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Film / Carry On Camping

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"Well, if this is paradise, give me hell."
Sid Boggle

Carry On Camping is a film from the Carry On series, that is arguably the best film of the entire franchise, and was the highest-grossing film at the box office in 1969. It stars series regulars Sid James, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Hattie Jacques, Dilys Laye, Terry Scott and Charles Hawtrey, and featured another appearance from Betty Marsden.

The movie hops between a Road Trip Plot and a Camping Episode depending on which set of characters are being focused on, as a group of people decide to spend their holidays at a campsite that belongs to a greedy farmer (Butterworth), who charges customers ludicrously.

Keen campers that arrive are Sid Boggle (James) and Bernie Lugg (Bresslaw), who are inspired to go camping after watching a movie at the cinema about a nudist campsite. They hope to liberate their prudish girlfriends, Joan Fussy (Sims) and Anthea Meeks (Laye), and hopefully have a chance to finally make love with them. The former goal doesn't go well, and the latter goal balances on a very thin line.


Another set of campers are married couple Harriet (Marsden) and Peter (Scott) Potter, who were completely divided over the idea, to begin with. Harriet is keen to go on a camping and is so wrapped up in her own little world, she doesn't listen to her camping-hating husband, who tries to convince her to go on holiday overseas, and fails miserably.

Then there's the happy-go-lucky Charlie Muggins (Hawtrey) whose tent is blown away and is allowed to stay with the Potter couple, much to Peter's disgust, and manages to unintentionally cause him loads of grief.

Finally, there are the schoolgirls from a posh boarding school, who hope to get lucky with boys whilst on holiday, but are watched like hawks under the beady eyes of their head teacher Dr. Soaper (Williams) and the school nurse Miss Haggerd (Jacques), who are secretly dealing with their own problems, such as Haggerd fawning over Soaper and hoping to go all the way with him.


Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes Include:

