Carry On Girls. Image shows from L to R: Peter Potter (Bernard Bresslaw), Cllr Sidney Fiddler (Sidney James). Image credit: Peter Rogers Productions.

Carry On Girls

The once-bustling seaside resort of Fircombe organises a beauty contest to try to increase visitors and revenue for the town

Strand:
Carry On Films
AKA:
Carry On Beauty Queen (Working Title)
Genre:
Film
Released:
1973
Starring:
Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Bernard Bresslaw, June Whitfield, Peter Butterworth, Jack Douglas, Patsy Rowlands, Joan Hickson, David Lodge
Writers:
Talbot Rothwell
Production:
Peter Rogers Productions

Suffering from rocketing average levels of rainfall and equally slumping sunshine, the once-bustling seaside town of Fircombe is in dire straits: who wants to holiday somewhere where the only indoor attraction is an amusement arcade?

Facing the quandry of how to attract punters for the coming season, arcade owner, small-time entrepreneur and local councillor Sidney Fiddler suggests that Fircombe establishes its own beauty pageant. Both contestants and spectators would help drive up local business, the publicity can only grow the town's fame, and besides, every other resort has one!

Whilst the Mayor is open to the idea, Cllr Augusta Prodworthy - a domineering killjoy and militant feminist in one - refuses to discuss the proposal, and storms out of the meeting. However, in her absence the rest of the council vote to pass the proposal...

Furious when she eventually hears of the news, Cllr Prodworthy gathers together her ground of womens' lib protestors and sets about making plans for the disruption of the pageant, and the humiliation of the Mayor, via almost any manner possible.

Fiddler, meanwhile, has arranged for the contestants to be put up in his girlfriend Connie's hotel without charge, and sent for an old friend and London-based agent and PR man, Peter Potter, to help organise and run the events. But with neither Peter's fiancée Paula nor Connie too impress by the boys' plans, it looks like they're fighting an uphill battle.

As the publicity machine ramps up and the bevy of busty beauties begin to descend on The Palace Hotel, Fircombe is sent into uproar. As the Mayor loses his trousers and the girls begin to squabble, a cross-dressing scandal threatens to rock the pageant and Prodworthy's group move in for the kill...

Our Review: A rollocking, uproarious seaside yarn, Carry On Girls is one of the more racy of the series, packing in a good deal of bare female flesh - although no out-and-out nudity - alongside the saucy jokes so prevalent in the films of the era.

There are points in the film where the action wanes a little, and others where it verges on the gratuitous, but a series of typically Carry On gags and a number of joyous set-piece scenes (not to mention some cracking performances from the cast) pull up Carry On Girls' average.

It isn't one of the most classic or noteworthy entries in the cannon, but the play-off between the two sides provides some great treats, and we've long felt that this particular film is, whilst not great, definitely undervalued. What other production can boast Sid James making a speedy getaway in a motorised go-kart?