Carry On Constable | 1960
After sergeants, nurses and teachers, the fourth in the series takes on the police force, as a flu epidemic leaves the local police station short-staffed, and three raw recruits are drafted in as temps. Sid James, as the beleaguered Sgt Wilkins, makes his first appearance in a Carry On... film.
The police beats ensure there’s lots more location filming than usual for a Carry On… film, mainly around the streets of Ealing in west London.
The ‘police station’ is Hanwell Library, Cherington Road, north of Uxbridge Road in Hanwell W7, west of Ealing. Originally a Carnegie Library, one of many funded by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it remains virtually unchanged today – apart from the addition of ramp access.
There’s a bit of mysteriously complicated editing as the three “keen, alert, helpful, raring-to-go constables” (Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor and Leslie Phillips) wander cluelessly down South Ealing Road, between Church Lane and Lothair Road in South Ealing, looking for the police station.
But when PC ‘Potty Poos’ Potter (Phillips) stops to ask directions from one of two robbers (a cameo from Freddie Mills, famous boxer and TV celeb of the time) making a getaway, the jewellery store from which they’re exiting stood is on the west side of Bond Street about half a mile to the north in Ealing itself. Although this side of the street has been completely redeveloped, the City Radio Stores, 37 Bond Street, opposite, remains amazingly unchanged, having occupied these premises since 1929.
Then, suddenly, it’s on The Avenue, over in West Ealing that a cross-eyed man crosses their path, much to the consternation of superstitious PC Constable (Connor). After a couple of misfortunes (including slipping on a banana skin), they cross the road in front of the Drayton Court Hotel, north of West Ealing Station.
Another newbie, PC Gorse (Charles Hawtrey), is sent to patrol ‘Area Five’, where he comes across a Irene Handl, frantically searching for her little Willie outside 12 Lothair Road, just yards from the stretch of South Ealing Road where the three constables were first seen.
Gorse later helps the distraught lady looking for her pussy, before he becomes trapped in the steeple of St Mary’s Church, Church Road, quite a way to the west in Hanwell (not far from the ‘police station’ location).
On the way to patrol, the constables parade along the Pinewood Green Estate in Iver Heath, where ‘Potty Poos’ is spotted by a girlfriend in her sports car. This stretch of road, which is also where Potter’s police dog knocks Inspector Mills (Eric Barker) in to the pond, stands conveniently alongside Pinewood Studios and would become extremely familiar to Carry On… fans in succeeding years as the regular neighbourhood of many characters.
Constable Constable walks with PC Passworthy (Joan Sims) alongside the railway lines, declaring his love as she disappears up the steps to the railway bridge which stood on Manor Road at Drayton Avenue, back in West Ealing. The bridge still stands, but the iron staircase are now hidden by a newly built warehouse.
Also gone is the department store in which PC Benson (Williams) and Gorse go undercover in drag (any excuse) is long gone. It was the old FH Rowse, which dominated the northern side of the Broadway at Green Man Lane, West Ealing.
Although unconnected with the Carry Ons…, just to the south of Ealing stands the Ealing Studios, home of an earlier series of classic British comedies.