On Henry Trivia
- The original alternative title was 'Anne of a Thousand
Lays', in reference to the Richard Burton film, 'Anne of a Thousand Days'.
- Sid is wearing the same cloak that Richard Burton is
wearing a few months earlier.
- Carry On Henry was originally aimed at Sir Harry
Seacombe in the title role. Talbot Rothwell wanted composing and
madrigals to be a major part of the action and a singer in the role would
have been a real boon.
- The publicity machine was out in force for Carry On
Henry: Carry On number 21. Indeed, at the time of Carry On Loving’s release
worried memos were reflecting great media interest in the 21st film. It was
felt that this interest could over-shadow box office returns for Carry On
Loving. However, in the event, both films performed well. Carry On Henry was
given a champagne reception launch by Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas at the
Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 7th October 1970. A very special This Is Your
Life had also been arranged for scriptwriter Talbot Rothwell on Wednesday
28th October. He was surprised on the set of the film by host Eamonn Andrews
in Tudor garb.
- The grandeur of the project was given a suitably
right royal seal of approval when production manager Jack Swinburne managed
to persuade Major Haig, of the Crown Estates Office, Windsor Great Park, to
allow filming within the grounds. Sid James, Julian Holloway and comely
wench Margaret Nolan, filmed the lavish ‘fox-hunting’ sequence at Windsor on
Tuesday 13th October 1970. The unique access to the grounds was afforded
with a proviso “that there shall be no publicity or mention of Windsor Great
Park or the Long Walk”.
- Although Sid James managed to fulfil his agreement to
be available for filming, his potential stage commitment also promoted the
makers to ponder on other actors to play the much-married monarch. Talbot
Rothwell, having toiled with the Henry idea in the mid-1960’s, had already
considered Harry Secombe for the part. The composing and performing of saucy
madrigals was planned as a major part of the comedy and Harry Secombe had,
in 1970, joined the pool of Rank comedy players for Betty Box and Ralph
Thomas in Doctor In Trouble. In the end, the idea of bawdy mediaeval songs
did crop up, in Dave Freeman’s Carry On Christmas in 1972. Ironically Sid
James wasn’t available for the programme and missed out on the performing of
- On reflection of the recent classical presentation of
King Henry VIII, Anne of the Thousand Days, the film’s original alternative
title was to have been Anne of a Thousand Lays. Sid James did, however, get
to don the same Berman’s owned Henry VIII cloak that Richard Burton had worn
- Sadly, several interesting supporting actors saw
their roles in the film hit the cutting room floor. Regular Carry On player
Tony Sagar appeared as a heckler while Carry On Doctor actor Brian Wilde
played a warder. John Clive, later to notch up impressive roles in Carry On
Abroad and Carry On Dick appeared as a dandy of the court. Even more
intriguing was the singer David Essex as a young man at a speaker’s corner
meeting. Before rocketing to fame with the song Rock On in August 1973, he
sparred with Kenneth Connor’s anti-Sex Enjoyment Tax argument: “knowing that
with S. E. T. you’ve got to pay up for every little kiss and cuddle? No!
Let’s have it off, I say!”, with the typically cheeky, “I intend to!”.