Kenneth Williams Joan Sims Charles Hawtrey Sid James Kenneth Connor Peter Butterworth
Hattie Jacques Bernard Bresslaw Jim Dale Barbara Windsor Patsy Rowlands Jack Douglas
Terry Scott Leslie Phillips

Kenneth Williams

  • 25 films (Sergeant to Cruising, Jack to Again Doctor, Loving to Abroad, Dick, Behind, and Emmanuuelle)
  • Co-presenter That’s Carry On!

Kenneth Williams played a range of character types, nearly always a lead character. Early roles were rather strait-laced; he then sometimes played his snide character: quite slimy and smarmy with a distinctive nasal voice. Later the haughty, proud and easily outraged elitist became more frequent and Williams’ best known character type. Williams sometimes played characters of other nationalities, such as in Up the Khyber. In some roles, when not actually playing his role in snide mode, Williams might deliver a single joke using his snide voice. A running gag in many of the films was that Williams’ character would be embroiled in an extra-marital affair with that of Hattie Jacques—this plot device was used to greatest effect in the hospital-based films, which gave rise to Williams’ famous catchphrase “ohhh Matron!”.

Joan Sims

  • 24 films (Nurse to Regardless, Cleo to Emmannuelle)
  • Christmas specials (1972, 1973)
  • Carry On Laughing (11 episodes)

Joan Sims had the longest uninterrupted run of roles in Carry On films, being in all 20 films (excluding That’s Carry On) from Carry On Cleo to Carry On Emmannuelle. She played a range of characters from jolly and assertive young women with sturdy moral standards (Camping, Loving) to sexy and lusty matrons – either desired (At Your Convenience) or coarse and unattractive (Henry, Up the Khyber), to a chatty glutton (in Matron), a battleaxe wife (Screaming) and an unattractive spinster (Doctor).

Charles Hawtrey

  • 23 films (Sergeant to Regardless, Cabby to Abroad)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1970)

Charles Hawtrey often played a meek, rather effete ‘mummy’s boy’ who could suddenly erupt into riotous behaviour. Other roles were as a strict, officious and prissy person in an authority role. Hawtrey’s characters were often bumbling and accident prone, and the victim of various mishaps and complex misunderstandings.

Sid James

  • 19 films (Constable to Cabby, Cleo, Cowboy, Don’t Lose Your Head, Doctor to Dick)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1970, 1973)
  • What a Carry On!
  • Carry On Laughing (four episodes)

Sid James always played a lead character, usually a laconic member of the working class. His characters were often lecherous womanisers, something that caused problems in James’ private life.

Kenneth Connor

  • 17 films (Sergeant to Cabby, Cleo, Up the Jungle, Henry, Matron to Emmannuelle)
  • Christmas specials (1970, 1972, 1973)
  • What a Carry On!
  • Carry On Laughing (12 episodes)

Kenneth Connor often played put-upon men ranging in character from pompous to meek, and often leering. He also provided some additional voice-work in Emmannuelle when he dubbed the dialogue of Howard Nelson (Harry Hernia).

Peter Butterworth

  • 16 films (Cowboy to Again Doctor, Loving, Henry, Abroad to Emmannuelle)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1972, 1973)
  • What a Carry On!
  • Carry On Laughing (nine episodes)

Peter Butterworth frequently played major roles in the films, often as a generally benign, unflappable but bumbling assistant or servant unable to see the chaos around him. Unusually for a regular, in some films, including Again Doctor, Henry and Loving, his role consists of a cameo appearance in a single scene.

Hattie Jacques

  • 14 films (Sergeant to Regardless, Cabby, Doctor, Camping, Again Doctor, Loving, At Your Convenience to Abroad, Dick)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1972)
  • Carry On Laughing (one episode)

Hattie Jacques played the haughty matron, school senior mistress or other archetypal authority figure in several films. Later she branched out into more varied comic roles (e.g. At Your Convenience, Loving and Abroad, in which she played a chef embroiled in a constant battle with the stove).

Bernard Bresslaw

  • 14 films (Cowboy, Screaming, Follow That Camel to Camping, Up the Jungle, Loving, At Your Convenience to Behind)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1970, 1973)
  • Carry On Laughing (five episodes)

Bernard Bresslaw varied between playing the clumsy dimwit or the heavy, or the lusty and bombastic “foreigner”. In the later films his characterisation developed greater depth, such as in Dick, Behind.

Jim Dale

  • 11 films (Cabby to Doctor, Again Doctor, Columbus)

Jim Dale joined the series with support roles, but quickly progressed to playing the younger, sympathetic male lead, often in the film’s romance plot strand. From his debut had an uninterrupted nine-film run. After a two-film absence (Camping and Up The Khyber) returned for Again Doctor, his final Carry On until taking the lead role in the 1992 revival film Carry On Columbus.

Barbara Windsor

  • 10 films (Spying, Doctor, Camping, Again Doctor, Henry, Matron to Dick
  • Co-presenter That’s Carry On!
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973)
  • What a Carry On!
  • Carry On Laughing (eight episodes)

Barbara Windsor played main roles in all her Carry On appearances. Her characters were always the cheeky and saucy young blonde, often in revealing costumes. Sometimes her characters were chaste (and very often chased), some were easily swayed.

Patsy Rowlands

  • 9 films (Again Doctor, Loving to Behind)
  • Carry On Laughing (one episode)

Patsy Rowlands started in support roles, often as undervalued, meek and mousey secretary or assistant who undergoes transformation into a more assertive and sexually aware woman.

Jack Douglas

  • 8 films (Matron to England, Columbus)
  • Christmas specials (1972, 1973)
  • What a Carry On!
  • Carry On Laughing (12 episodes)

Jack Douglas joined the series with a cameo appearance in Matron, where he appears in one scene with a single line of dialogue. After an only slightly larger role in the following film Abroad, where he again plays his established Alf Ippititimus-type character, his roles increased in size and increasingly diverged from the familiar Alf performance. After his début Douglas appeared in all subsequent films in the original series, and was one of the few returners for Columbus.

Terry Scott

  • 7 films (Sergeant, Up the Khyber, Camping, Up the Jungle to Henry, Matron)
  • Christmas specials (1969, 1970)

Terry Scott appeared briefly in the first film Sergeant and returned 10 years later when he played, among others, the put-upon husband (Camping), the barking sergeant (Up the Khyber) and lusty doctor (Matron). Additionally, he appeared in two of the four Carry On Christmas TV specials. He also filmed a scene for At Your Convenience as union big-wig Mr Allcock, which was not used in the finished film.

Leslie Phillips

  • 4 films (Nurse to Constable, Columbus)

Leslie Phillips appeared in three early films, after which he left the series only to return 32 years later for Columbus as the King of Spain.