The Good (Inte)review – Angela Douglas

webcover_angeladouglas
Interviewed by: Helen McWilliams

You may have watched those mad-cap, unforgettable ‘Carry On’ films that have stood the test of time (to the disbelief yet delight of many actors from those films) and indeed recall the ‘blonde’ love interest back in the day before Barbara Windsor and her infamous flying bikini top. That ‘blonde’ is Angela Douglas and she made appearances in ‘Carry on Cowboy’, ‘Carry on Screaming’, ‘Follow That Camel’ and ‘Carry on Up The Khyber’. ‘Carry on Screaming’ is my personal favourite, but I was fascinated to find out which one (if any) is her favourite and indeed why there was little mention of these films in the revised edition of her autobiography ‘Swings and Roundabouts’.

Hello Angela, thank you for talking to The Good Review – I’ve read your autobiography ‘Swings and Roundabouts’ and thoroughly enjoyed it…

Thank You!

What made you decide that this was the right time to re-visit it?

Because I was asked to do it simple as that, it never occurred to me that it would be re-published again or that I would be asked to add an extra chapter. I was delighted, it was nice to be able to bring it up to date but it had never occurred to me to touch it again.

Have you had good feedback from the revised version?

Yes, lovely – people have been very generous. Also, people who have come into my life since I wrote the previous book have got to know the other side of my life.

It’s called ‘Swings and Roundabouts’ and when I read it I felt I understood why, but what made you choose that title?

To be really honest, I based it on Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography title ‘Snakes and Ladders’ as I thought that was a really good title. However I obviously couldn’t use that title so I thought why not ‘Swings and Roundabouts’.

What impact did the ‘Carry On’ films have on your career and why do you think they’ve stood the test of time?

It was pointed out to me that I barely mention them in my book.

Yes, I noticed that…

I think Dexter (Dexter O’Neill from Fantom Films, published Angela’s updated book) has included extra photographs from the ‘Carry On’ films. But the book wasn’t about my career and work, it was about life and love and of course an extraordinary relationship.
The films had a huge impact on my career, although at the time we were all rather ashamed of being in them, we looked at it as another job that we fitted in between what we call ‘proper work’. We had a lot of laughter, I wore some beautiful clothes. At the time when I made them, I made them quite early on between 1966-1968 and those films stand up absolutely on their own, they’re charming and funny. Later on they got crude and I’m really glad I’m not part of those.

Did you feel that you were in them at the right time?

I did them at the right time for me, I could have gone on and done a couple more which would have been nice in hindsight – I’d have liked to have done ‘Carry On Henry’. I left because I wanted to have a baby and what I was told to do was to stay at home and calm down.
Of course, without the ‘Carry On’ films, Helen – who knows if you’d be talking to me now?

Oh, absolutely – who knows? I love the Carry On films and you are one of my favourite actresses from them. Which Carry On Film is your personal favourite from those that you appeared in?

‘Carry On Cowboy’, because it was my first one and it’s a charming little film. I made such great friends there was Peter Butterworth, Sid (James) and Kenny Williams. Everyone was so lovely to me.

It sounds like you have really lovely memories of that one. Do you have a preference as to whether you work in film, television or theatre?

Film and television, I loved my time in the theatre and I loved my time touring around the country – the theatre has been very good to me, but I think I’m best on film.

In the book you mention the various holiday destinations that you journeyed to with Kenny, have you been back to any of them in recent years?

Oh yes, I’ve been back to the South of France, New York, Paris, Rome – all the places that I went to with him. I’ve continued to have a nice life, not quite on the same luxury scale, of course.

Your Father was very influential in starting your career on stage and screen, do you have advice for anyone wishing to start a career as an actor?

I would hesitate to give advice, it’s such a different world and you have to be prepared for a life of unemployment – although you might just as well go into our game because there’s unemployment everywhere! When I entered the business I was about 14 years old and thought it was a bit of a lark, there were only about six of us all up for the same part, now you can go into a room and there’s thirty of you. I wouldn’t tell anyone not to do it, because if you’re going to do something – you’ll do it! It’s a bit like telling someone not to have plastic surgery!

Finally, what projects have you got in the pipeline that I can share with our ‘readers’?

I’m struggling to write a novel, I’ve been told I should continue to write after such good feedback – so I’m struggling with that at the moment. I’ve just come out of the studio for radio where I’ve recorded ‘The Last Tycoon’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m up for a nice part in an eight part television series, which I’d love to do because the parts for my age group are usually so unrewarding and I’m not ready to be put into an ‘old lady’ box!

I quite agree! Well thank you ever so much for talking to me today, Angela – it’s been a real pleasure.

Thank you dear, have a nice weekend.

Huge thanks to Angela Douglas for allowing me to interview her, also thanks as always to Dexter O’Neill and Fantom Films. Please visit http://www.fantomfilms.co.uk to purchase a copy of Angela’s updated autobiography ‘Swings and Roundabouts’. Standard paperback copies cost £12.99, special hardback editions cost £24.99.

First published at www.thegoodreview.co.uk on 22nd April 2013.

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