915pm - 24th December 1969
"What a Cracker"
50 min Colour
Dr Frank ‘n’ Stein, Convent Girl, Mr Barrett, Baggie the Ugly Sister
Spirit of Christmas Past, Angel, Convent Girl, Buttons
Elizabeth Barrett, Nun, Bemused Passerby
Cinderella, Fanny, Spirit of Christmas Present
Bob Cratchit, Frankenstein’s Monster, Spirit of Christmas Future, Convent Girl, Town Crier, Policeman
Dracula, Street Beggar, Convent Girl, Haggie the Other Ugly Sister
Robert Browning, Fairy Godmother
It was inevitable that in the year that Khyber and Camping were made and released something would happen for Television. Peter Eton asked for permission to make the first, and probably best, TV spin-off. It was broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1969 and was in the ilk of a Morecambe and Wise-like show and so became essential watching for British families.
The script from Talbot Rothwell made it the funniest of the four Christmas specials that were made and took the traditional path of a Christmas special and recreated Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with as many double entendres in sight as possible. Being the Carry Ons they also added a dash of Hammer House Of Horror and Pantomime for good measure.
Sid chuckles and sneers his way through the pieces as Ebenezer Scrooge and acts as the central theme to link all the other comical sections together. Terry Scott jumps to second billing for this show due to his TV record and even special guest, Frankie Howerd, pops in for priceless cameos and stops the show at one point and goes into his stand-up routine.
The real fun starts when the Carry Oners that are more at home on the stage than in front of a camera get going. Suspended from a wire Charles Hawtrey pops in as a Christmas Fairy and grants Bresslaw’s sympathetic and hulking, Bob Cratchit, his wishes. Charlie returns later on in the piece as a comic variation on Marley’s Ghost opposite the totally stunned Sid who just lets Hawtrey get on with it. (Sid was never very comfortable at ad-libbing). In another segment Terry Scott’s Frank ‘n’ Stein enables Rothwell to resurrect images of Carry On Screaming with some typical horror spoofs. Peter Butterworth flies in as Count Dracula and at this point the script is thrown away as Scott and Butterworth pay little regard to it and the two panto ‘pros’ go into a tongue-in-cheek sequence of corpsing, ad-libbing and knowing expressions. Pure genius.
Barbara Windsor shows her face as a sexiful ghost who tells a story of the failing poet Robert Browning, played semi-tragically by Frankie Howerd, against the love of his life, Hattie Jacques.