  • 6 Is 9: One of the Chayste schoolgirls' pranks on holiday is to invoke Dr. Soaper and Miss Haggerd UST by covering the "men" and "women" signs as Dr. Soaper is going for a nighttime shower. He walks into Miss Haggerd's shower and chastises her for being in the men's shower. When the two of them go outside to check, the girls had already gone to bed and the signs were back to normal. Miss Haggerd calls Soaper variations of "pervert".
  • Agony of the Feet: Sid accidentally puts his feet in the stew Joan is preparing. Bernie later gives him some ointment for his feet before they see the girls setting up their tents.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • Sid and Bernie for definite. Well, Bernie's not as much as Sid.
    • Peter isn't really, but there's a notable moment when he and his wife first met Charlie.
      Charlie Muggins: I hope I'm not intruding or anything.
      Harriet Potter: Certainly not, Mr. Muggins!
      Charlie Muggins: It's just that I'd think that you two would like to be alone.
      Harriet Potter: [clueless tone] What on earth for?
      (Charlie looks at her confused; Peter glares at her with disgust)
  • All Women Are Prudes: Joan and Anthea.
  • Alliterative Name: Peter Potter.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Sid and Bernie pay the greedy farmer at least £15 (at the time), but in notes. The British pound sterling were originally notes, before becoming golden-painted coins after (at least) the late 1980s.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Sid and Bernie (who were both played by Jewish actors) are dating Joan and Agatha — the former having a moaning mother (portrayed by a Jewish actress) — and the two women constantly moan about their boyfriends' foolish antics throughout the movie, leading into loads of arguments.
  • Answer Cut: Miss Haggerd and Dr Soaper's conversation about their well-behaved students, which features cuts of Babs and another girl fighting with the rest of the class cheering them on, and then later meeting up with boys and heavily petting with them in the school garden.
  • Apron Matron:
    • Miss Haggerd. But then again, she's played by Hattie Jacques.
    • Joan's mother too.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Miss Haggerd, who always gets on the wrong side of Babs and her friend Gaye.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: The Chayste school doesn't seem like a bad school, but you'll guarantee that the moment the teachers' backs are turned, something bad will happen.
  • Brake Angrily: Sid does this when Anthea is about to be sick (again) and Joan tells him to stop the car so she can be sick behind a hedge. The causes the roof rack holding the luggage to come off (again!).
  • Bull Seeing Red: Peter is chased by what he thought was a cow because of his red dinner bib around his neck.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Peter, at the unintentional hands of his oblivious wife.
    • Dr. Soaper to the schoolgirls he's in charge of, possibly because of hiring Miss Haggerd, and is always used in the Haggerd pranking.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Charlie sets up camp on a field that practices army weaponry. An explosion blows his tent away.
  • Chaos While They're Not Looking: The Chayste schoolgirls' first appearance in the movie is fighting and secretly dating boys. When Miss Haggerd walks into the room, they're practising what they've learnt from their etiquette lessons.
  • The Charmer: Boggle charms the schoolgirls after he helps them with their tent at the campsite and an offer for a friendly night-in complete with wine.
  • Class Trip: The campsite trip was this for the Chayste Finishing School.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Charlie, and Harriet, to a lesser extent.
  • Cover Up Purchase: Bernie is too shy to ask for sexual magazines over the counter in the newsagents, especially when there's an attractive woman serving for the day, so he asks for toothpaste out of embarrassment. Sid realizes, "That's why your cupboard's full of toothpaste."
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Peter uses this towards his wife constantly because she rarely listens to him.
      Harriet Potter: [on the topic of mosquitoes attacking her husband] They always seem to fancy you, don't they? What you really need is a repellent!
      Peter Potter: [through gritted teeth] Thanks. I married one.
    • Joan starts to become this too when she notices her and Anthea's boyfriends becoming obsessed with the schoolgirls.
    • Sid, when he's around Joan's mother. He realises how overprotective she is and probably hopes that she won't influence Joan into being more prudish to sex than she already is.
    • Bernie has an epic one.
      Sid Boggle: Leave? What? A lovely, cheap place like this?
      Bernie Luggs: I don't call ten quid cheap.
  • Deer in the Headlights: After an Oh, Crap! when he and his wife realise a bull is charging at them when they first try setting up camp, Harriet gets the hell out of the field to open the gate, whereas Peter freezes in terror. He finally does run for it and jumps over a hedge to escape.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Once you forget the fact that Sid James was well into his fifties when he was playing the obviously much younger Sid Boggle, but as a young man possibly in his early-thirties in the film, he should still know better to not go after the teenage Babs and her friend.
    • The coach driver that drives the schoolgirls to the campsite.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: What Peter does in response of being controlled by both his wife and unwelcomed guest Charlie.
  • Establishing Character Moment: A few of them, actually, generally with opening lines.
    • Sid's fixated looking at the screen and then his first line of "Cor!" while watching the nudist film at the beginning soldifies his status as a Dirty Old Man.
    • Joan first line after Sid's own ESM above is, "That's quite enough of that, thank you," in a disapproving tone, showing her prudish nature, and Anthea's first line moments later is, "I feel sick," showing how she is a prude too but has a weaker demeanor than Joan.
    • Bernie's opening line showcases his general tendency to miss the point as well as possibly his sarcasm: "What's the matter, Anth? Don't you like tennis?"
    • Peter Potter has a good one, where he arrives home with a few magazines of foreign destinations, and then says, "Oh, no," when he sees his wife checking on the camping gear in the living room. Straight away we know he hates camping but she doesn't.
