The Carry On films are a series of 31 low-budget British motion pictures produced between 1958 and 1992. The Carry On series is notable for producing the greatest number of films of any British series, and next to the James Bond films, it is the second longest continually-running film series in British film history (with a fourteen-year hiatus between 1978 and 1992). From 1958 to 1966 Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd produced 12 films, with Rank Organisation making the remaining 19 between 1967 and 1992. All the films were made at Pinewood Studios.
The films’ humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards. The series began with Carry On Sergeant in 1958. (A film had appeared the previous year under the title Carry on Admiral: although this was a comedy in a similar vein—and with Joan Sims in the cast—it has no connection to the series. There was also an unrelated 1937 film Carry On London, starring future Carry On performer Eric Barker.)
The stock-in-trade of Carry On humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British institutions and customs, such as the National Health Service (Nurse, Doctor, Again Doctor, Matron), the monarchy (Henry), the Empire (Up the Khyber), the military (Carry On Sergeant, England) and the trade unions (At Your Convenience). Others were a parody of other films including Cleopatra (Cleo), Hammer horror films (Screaming) and James Bond (Spying). Although the films were very often panned by critics, they proved very popular with audiences.\
The last film to be made was Carry On Columbus in 1992. Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas made all 31 films, usually on time and to a strict budget, and often employed the same crew. Between 1958–1992, the series employed seven writer’s; more notably Norman Hudis (1958–1962) and Talbot Rothwell (1963–1974).
Rogers and Thomas cast a regular group of actors – known as “The Carry On team” who included Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale. In between the films, Rogers and Thomas produced three Christmas specials in 1969, 1970 and 1973, a nineteen episode television series in 1975 and various West end stage shows which later toured the provinces.