Top 10 Sid James Carry On Performances

April 26 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of the beloved Sid James. In honour, this week will be Celebrating Sid Week here on Sid's Place, with a number of special posts paying tribute to the great man.

Despite tasting success in both film and television, not to mention on the stage, Sid James will forever be linked with the Carry Ons. Right from the outset, with his debut turn as Sergeant Frank Wilkins in the 1960 entry Carry On Constable, Sid slotted into the burgeoning Carry On team perfectly. He very quickly became the series lynch-pin and was always sorely missed whenever his name did not appear on the cast list.

In each of his 19 Carry On film appearances, Sid James was never less than memorable. Here are my personal choices for his top 10 greatest Carry On performances.

10. Sergeant Frank Wilkins in Carry On Constable (1960)

Sid James makes his series debut in Carry On Constable

This may have been Sid's debut performance in the Carry On series but you would never have guessed it. He slotted in to the established ensemble with such ease, it was almost as if he had been there from the start. Sid's performance as the kindly but firm Sergeant Wilkins is, in turn, both gentle and authoritative and typifies his early Carry On characterisations.  He strikes up an immediate on-screen rapport with his former Hancock's Half Hour co-star Hattie Jacques and bounces wonderfully off Kenneth Connor's overly superstitious and wonderfully named Constable Constable.

9. Sid Carter in Carry On Matron (1972)

Sid James & Jackie Piper in Carry On Matron

Despite the fact that he had been a part of the Carry On team for twelve years by this point, this was the first time that Sid had really been given the opportunity in the series to play the slightly dodgy but loveable crook that he had become so adept at in Hancock's Half Hour and a stream of fifties films. Matron also contains one of the most wonderful scenes in the Carry On canon, as Sid's gang, consisting of himself, Bernard Bresslaw and Bill Maynard, try to plan their next big job and memorably get sidetracked into a discussion about London bus routes. 

8. Vic Flange in Carry On Abroad (1972)


Arguably the last of the truly great films in the series and a perennial contender for the title of greatest ever Carry On. Sid is on rip-roaring form here and throws out terrific one-liners with an infectious zeal. His wonderful on-screen chemistry with Joan Sims has never been more evident than here, particularly in the magnificent scene towards the film's climax, where a drunken Sid crashes through the glass of the balcony door and Joan collapses in hysterics. Priceless. 

7. Sir Rodney Ffing in Don't Lose Your Head (1966)

Sid gets to flex his acting muscle in Don't Lose Your Head, as both the dandy fop Sir Rodney Ffing and the swashbuckling hero The Black Fingernail. Donning a variety of disguises, we are treated to multiple Sids for the price of one. Although Sid James famously never liked performing in drag, he was never less than brilliant whenever he was called to put on the dress. In Don't Lose Your Head, that happened twice.

6. Sid Boggle in Carry On Camping (1969)

For many people, this is the definite Sid James performance. The character of Sid Boggle possesses all of the traits that are associated with the on-screen Sid image;.he likes to chase the dolly-birds, has a caustic wit, enjoys the booze and has an ever-present dirty laugh. Sid gets lots of screen time opposite his real-life good friend Bernard Bresslaw and also enjoys some marvellous banter with that master scene-stealer Peter Butterworth. 

5. Charlie Hawkins in Carry On Cabby (1963)

A young Prince Charles visits Sid on the set of Carry On Cabby

Carry On Cabby is one of my personal favourite films in the series. It was said to be the favourite of Hattie Jacques too. Hattie gives her finest ever performance in Cabby and on-screen husband Sid matches her every step of the way. This is a more restrained Carry On Sid performance and contains some real heart and emotion. His scenes with Hattie are a pure joy to watch, as two fine actors perfectly encapsulate the fragility of a failing marriage. 

4. The Rumpo Kid in Carry On Cowboy (1965)

Sid's widow Valerie has often stated that Carry On Cowboy was her husband's personal favourite Carry On. It's easy to see why too. After all, what man wouldn't relish the opportunity to dress up and play cowboys and Indians? With his famously craggy features, Sid looks every inch the weather-beaten, trail-weary cowboy and he grasps the chance to be the black-hatted, villainous gunslinger with both hands. Despite the fact The Rumpo Kid is an undoubted bad guy, as an audience we can't help but root for him, as we know it's our beloved Sid underneath.

3. Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond in Carry On Up the Khyber (1968)

Arguably the most famous Carry On of them all. Every one of the main team is on absolutely top form here and Sid is no exception. Up the Khyber is perhaps the finest example of the winning formula of Sid James versus Kenneth Williams. The top two stars of the Carry On stable go head to head with memorable results. Sid brings an almost regal air of authority to the role of the Governor, a perfect counter-point to Williams' nostril-flaring Khasi. 

2. Mark Antony in Carry On Cleo (1963)

This one so very nearly made it to the top spot. It is a testament to the acting talent of the great man that he managed to be the perfect Mark Antony, while at the same time being the same Sid we all know and love. Sid's Mark Antony displays cunning, brutishness and lust in equal measure, yet it is his quite brilliant but simple exclamation of "Blimus!" which will forever stay in the memory.

1. King Henry VIII in Carry On Henry (1971)

This is the Carry On role that Sid was simply destined to play. As the undisputed King of Carry On, this is a match made in comedy heaven. As I wrote in the post Sid and Joan, "Sid's monarch romps through the proceedings with admirable gusto, hunting buxom lasses on horseback and happily gorging on roast peacock (all cock and no pea!), before reacting with royal rage at the presence of the dreaded garlic".

What are your favourite Sid James Carry On performances? I would love to hear your views. 



  1. Number 7 should be number 1, in my humble opinion. All are equally fabulous though.

  2. As already commented all his performances are superb but for me it's got to be Vic Flange in Abroad, just love that performance.
    "I'm Vic Flange, this is the wife, don't laugh." Just love it! :-)


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