  • Fancy Camping: The tents that the Chayste schoolgirls are staying in with shelter flaps definitely look more expensive than the ones that other campers are staying in.
  • Fangirls: The schoolgirls get excited over a hippie rock 'n' roll band that is playing opposite field and rush to join the hippie crowd. They might not know who they are, but they've probably lived very sheltered school lives where music wouldn't be allowed to play.
  • Flat Character: Charlie. Outside of the typical stereotype for Charles Hawtrey's characters, all he mostly does after he loses his tent in a hunting accident is travel around with other characters which help to tie up the loose ends of the story. For example, after the Potters leave him, he is seen again coming off the coach with Dr. Soaper's students, and then becomes attached to the Potters again, much to Peter's disgust. Then after he's eventually thrown out, he never returns to the story. However, he is seen among the girls at the end after The Flowerbuds leave and the girls leave with them.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Bernie stands up in the tent and his head pierces through the roof.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: In classic Carry On fashion.
    • Sid and Bernie trying to get their girlfriends to have sex with them and/or just simply see them naked.
    • Charlie trying to enjoy his vacation, losing his tent in the process, and then becomes a lodger.
    • The Potter couple going on a camping holiday again, even though the sexually-frustrated Peter wants to go somewhere new, but cannot get a word-in when his wife opens her mouth.
    • Chayste School for Girls going on a school trip with the hope of acting like "proper ladies" in public, all while the girls want to live like normal teenagers, and while their teacher tries to escape the flirtatious behaviour from the school nurse.
    • The innkeeper and his daughter trying to find out who got the daughter pregnant.
  • Get Out!: The innkeeper's daughter outright says this to Charlie while pushing him out and threatening to shot him with a shotgun.
    • Peter eventually has enough of Charlie and throws him out of the tent, then pours pea soup over his head.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: When trying to convince Harriet not to go camping again, Peter makes up a story about a work colleague who had an unfortunate event during his time camping in Scotland, whose wife was raped by a haggis and is now expecting her to give birth to "a little faggot". At the time, "faggot" was used as the modern-day derogatory slang for "homosexual man", but the word is also used as the British English word for "haggis".
  • Henpecked Husband: Peter to Harriet. He can barely get a word in during conversations.
  • Heroic BSoD: Peter takes to a bottle of alcohol after the stress of his wife and Charlie get to him. He soon gets out of it once he meets a teenage girl.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: All the girls at Chayste Finishing School, since they're there to become "proper ladies".
  • Horrible Camping Trip: The campsite is in a muddy field, much to the annoyance of Sid and Bernie (who were hoping that it was a nudist camp full of attractive women), Charlie losing his tent from a landmine, Peter Potter who is bossed around by his wife that never listens to him, a schoolgirl's bra snapping off and Charlie moving in and annoying Peter. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hypocrite: Bernie begins to get nervous about going to a nudist camp because he's embarrassed about being naked in front of everyone, apparently forgetting that it's his and Sid's intention to go to one only because they want to see their girlfriends naked, whether Joan and Anthea want to be or not.
  • Ill Girl: Anthea, who is carsick twice on the drive to the campsite. Everyone blames it on her being Hollywood Thin.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Sid and Bernie are heard saying things like "can you get it up?", "no, not there!", "is it in yet?", etc, to the horror of the men's girlfriends, who then discovers that the only thing that is being erected is a tent.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Charlie, as with many Charles Hawtrey characters.
  • Irony: Miss Haggerd is a school nurse and used to be a matron in a hospital, but she doesn't know how reproduction works.
  • Last-Name Basis: Dr Soaper, although Word of God claims that his forename is Kenneth.
  • Meaningful Name: Joan Fussey. Her mother is incredibly overprotective and she herself is pretty fussy and prudish.
    • Anthea Meeks. She's easily the meekest and most naive character. Until she proves she's Not So Above It All.
  • My Beloved Smother: Joan's mother, who triple checks the girls long before they're set to leave the house, and stares daggers at the boys. Joan is thirty-three years old, and it's heavily implied that she still lives with her parent.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Sid and Bernie try to trick their girlfriends into going to a nudist campground. They screw up, however, and drive to the other campground with the same name. Then Babs' top flies off.
  • Nipple and Dimed: For most of the period 1975 — 2010, TV screenings shrugged and allowed the extracts from the nudist film to be broadcast uncensored, on the grounds that this is about as sexually arousing as a cup of cold tea. But in December 2013, ITV abruptly censored out these extracts, leaving the early part of the film somewhat lopsided. You see the character reactions, but not what they are reacting to. When approached to explain, ITV explained that as a family network, they had obligations to a family audience. They did not explain why previously they had let the scenes stand, and felt no such obligation then... The scene where Barbara Windsor's bikini top flies off and a nipple is briefly exposed was allowed to stand, though.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Peter Potter tries to tell his wife, Harriet, that he doesn't want to go camping this summer, but instead wants to go to a resort. She is busy going through their camping things and is ignoring him, so, in the same tone of voice, he talks about his afternoon at work where a series of bizarre things happened, to which she continues talking about their upcoming camping trip.
  • Not So Above It All: Anthea, as it turns out.
  • Oh, Crap!: Both Potters at their first camping site when they realise the bull they can see is attracted to the red napkin around Peter's neck.
    • Peter has one when the innkeeper thinks Peter got his daughter pregnant and angrily announces that he's going to kill him. He gets Shot in the Ass as he beats a hasty retreat.
