Joan Sims

  1. Dilys Laye, Carry In Cruising, 1961.      Ill heath prevented the Carry On regular  (in 24 of the 31 farcs) from being in  the first  Carry On in  colour So it was poor Laye suffering rope-burn during the gymnasium scene. Owch! Despite the credits, director Gerald Thomas was also missing. His brother, Ralph, subbed – he’d been here before with a 1954 cruise liner comedy, Doctor At Sea, when the leading lady was rather more special. Brigitte Bardot.
  2. Barbara Murray, Doctor Who #120: Black Orchid, TV, 1982.      Despite a wish-list of 18 actresses, this was not a rehash of Sophia Loren’s 1958 Hollywood melo, but an adventure (with cricket!) in 1925 England for Doc5 Peter Davison. The choices for Lady Cranleigh were inevitable – such definitive ladies as Jean Anderson, Renee Asherson, Honor Blackman, Claire Bloom, Faith Brook, Kathleen Byron, Rachel  Kempson (mother of Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave), Virginia McKenna, Muriel Pavlow, Maria Redmond, Dinah Sheridan, Elizabeth Spriggs… and 40s’ UK screen queens Phyllis Calvert, Joan Greenwood. But also two comic character stars Beryl Reid and Joan (Carry On) Sims and a Hammer horror icon, Barbara Shelley.
  3. Colette O’Neill, Doctor Who #124: Snakedance, TV, 1982.  Judi Dench and Carry On star Joan Sims up for the same part  – kidding, right? Nope! Producer John Nathan-Taylor loved rocking the boat. He suggested 14 ladies as Lady Tanha, for when Doc5 Peter Davidson landed on Manussa. The others were Jill Bennett, Eleanor Bron, Elspeth Gray, Sheila Hancock, Jean Marsh, Anna Massey, Kate O’Mara (the future Time Lady Rani), Barbara Shelley, Elizabeth Spriggs, Wanda Ventham (the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch) and Fiona Walker. The Scottish O’Neill had scored 77 mainly UK credits by 2016.
  4. June Whitfield, Carry On Columbus, 1992.  
    The 31st and final Carry On tried various duos for the King and Queen of Spain. From Frankie Howerd-Joan Sims and  Bernard Bresslaw-Barbara Windsor to the almost incestuous notion of the Terry and June sitcom “sibliings,” Terry Scott-June Whitfield.  And, finally, June and Leslie Phillips (the most English of Spanish monarchs). Howerd died before filming began and Windsor  – the Carry Ons’ Marilyn – said the script was crap. It was – and the cast hated it.  In 2004, this was was voted – by UK film pros – as the worst British film ever made. Yet it made more money in Britain than the straight versions:1492: The Conquest iof Paradiseand Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, 1992, starring such heavyweights as Depardieu and Brando! “Joan was the last of the great Carry Ons,” said Windsor.. “She was there at the beginning. She could do any accent, dialect, she could dance, sing, play dowdy and glam. We laughed all the time and giggled a lot.”

  5. Mona Marshall, The Princess and the Cobbler, 1993.       Somewhere in the tangled 1961-2013 history of the greatest Richard Williams toon that never was, the Carry On lady disappeared – well, all but – from her two roles of Princess Yum-Yum’s nurse and The Witch. She as replaced by Marshall in the Allied Filmnmakers’ cut…
  6. Toni Collette, Arabian Knight, 1995.     …and by Collette in the Harvey Weinstein’s scissorhanded version released by Miramax. Didn’t help
  7. Rosalie Crutchley, A Village Affair, 1995.      Change of Great British character ladies when poor Sims (of Carry On fame) busted a rib when rehearsing a bicycle scene. Enter Crutchley – with a career of 163 credits to Joan’s 169.


 Birth year: 1930Death year: 2001Other name: Casting Calls:  7