Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ooh Missus!

This post relates to a very British institution - the series of 'Carry On' films which began in the 1960s and were all an unalloyed mixture of smut, innuendo and slapstick. I loved them when I was a kid - I still do. The men in them were either gay (when to be gay was illegal in Britain) or filthy, heterosexual lechers, and the women were portrayed as either nymphomaniacs or overweight prudes. Like hard-core porn films, the plots were flimsy to say the least, and various scenarios and settings (ancient Rome, hospitals, the Foreign Legion, Henry the Eighth, camping holidays, etc. etc.) and were merely vehicles on which to hang the never-ending boob jokes. Any Brit over the age of 40 does not need to be told this, of course.

Most Brits will also remember the fad for leaving racks of postcards in wine-bars and pubs which could be taken free of charge, in order to advertise various products, a few years ago too. One night, I took one of these cards from the rack of a wine bar, because it had the same image on it as I have posted above - the poster for the infamous, 'Carry On Camping' film - and I read the back of it before using it as a postcard to send to a friend.

It said that if I texted (SMS'd) the words, "Ooh Missus" to a certain number, I would stand a chance to win one of a series of prizes, the top one being a camping holiday for two - including train-fares - to the village of 'Cockermouth' in the Lake District. This village was only chosen because of the suggestive nature of it's name, despite being a well-known beauty spot, I believe. So I spent the 15 pence on sending the message, then forgot all about it - I'd had a few drinks...

A few weeks later, I was in a different pub when my mobile phone rang. There was a woman on the other end, and she asked,

"Is that Tom Stephenson? Do you remember sending a text to our company a few weeks ago, saying 'Ooh Missus'? Well, I am pleased to say that you have won."

I had a sudden surge of horror at the prospect of me and H.I. getting on a train with a large tent, and traveling all the way up to the Lake District in order to put it up in a cold and wet field, then spending a week wandering around the bleak and desolate hills, trying to find a place to eat hot food and have a hot shower. I already knew that H.I. would never dream of spending even one night in a tent - she has never been camping in her life - and I had, over the years, developed a taste for comfortable hotels with bars and restaurants attached. Then I began to realise that they could not force me to go camping miles away from home, and started to wonder if there might be a cash alternative - say around the £50 that it would have cost them to send us camping. I need not have worried.

"Yes, Tom", she continued, "You have won the entire box-set of 'Carry On' films in DVD format, and all I need now is a postal address to send them to."

The DVDs arrived a few days later, and I gave them straight to the grand-children, who have long since stopped wondering why on earth they were ever made in the first place.


  1. Wicked! So their parents were conceived during bouts of Carry On? It just gets better!

  2. I very much doubt it Sarah. They seem to show no interest at all in their rich cultural heritage.

  3. Lucky you Tom...nudge, nudge, wink, wink...

  4. Do you remember the one where they were conscripted for National Service?

    Sargeant. 'What's your name Sonny?'
    Conscript. 'William Parts, Sargeant!'
    Sargeant. 'Well, Private Parts..... etc etc'.

  5. Matron: I'm a simple woman with simple tastes, and I want to be wooed!
    Sir Bernard Cutting: Ooh, you can be as 'wude' as you like with me!

  6. A whole scene was set up for this one joke:

    A runner comes into Caesar's room and stands there with smoke coming from his sandals.

    "I've come hot-foot from Rome!".

  7. P.S., Sarah - I didn't mean that the children wondered why THEY were made in the first place, I meant the films...

  8. Good story! Roughing it isn't my idea of a good time either, these days. Coincidentally I am just in the middle of reading a biography of Kenneth Williams. Interesting man.

  9. I am so jealous. My dad loved these films. I was just a kid and most of it went over my head, but I knew I was seeing some really "racy" stuff. I remember the "Carry On Camping" title and for some reason "Carry on Up the Kyber (sp)". You have just resurrected (notice I didn't say erected!) a ton of memories. Ann

  10. I thought you liked a bit of rough, Judith?

    If I had known, I would have sent you the DVDs, rather than give them to those unappreciative brats, Ann.