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Film / Carry On Teacher

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"They've taken the pea!"
Sarah Allcock discovering her whistle has been sabotaged by the students.

Carry On Teacher is the third Carry On film and was released in 1959. It starred Ted Ray, Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Rosalind Knight, and Cyril Chamberlain. This movie probably wouldn't have existed if its prequel Carry On Nurse hadn't done as well as Carry On, Sergeant. Once that film became popular, the creators were offered a five-film contract to continue the Carry On series and destroy the box-office. Luckily, this movie was popular enough in the summer of 1959 to carry on the series.

Teacher stars Ted Ray as acting headmaster William Wakefield, who plans to leave Maudlin Street Secondary Modern School for a brand new school near where he was born.

During a meeting, he tells this to his teaching staff - English master Edwin Milton (Williams), music teacher Michael Bean (Hawtrey), gym mistress Sarah Allcock (Sims), science master Gregory Adams (Connor) and maths mistress Grace Short (Jacques) - but is overheard by senior pupil Robin Stevens (Richard O'Sullivan). The students are fond of "Wakie" and his attitudes on canings and so refuse to let him leave, deciding to sabotage any opportunity he has to look good so he'll be forced to stay at Maudlin Street.

The pupils' chance comes soon with the arrival of Ministry of Education Inspector Felicity Wheeler (Knight) and child psychiatrist Alistair Grigg (Phillips). Despite the best efforts of the teachers and caretaker Alf Hodgson (Chamberlain), Hilarity Ensues as the students continually make the school and its staff look as inefficient as possible. Meanwhile, love is in the air for the visitors when Mr. Grigg falls for feisty Miss Allcock, and Mr. Adams nervously tries to court frosty Miss Wheeler.

Tropes Included:

