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The Best Of The Medical Carry On's
on 18 November 2002
Although some may beg to differ, I find Carry On Again Doctor to be easily the funniest of the medical-based in the series. There is more structure to the plot than the was in the earlier Carry On Doctor. The film being divided into three sections works very well as this actually makes it feel as though there is a beginning, middle and end of a story.
Most of the same actors that were used in Doctor (1967) crop up in this entry, some playing almost identical characters, others completely different. Jim Dale, for instance, virtually resurrects his accident-prone but well-meaning character from 'Doctor', although here he is named Dr. Jim Nookey. Kenneth Williams is as supercilious as always, although his character displays more of a sense of humour than usual. Even so, he is typically snide and as self-serving as his part in 'Doctor'. Joan Sims proves that, when called for, she can be sexy and glamorous, and it's nice to see in her role where she isn't pigeon-holed in the battle-axe character she would often play. Charles Hawtrey is hilarious in drag, Sid James (who is not introduced until at least half way through the film)is in one of her most unusual roles, and Hattie Jaques, yet again reprising her familiar role of the Matron, is more gently in this one, conveying a warmth in her character that was absent from her part in 'Doctor'. Then of course we have the bubbly Babara Windsor, whose character, Goldie Locks, quickly catches Jim Dale's roving eye. Their romance provides a nice sub-plot.
Carry On Again Doctor, on the whole, plays very well. Whilst seemingly settling down as a hospital based comedy,the first 15 minutes or so seeming like 'Carry On Doctor 2', the film then wildly steers direction when Dr. Nookey (Jim Dale) is sent out to the Beatific Islands on a medical mission and discovers a special weight-reducing potion. Once back in England, he opens a new clinic for women who wish to lose weight. Then the film settles down and sees its last half hour almost encapsulate the feel of a regular TV sitcom with the weight reducing clinic scenes, with the likes of Joan Sims and Charles Hawtrey (hilariously in drag) are staying for full treatment.
Following on from 'Up The Khyber' and 'Camping', both of which were landmarks in the series, this ranks as one of my own very favourite Carry On's. The dialogue sparkles along with fast, witty dialogue, and there are some impeccably timed performances from virtually all of the regular cast - Jim Dale, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Sid James, Babara Windsor, Hattie Jaques and Patsy Rolands. It generally captures the true spirit of the Carry On's, yet somehow stands out as quite a unique entry in the series. Certainly many laughs to endure and is a must-see for fans. Generally a recommended comedy all round. A classic!