AND now, a modern knockabout comedy imagined with a classic cast, including Frankie Howerd, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Sid James, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Shirley Eaton – and an obtrusive and unwanted Health Secretary.
Scene: A hospital consultant’s room, the door is ajar. Voices come from inside.
Frankie Howerd: ‘It’s been years since I’ve seen one of those …’
He emerges, followed by Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams.
FH (to camera) ‘A matron, that is. No. Titter ye not. It’s been years since I’ve seen a matron. Honestly, some people.’
CH: ‘I don’t quite know where she came from. Like a breath of stale air, if you ask me.’
KW: ‘I like a dominant woman. I do. She’ll get a few things sorted out, I can tell you.’
CH: ‘Where is she?’
FH: ‘Gone to greet the Health Secretary. They’ll be back in a minute.’
Some nurses and a sister appear. Among them are Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims and Shirley Eaton.
KW: ‘I need a bigger syringe.’ (To camera): ‘Do you mind?’
Sid James (with a lecherous wink at Joan Sims): ‘I’ve never had any complaints.’
The Health Secretary appears – in fact, he is Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, as played by Andy Serkis. Matron (Hattie Jacques) accompanies him.
Barbara Windsor: ‘That’s not the Health Secretary. That’s a creature from another world. Nothing to do with Carry On. He’s not even human.’
SJ: ‘He was once.’
Gollum (making a beeline for Barbara’s bust): ‘My precious!’
BW: ‘’Ere! get off, you freak! Get back to where you belong!’
Everyone else in chorus: ‘Racist!’
G (pulling a giant syringe from his trousers and fondling it): ‘My precious!’
KW(with jealous admiration):‘That’s what I’m talking about.’
G: ‘Have you all had it?’
CH: ‘Oooh, ’ark at ’er (then addressing them all) Go on, smile if you ’ad it last night.’
They all smile except Matron, who looks deadpan, then breaks into a crooked smile, which quickly disappears.
KW (haughtily): ‘As a matter of fact, I haven’t had it.’
FH: ‘That’ll be the day. Pull the other one.’
KW: ‘No thank you. But it’s true. I haven’t had a single jab.’
G: ‘But it’s precious. Safe. And effective.’
KW: I’ve had the Covid. Not very nice. But now I’m naturally immune, I’m immune, I’m immune …’
SJ: ‘All right, all right, don’t get over-excited. Nobody’s got it in for you.’
KW: ‘Infamy, infamy …’
SJ: ‘Oh gawd, I knew I shouldn’t have started that.’
G: ‘But your natural immunity will wane.’
KW: ‘Don’t talk to me about Wayne.’
CH: ‘How is he? (a scowl from Kenneth).
G: ‘But that’s the whole point of the boosters. As effectiveness wanes, you get another booster and stay safe.’
Matron: ‘We’re down to one month, I believe, Health Secretary.’
G: ‘Even more important to stay on top of this.’
M: ‘I like to stay on top (she glances ominously at the others for signs of any smirking). But it’s becoming more difficult. Some days I feel overwhelmed.’
Shirley Eaton (arriving in a panic): ‘Matron, matron, the latest advice from the government, just in, is that immunity is down to one hour.’
M: ‘All hands to the pump! Form an orderly queue with all the patients – we’ll walk a continuous circle round the outer corridor. Each of us will take turns with jab duty, jabbing as we pass this point. I calculate we’ll each do a complete lap within the hour and therefore remain safe and protected.’
KW: ‘Oooh Matron, just like the conga! I do like a party.’
They form a conga line with patients. Cue conga music. Sid stabs each on the seventh beat as they pass. Slow fade to black.