On England Trivia
- Carry On England was a previously made TV episode from
Carry On Laughing given a work over for the big screen by David Pursall and
Jack Seddon. Dave Freeman, who wrote Behind, was working on another
Carry On script, but it was never made.
- The Brigadier played by Peter Jones was offered to
Kenneth Williams, but due to other work commitments he couldn't fit in a
three week shooting schedule. Peter Jones was filming in the day and
was in Ludlow rehearsing Hamlet.
- Considering there were non of the large wage earners
(Kenneth Williams or Sid James) and all the equipment was on loan from The
Imperial War Museum, England cost over £250,000 to make the most expensive
Carry On by far at the time.
- Some cinemas took England off the screens after 3 days
due to it's poor performance.
- Peter Rogers wanted to cut back on the budget and so
only wanted to use a 20 piece orchestra for the music which normally took 40
pieces. Eric Rogers was having non of this and refused to do it, and so Max
Harris was brought in from TV's Porridge.
- Before production started Peter Rogers and Gerald
Thomas took a visit to the cinema to watch a Confession of a ...
film, which prompted them to inject more risqué qualities in to the film.
- Carry On England originally started life as a script
for the ATV television series Carry On Laughing. Entitled ‘The Busting Of
Balsy’ it was almost immediately rejected on the grounds of it being far too
expensive to produce. On 14th January 1975 Colin Rogers, Head of Scripts at
ATV, informed Peter Rogers of the situation and revealed that they could
“recoup some of our write-off costs.” In fact what happened was Richard
Stone, agent to the writers Jack Seddon and David Pursall, bought back the
property for £500. In a letter dated 22nd January 1975 Peter Rogers
suggested to Stone that the writers “convert their television play into a
“Carry On” film, tentatively entitled “Carry On England”, a title he had
registered with the British Film Producer’s Association as early as 1961.
- February 1976 saw producer Peter Rogers buoyant with
ideas for the coming year. He had two projects he wished to film. Both were
comedies set during World War II, the first, a Carry On, the second a
non-Carry On, We Haf Ways Of Making You Larf, which was to be based on
Talbot Rothwell’s unused prisoner of war camp effort, Carry On Escaping.
Carry On England was pitched to the Rank Organisation as to star “Windsor
Davies, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas, Bernard Bresslaw, James Bolam, Kenneth
Williams, Ian Lavender, Joan Sims, Penelope Keith, Adrienne Posta, Susan
Penhaligon, Anne Aston, Carol Hawkins, etc, etc.” Penelope Keith, who had
seen her part of ‘plain nurse’ edited from Carry On Doctor was, of course,
nationally beloved as Margo in The Good Life at the time. She was originally
cited to play Ffouke-Sharpe, the role that eventually went to Joan Sims.
Kenneth Williams was offered the role of the Brigadier that eventually went
to Peter Jones. Bernard Bresslaw and many others of the actors mentioned who
had appeared in the previous film, Carry On Behind, didn’t star. Anne Aston,
meanwhile, joined the cast of the Scarborough stage show, Carry On Laughing,
in July 1976.
- Initially Rank were happy to endorse both films but a
dispute over 5% less profit participation going to the organisation caused a
problem and, immediately, the non Carry On was dropped. Moreover, with
declining cinemas and the British film industry facing a new low, Rank were
only prepared to provide half of the budget for Carry On England. The
remaining requirement, some £130,000 would have to come from a private
sponsor. Gerald Thomas finally got an agreement from the rock group Pink
Floyd at the end of March 1976. However, less than a week later they pulled
out, citing an unexpectedly huge tax demand as the reason. With the studio
time already booked and a production date set, Gerald Thomas informed
Floyd’s legal representative that: “Peter and I have decided to replace your
clients and finance half the picture ourselves. As you know, we have never
done this in the past because we do not think it is a good policy.”
- Although never mentioned in connection with the film
Sid James was unavailable for the project due to his taxing tour in The
Mating Season. The pre-production meeting for Carry On England was held at
11 am at Pinewood Studios on Monday, 26th April 1976. That same evening Sid
collapsed and died in Sunderland.
- Art director Lionel Couch and producer Peter Rogers
negotiated with Peter Simkins, keeper of the Department of Exhibits, with
regards borrowing the impressive 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun from the reserve
collections of the Imperial War Museum. It enjoyed a 24 hour security watch
while in residence at Pinewood Studios and was insured for £5,000. After its
arrival Peter Rogers wrote to Simkins explaining that: “when it came through
the Studio gates [it] drew gasps of approval. No one in the Studios has a
bigger gun at the moment, not even Bond.” Roger Moore was filming The Spy
Who Loves Me at the time.