Carry On Teacher

Carry On Teacher is a 1959 British comedy film, the third in the series of 31 Carry On films (1958–1992). It was released at the Plaza Cinema in London on 3 September 1959[1]. It features Ted Ray in his only Carry On role, alongside series regulars; Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques. Leslie Phillips and Joan Sims make their second appearances in the series here, having made their debuts in the previous entry, Carry On Nurse. A young Richard O'Sullivan and a young Larry Dann – making the first of his four Carry on appearances – turn up as pupils.

Carry On Teacher
Original UK quad poster
Directed byGerald Thomas
Produced byPeter Rogers
Written byNorman Hudis
StarringTed Ray
Kenneth Connor
Charles Hawtrey
Leslie Phillips
Joan Sims
Kenneth Williams
Hattie Jacques
Rosalind Knight
Richard O'Sullivan
Music byBruce Montgomery
CinematographyReginald Wyer
Edited byJohn Shirley
Distributed byAnglo-Amalgamated
Release date
3 September 1959[1]
Running time
97 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£71,612 or £78,000


During the current term at Maudlin Street Secondary Modern School, William Wakefield (Ted Ray) – who has been at the school for 20 years – is acting headmaster. He spots an advertisement for a headmaster of a brand new school near where he was born and decides to apply for the post.

Because of a coinciding visit by a Ministry of Education Inspector (Miss Wheeler, played by Rosalind Knight) and the noted child psychiatrist Alistair Grigg (Leslie Phillips), he decides to enlist the help of his staff to ensure that the school routine runs smoothly during their visit.

While in conference with his teaching staff (including Gregory Adams (Kenneth Connor), science master; Edwin Milton (Kenneth Williams), English master; Michael Bean (Charles Hawtrey), music teacher; Sarah Allcock (Joan Sims), gym mistress and Grace Short (Hattie Jacques), maths teacher); a senior pupil (Robin Stevens, played by Richard O'Sullivan) overhears that Wakefield is planning to leave at the end of term. The pupils are fond of the venerable teacher and Stevens immediately rushes this information to his schoolmates. They plan to sabotage every endeavour that might earn Wakefield praise, which would set him on the road to his new post.

On arrival, Grigg and Miss Wheeler are escorted by Wakefield on a tour of inspection and the pupils go out of their way to misbehave in each class they visit. However Griggs' tour has not been in vain: he has taken a shine to Sarah Allcock, the gym mistress and it is obvious the feeling is mutual.

Miss Wheeler is disgusted at the behaviour of the children towards the teachers, but is softened when she visits the science master's class, where she feels an instinctive maternal affection for the charm of the nervous science master, Adams.

Wakefield realises his position as headmaster of the new school is in jeopardy and, on seeing Miss Wheeler’s interest in Adams, enlists his help. He asks Adams to make advances to Miss Wheeler to win her over. Adams is aghast at the thought, but eventually agrees to do his best. After many unsuccessful attempts to tell Miss Wheeler of his love, Adams finds an untruth has become truth and finally finds enough courage to declare his love.

The pupils meanwhile, have been doing everything in their power to make things go wrong, and on the last day of term are caught trying to sabotage the prizegiving. They are told to report to Wakefield’s study and after much cross-examination he learns the reason for the week's events – the pupils simply did not want to see him leave. Wakefield – deeply moved – tells the children he will not leave and will see them all next term.

Miss Wheeler, softened by her newfound love, announces that she intends to tell the Ministry that staff-pupil relationships at the school are excellent.

Production Notes

During the filming, Charles Hawtrey's mother would often visit the set. While enjoying a cigarette, she accidentally dropped lit ash from the cigarette into her handbag. Joan Sims, who was the first to spot the incident, yelled, "Charlie, Charlie, your mother's bag is on fire!". Charles Hawtrey poured his cup of tea into the bag, snapped it shut, and carried on chatting as if nothing had happened.[2]


Filming and locations

  • Filming dates – March 1959



  • Drayton Green Primary School, Ealing

The name of the school was later alluded to by Morrissey in the song "Late Night, Maudlin Street".


Variety called the film "an unabashed collection of uninhibited gag situations and dialog, but this time screenplay writer Norman Hudis has developed a slightly stronger story line and made the characters more credible ... Some of the gags are telegraphed but the cheerful impudence with which they are dropped into the script is completely disarming."[3] Margaret Harford of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "'Carry On, Teacher' gets a high mark for low comedy in the slapstick fashion of previous japes about doctors, nurses and sergeants. It's silly nonsense but it's fun and that's not telling tales out of school."[4] The Monthly Film Bulletin stated: "Another slapstick farce in the 'Carry On' series which, although predictable and occasionally pressed too hard, still manages to register some adroitly timed humour."[5]


  1. "Carry On Teacher". Art & Hue. 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. Bright; Ross. Mr. Carry On. p. 92.
  3. "Film Reviews: Carry on Teacher". Variety. September 2, 1959. 6.
  4. Harford, Margaret (May 29, 1962). "Students on Rampage in 'Carry on Teacher'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 5.
  5. "Carry On Teacher". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 26 (309): 136. October 1959.


  • Davidson, Andy (2012). Carry On Confidential. London: Miwk. ISBN 978-1-908630-01-8.
  • Sheridan, Simon (2011). Keeping the British End Up – Four Decades of Saucy Cinema. London: Titan Books. ISBN 978-0-85768-279-6.
  • Webber, Richard (2009). 50 Years of Carry On. London: Arrow. ISBN 978-0-09-949007-4.
  • Hudis, Norman (2008). No Laughing Matter. London: Apex. ISBN 978-1-906358-15-0.
  • Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan (third edition) (2007) (Reynolds & Hearn Books)
  • Ross, Robert (2002). The Carry On Companion. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-8771-8.
  • Bright, Morris; Ross, Robert (2000). Mr Carry On – The Life & Work of Peter Rogers. London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-55183-6.
  • Rigelsford, Adrian (1996). Carry On Laughing – a celebration. London: Virgin. ISBN 1-85227-554-5.
  • Hibbin, Sally & Nina (1988). What a Carry On. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-55819-4.
  • Eastaugh, Kenneth (1978). The Carry On Book. London: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-7403-0.
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