It was supposed to be the big relaunch for the Carry On franchise. It was going to feature a cast of comedy actors and bring the funny back for a modern audience in a way that Carry On Columbus… didn’t.
In July 2003, we were all introduced to Eastenders’ Shaun Williamson and Danniella Westbrook as the bright new hopes of Carry On. A slightly cringe-worthy launch which saw former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith (remember him?) mingling with cast and producers. And then it all just seemed to fall apart. Producer James Black was replaced and the cast left the project.
Fast-forward to Cannes 2006. And the re-relaunch. Carry On London will, according to the announcement by film company Intandem, shoot in and around the city this summer. There’s a new cast in place, including Eastenders’ Shane Richie (spot a running theme here?) and former Miss Sweden Victoria Silvstedt providing the sex factor. Oh, and Vinnie Jones.
Richie seems happy to be cast: "Like many people I grew up with the Carry On movies and was thrilled to be asked to star in the new film. The original films, packed with double entendres and hilarious comedy, kept us all laughing for over 30 years, so it's a great honour not only to be asked to be part of the new film but also to be carrying on a wonderful tradition. I'm really looking forward to it, Matron!" See what he did there, eh?
And Jones is likewise enthusiastic. “It really kept me laughing through my youth so it's great news that I'm part of that tradition and able to introduce it to my own kids." He’d better hope they’re not the only people who want to see it.
So when the film cranks back up - and provided it actually gets made this time - what can we expect? The plot appears to have remained intact during the shut down. Carry On London will follow the misadventures of a limousine company hired to shuttle celebs to a film awards ceremony called The Herberts. What should be a glitzy night of success becomes embroiled in a mess of gangster plotting, slapstick gags and entendres so doubled they end up in knots. So, business as usual, then. Comic Strip TV and Churchill: The Hollywood Years director Peter Richardson’s in charge of the chaos, and all we can do is wait and see how it turns out.