Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Carry On Constable (1960)


Main image of Carry On Constable (1960)
35mm, 86 minutes, colour
DirectorGerald Thomas
Production CompanyAnglo Amalgamated Film Distributors
ProducerPeter Rogers
ScreenplayNorman Hudis
CinematographyTed Scaife
MusicBruce Montgomery

Cast: Sidney James (Sergeant Frank Wilkins); Eric Barker (Inspector Mills); Kenneth Connor (Constable Charlie Constable); Charles Hawtrey (Special Constable Timothy Gorse); Kenneth Williams (Constable Stanley Benson); Leslie Phillips (Constable Tom Potter)

Show full cast and credits

The police are short-staffed due to a flu epidemic, but four bumbling recruits save the day, helping Sergeant Frank Wilkins to avoid a transfer.

Show full synopsis

Although the comic potential of the police force seems an obvious choice for a Carry On film, the subject initially proved difficult for writer Norman Hudis. After a brief spell researching procedures at Slough police station, Hudis felt the crimes and hard work of everyday policing offered little material for comedy. Producer Peter Rogers suggested leaving the theme for a while, so it was not until after writing Carry On Teacher (d. Gerald Thomas, 1959) that Hudis returned to the idea. Inspiration finally struck in the form of Jack Warner's friendly PC George Dixon in Dixon of Dock Green (BBC, 1955-76).

Written in just a few weeks, Carry On Constable is a direct descendant of Carry On Sergeant (d. Thomas, 1958), with many of Hudis's favoured themes recurring. The film again mocks an authoritarian institution but, as in Sergeant, the digs are essentially good humoured, with the establishment upheld and the bumbling recruits making good under firm leadership. Hudis's Carry On scripts may have an innocence that some of the later titles lack, but bawdy humour still abounds. The first scene sets the tone - Inspector Mills: "Would you care to have a look at my cherbunkin?"; Sergeant Wilkins: "If it'll give you any satisfaction." Plenty of inuendo and camp behaviour complements the action, with admirably realised sketches keeping the gags flowing as the recruits go on the beat: Benson forces an old lady back across a street she has spent ten minutes crossing, Gorse tries to rescue a cat, but traps himself up a church tower, Potter and Constable both mistakenly intrude on scantily-clad young ladies.

Despite the familiarity of the material, Carry On Constable contains a couple of firsts for the series - the first Carry On nudity (in the form of four bare bottoms), and the first appearance of Sid James (as Sergeant Wilkins). James' understated performance contrasts splendidly with the high farce of the four male recruits, in particular Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey (who have a marvellous scene disguised as Ethel and Agatha). Kenneth Connor's superstitious Constable Constable provides a romantic subplot turning on whether a WPC is a Virgo, while Leslie Phillips, as playboy Tom Potter, is devilishly charming in his last appearance in the series for thirty-two years (he would eventually re-appear as King Ferdinand in Carry On Columbus (d. Thomas, 1992)).

David Morrison

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Inspecting the recruits (4:04)
2. Lost pussy (1:55)
3. Agatha and Ethel (3:26)
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Wrong Arm of The Law, The (1962)
Connor, Kenneth (1918-1993)
Handl, Irene (1901-1987)
Jacques, Hattie (1922-1980)
James, Sidney (1913-1976)
Phillips, Leslie (1924-)
Sims, Joan (1930-2001)
Carry On