Carry on Laughing is a British television comedy series produced in 1975 for ATV. Based on the Carry On films, it was an attempt to address the films' declining cinema attendance by transferring the franchise to television. Many of the original cast members were featured in the series.
Carry on Laughing ran for two seasons, the first for six half-hour episodes and the second for seven episodes. The episode Orgy and Bess featured the final Carry On performances of both Sid James and Hattie Jacques.
The TV series is not as widely known as the original films, which - by contrast - are broadcast regularly on British television. It is also considered much less successful at transferring the established formula to the small screen than the Carry On Christmas specials.
The series was conceived after the departures of two long-serving Carry On contributors: writer Talbot Rothwell and actor Charles Hawtrey. Furthermore, Kenneth Williams declined to appear in the series. Other Carry On regulars only appeared in a minority of episodes: Sid James in only the first four, Hattie Jacques in only one; and Bernard Bresslaw appeared only in the second series.
In the absence of Rothwell, other writers were brought in. Lew Schwarz and experienced Carry On writer Dave Freeman each wrote six, while Barry Cryer and Dick Vosburgh penned Orgy and Bess.
Each episode parodied a famous TV series, film or book. Three episodes feature a character based on Lord Peter Wimsey - Lord Peter Flimsy. Another two episodes are nods to Upstairs, Downstairs, with the character of Hudson the Butler parodied as Clodson.
The series provided an opportunity for David Lodge - little more than a bit-part player in some of the later Carry On films - to play leading characters.
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