    • Peter has another one when he accidentally sets his shorts on fire inside the tent. He puts it out by rushing outside and sitting in a bucket of water.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Peter visits an innkeeper to collect some milk, stating that he'd met his (now-pregnant) daughter on his last visit to the area.
    Peter: I was here before, you know. ...But you weren't here, though... just a young lady. And she gave me a bit.
    Innkeeper: [angrily] Oh, she did, did she?!
    Peter: [smiling politely] Oh yes. That's why I've come back for some more.
    Innkeeper: [fuming] Boy, you've got a nerve!
    Peter: Oh, no disrespect, sir. I'm quite willing to pay for it, this time!
  • One Head Taller: Bernie is much taller than Anthea. When he kisses her near the end, he has to pick her up.
  • Overprotective Dad: The innkeeper that Charlie and Peter go to visit, who is angry that his daughter has been impregnated by a stranger.
  • The Peeping Tom: Played with. Sid notices that the Chayste schoolgirls are going to the washrooms for a shower, giving him an idea. He drags Bernie with him to the male washrooms to look for a peephole; there is one in one of the men's showers, coincidently opposite Babs' one. She and Sid talk through the wall until she's caught by Miss Haggerd, who spots the hole after she orders Babs out. Just then, Joan and Anthea arrive to wash themselves; Joan suspects that it's Sid and Bernie's antics and covers the hole with a cosmetic on some cotton. However, Sid and Bernie had already left the men's room; a suspicious Dr Soaper caught them and looked through the hole himself, wondering what the fuss was about, getting Sid's punishment instead. Much later, he is seen with a tissue over his eye, claiming that a fly flew in it.
  • Playing Sick: A girl from Dr Soaper's school pretends to be ill in order to get out of going on a field trip with her class.
  • Product Placement: There was a deal with Saxa Salt and there was blatant product placement in the film during one scene with Charles Hawtrey. This was unusual in the UK in the 1960s.
  • Punny Name
    • Charlie Muggins.
      • Both 'Charlie' and 'Muggins' are slang for a fool/ditz/etc, the major difference being that you refer to someone else as a 'Charlie' and yourself as 'Muggins'.
    • Bernie Luggs. The "lugs" might be referring to "ears", but it might be implying that he doesn't listen.
    • The school where the girls come from is called Chayste.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: A drunken Peter performs marital rape on his wife, which makes her listen to him more. One wonders what will happen after Peter becomes sober...
  • Road Trip Plot: Part of the plot is based around this, depending on what character story the movie chooses to follow. One subplot follows Charles who spends most of the runtime looking for a place to stay after his tent is blown away in a landmine accident, whilst Peter travels around the countryside with his absent-minded wife as he is attacked by nature, as well as Sid and Bernie driving around England looking for a nudist camp with their prudish girlfriends.
  • Running Gag: Bernie and Sid being caught by Joan and Anthea with the schoolgirls.
  • Say My Name: Peter shouting "HARRIET!" when he loses patience with her towards the end.
  • Sex Tourism: Sid and Bernie's true intentions with Joan and Anthea.
  • She's Got Legs: School student Babs (Windsor) is criticized by Soaper for wearing an all-in-one nude-colored piece that has no legs, because her legs "never stop".
  • Shot in the Ass: Peter, after being thought of as the man that got an innkeeper's daughter pregnant. Well, Terry Scott's characters are usually shot in the ass, anyway.
  • Shout-Out: Miss Haggerd states that she was in love with a doctor at a hospital she used to work at that looked just like Mr Soaper, which references Carry On Doctor that was released two years before.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: The owner of Paradise campsite.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Mr Soaper.
  • The Talk: Miss Haggerd is very uncomfortable talking to the girls about sex education, but Dr Soaper encourages it greatly. Then it turns out on the coach ride to a hotel, Miss Haggerd had no idea how sex-ed works herself!
    Miss Haggerd: Well, when I started talking, I realized I had no idea what they do. What do bees do?
    Dr. Soaper: [crossly] They sting! note 
  • Teens Are Monsters: The hatred of Miss Haggerd leads the girls to pull pranks on her that unwillingly involve Dr Soaper.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Bernie sometimes says things he shouldn't, especially if he knows that it's not be known by Joan and Anthea.
  • Those Two Guys
    • Bernie and Sid.
    • Babs and Gaye.
  • Toilet Humour: Charlie (unknowingly) sets up his tent on a field where the British Army tests their weaponry and bombs. When a blast blows his tent away in the morning, he wakes up and sighs, "I knew I shouldn't have eaten those radishes."
  • Trojan Gauntlet: Bernie points out the difficulty of asking for pamphlets for a nudist colony to Sid in a camping supply shop. He compares it to going into a chemist to buy some "you know whats" but the attractive young woman behind the counter makes him leave with toothpaste.
    Sid: I wondered why your medicine cabinet was full of toothpaste.
  • Two-Teacher School: Only Dr Soaper and Miss Haggerd are the only teachers that are in Chayste Academy.
  • Vehicle Vanish: Mr and Mrs Potter go away to the campsite for their holiday, and disappear behind a moving car near their house. Then the audience sees them following the car on their twin bicycle.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Arguably, the most famous example of British cinema, in which during a class exercise lesson, a stretching activity makes Babs' bikini top snap off and hit Mr Soaper in the face. Her classmates around her roar with laughter and she is dragged away by Miss Haggerd.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?
    • The innkeeper and his daughter. It doesn't look like they'll ever find out who the father of the girl's baby is. (Although, the innkeeper has a strong suspicion that Peter is the father.)
    • Charlie will probably walk back to town like he did to get to the campsite.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: The situation with the innkeeper's daughter.
  • Women Are Wiser: Averted with Peter and Harriet. Harriet is so wrapped in her own world, she doesn't give Peter a chance to have an opinion.

For other Carry On films about vacations, also see Carry On Cruising, Carry On Abroad and Carry On Behind.

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