  • Alliterative Name: William Wakefield.
  • All There in the Script: We don't get to know Mr. Milton or Mr. Bean's first names, but the back of the DVD in "The Classic Carry On Film Collection" boxset gives them as "Edwin" and "Michael".
  • As You Know: Wakefield says this during his first meeting with the other teachers.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sarah Allcock breaks down and begins wailing in despair when the teachers discover the difficult way that, far from stopping their pranks, the students have merely lured them into a false sense of security before launching a salvo of mischief that results in Mr Adams getting the phone receiver glued to his hand (and boot polish all over his ear), Mr Milton getting hit by falling flour bags, Mr Bean falling through a hole in the staffroom floor, and Miss Short and Mr Grigg being electrocuted by the staffroom door.
  • Dreadful Musician: Mr. Milton likens Mr. Bean's orchestra as making a lullaby sound like the climax to 1812. When it comes to the actual play, he's not far off!
  • Either/Or Title: Carry On Teacher or How to Become a Delinquent in Ten Easy Lessons!
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first scene of Mr. Wakefield has him watch fondly as the pupils leave school for the weekend, and then has to deal with a student who has been sent to him by Miss Short. Instead of punishing him right there and then, he sits him down and asks him what it's all about, then decides against the caning (after having Stevens remove the padding from the back of his shorts due to it 'crackling like a pan full of frying bacon'') and asks him to write a letter about why he thinks goofing off is more important than his education, expressing that he'd like to know. This thus shows he's averse to corporal punishment (before he outright states it a few minutes later in the staff meeting) and is a fair and Reasonable Authority Figure.
    • Miss Short's first appearance has her firmly confronting Stevens when she sees him hovering around the staff room door, establishing her as a strict, no-nonsense teacher. During her brief discussion with Mr. Adams afterwards, it's clear she's a very vocal proponent of corporal punishment.
    • Mr. Adams has to be fetched by Miss Short because he's so engrossed in his science work that he forgot about Mr. Wakefield's meeting (and is still distracted by it during the meeting):
      Miss Short: It's time, Mr. Adams; have you forgotten?
      Mr. Adams: Forgotten? Me? *short laugh, then confusion* Forgotten what?
    • Mr. Grigg's first interaction has him getting hit in the back of the head by a football. He mostly laughs it off (and even kicks it a bit for the students on the next day), ultimately showing he's not fazed and even a bit excited for their shenanigans.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After Mr. Adams catches a student in the chemical store room, he analyses the disturbed bottles, thinking aloud about what they make when combined, and then he has a panic attack when he realises it's an explosive.
    Mr. Adams: Toluene? Nitric acid? Hmm... that adds up to TNT... *hyperventilates* Mr. Wakefield!!!
  • Face Palm: Mr. Wakefield does this during the school play.
  • Fainting: Mr. Milton does this during the school play.
  • Genre Savvy: Mr. Wakefield is very sharp when it comes to the comic-book-style shenanigans that the students pull, from realising that a student has a magazine down the back of his shorts to act as padding against a caning, to admonishing them later for their lack of originality.
    Mr. Wakefield: Flour again? Couldn't you have found some soot just for a change?
  • The Good Old British Comp: Even though the school is a secondary modern, it has all the trappings of the stereotypical comprehensive school - uniforms, troublemaking students who are masters of comic book-style pranks, teachers who wear academic robes and, in some cases, mortar boards and are only addressed as "Sir" or "Miss" by the students, canings given out as punishment, and so forth.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Mr. Adams uses something akin to this to excuse himself from Mr. Wakefield's meeting (although for no obvious reason since a Bunsen burner is for heating chemicals, while he was first seen jotting down physics and engineering data in his notebook).
    Mr. Adams: Can I go now please? I left my Bunsen burning.
  • Intoxication Ensues: One of the students' pranks involves putting alcohol in the kettle in the staffroom. When Mr Milton, Mr Bean, Mr Adams, Miss Allcock, and Miss Short take their morning tea break, they get completely smashed and play a raucous game of Musical Chairs while singing a variation on "Ten Green Bottles". When Miss Wheeler and Mr Grigg walk in during the game and Miss Wheeler declares Miss Allcock to be drunk, the latter challenges her to a fight, but her lack of coordination means she hits Mr Grigg instead, causing Mr Milton to roar with laughter.
  • Plot Hole:
    • At first the students describe Mr. Grigg and Miss Wheeler as "the ones we have to get rid of", despite the fact they should want them there so they can see how out of control the school is, which would make it less likely for Mr. Wakefield to get his new job. Writer Norman Hudis didn't write the line, and it still bothers him to this day.
    • When the staff room kettle is spiked with alcohol, it makes all the teachers incredibly drunk. In reality, the kettle would have just boiled the alcohol off and left just hot water.
  • Punny Name: Sarah Allcock.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Wakefield doesn't jump to conclusions blindly and will investigate and question the students brought to him. Even with potentially serious incidents like a student being found out of bounds in the chemical storeroom, when the student asks if Mr. Adams (the science master) has actually checked to see if anything is missing, he has Mr. Adams go to check.
  • School Play: One of the central plot points. The production is of Romeo and Juliet, but with musical incidental music. It becomes a complete disaster.
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: It certainly must as far as the students are concerned. The school's performance of Romeo and Juliet is deliberately engineered by the players to be a disaster throughout, with numerous flubbed lines and "mistakes" that derail the play instead of being glossed over.
  • Splitting Pants: The pupils sabotage Miss Short's PE lesson by switching her shorts for a smaller pair. This causes them to split while she leads them in stretching in front of Mr. Grigg and Miss Wheeler.
  • Stern Teacher:
    • The no-nonsense discplinarian Grace Short, par for the course for Hattie Jacques.
    • Mr. Milton tries to be one too, but it doesn't work because the students aren't afraid of him, although it is implied he carries out some corporal punishment (a scene cuts after he beckons Stevens to the front of the class).
  • Tagline: "You ROARED at Carry On, Sergeant! HOWLED at Carry On Nurse! You'll be CONVULSED by-".
  • Tyop on the Cover: On the back of the Australian DVD and when aired on 9Gem, the descriptions incorrectly claim the school is located on "Maudin Street", rather than "Maudlin Street".
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Miss Allcock's gym shorts split when she's teaching her PE class, as the students have replaced her usual pair with one that is several sizes too small.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Best buds is stretching it, and it's hard to say if Mr. Milton and Mr. Bean actually like each other at all, but they are constantly arguing about the School Play, mostly because Mr. Milton doesn't like the idea of having the play's prologue interrupted for an overture and outright hates his music and the orchestra (and pretty justified during the actual performance).