role of Dr Tinkle,
the part he had turned down days before. Although Peter maintained that he
kept them apart on screen, in actual fact, Kenneth and Frankie do share a
couple of brief scenes together and sparkle off each other perfectly.
- When Peter Rogers was developing this film, he was
concerned about using the Doctor title so he asked the head of Rank, John
Davis. He told him to ask his wife, Betty Box, as she was still making the
Doctor... series. They came to an arrangement, Peter paid her a
percentage of the takings.
- Frankie Howerd was unsure whether to accept the role of
Francis Bigger and so Kenneth Williams was given the part, but he became
uneasy about it, and so was recast as Dr Tinkle. Finally Frankie took
the part of Mr Bigger.
- If you look between the lifts in the foyer you will see
a portrait of James Robertson Justice, who played Sir Lancelot Spratt in Doctor In Clover, produced by Peter Rogers wife Betty Box.
- Sid James' part was reduced and they had him acting in
bed due to a recent heart attack.