Sid and Joan
Of the many female co-stars with whom Sid worked on multiple occasions, it is his on-screen partnership with the wonderful Joan Sims that is perhaps the most celebrated, particularly as far as the Carry On films are concerned. Although the name of Barbara Windsor would likely be the first to spring to mind for many people in relation to Sid, for this writer it is the combination of Sid and Joan that provided the greatest on-screen magic.
Despite there being a seventeen year age gap between the two in real life, Sid James and Joan Sims made the perfect on-screen couple. Sid's screen image was that of the archetypal loveable rogue, a man of the people who enjoyed the finer things in life; namely birds, booze and betting! As such, when cast opposite him. Joan Sims would usually play the put-upon wife or girlfriend, tolerating these earthy foibles for want of a quiet life. Happily though, it was usually Joan who came out on top in the end, her strong-willed Queen Marie from Carry On Henry being the perfect example.
The career paths of Sid and Joan intertwined as early as the fifties, with both cropping up in such standard British comedy fare as Will Any Gentlemen...? (1953) and Dry Rot (1956). However, their screen time together in the latter was minimal, while in the first they were never on set at the same time. It was not until both had become firmly entrenched in the Carry On ensemble that their undoubted on-screen chemistry began to bubble.
Of the nineteen Carry On films to feature Sid, Joan Sims appeared in seventeen, with Cruising and Cabby being the odd ones out. Here are some of their greatest moments together...
The Rumpo Kid and Belle in Carry On Cowboy (1965)
Although this was their fourth Carry On together, Carry On Cowboy was actually the first time they had actually been cast opposite one another. Pure magic is created the instant Sid's black-hatted villain The Rumpo Kid claps eyes on sultry saloon owner Belle Armitage. Joan looks simply stunning, while Sid perfectly epitomizes the grizzled, trail-weary cowboy. It is a match made in comedy heaven and leads to one of the most celebrated and oft-quoted lines in Carry On history, as Sid mentions in a beautifully understated manner, "I'm from Texas ma'am. We all got big ones down there."