Star Archive


Charles Hawtrey (1914 - 1988)

"Oh, Hello!"

It's possibly the simplest catchphrase ever, but whenever Charles Hawtrey popped up in the Carry On films he made it his own.

He was born in Middlesex, the son of an engineer, and christened George Hartree. He got the acting bug from an early age and attended the Italia Conti stage school. He paid his way through the school by appearing in various stage shows and is allegedly in the background for a couple of silent films. He took his stage name from that of the famous actor who died in 1923, and for several years was happy to be known as Charles Hawtrey Jr.

He drifted into review and this lead to film appearances. He was not averse to padding-out his CV, so the filmography below errs on the side of caution when covering this period but he may have done bits in a further dozen or so films. His big success on stage was in Counterfeit in which he convincingly played a woman - a skill which would come in handy later in his film career.

With his comedy skills and unusual looks it was perhaps inevitable that he would end up as support to the leading film comics such as Will Hay and George Formby: he first joined Hay's gang of elderly schoolboys in Good Morning Boys. When that brand of low comedy died at the end of the war, Hawtrey moved into light dramas, though generally in smaller roles.

It took the sitcom The Army Game to raise his profile, and the success of that lead to his being cast alongside his co-star William Hartnell in a similarly-themed low budget film comedy: Carry on Sergeant. He played a conscript who was totally ill-equipped for his role, but brimmed over with enthusiasm. This character would form the basis for his Carry On appearances over the next 15 years and 22 films.

His Carry On career ended in 1972 with a row over his billing in TV's Carry On Christmas, though his erratic behaviour and drunkenness were already a source of friction in the team. He moved to Deal and spent his last years misbehaving: it is said that there wasn't a pub in town he hadn't been banned from, or a taxi driver he hadn't importuned. His last "public appearance" was being rescued from a house fire, during which he tried to cop off with the firemen.

Without the Carry Ons, Charles Hawtrey would be a very minor figure in film history, but thanks to these films, Hawtrey's image is indelibly impressed onto British culture.

Charles Hawtrey in costume for The Ghost of St Michael's

Filmography 

1922 Tell Your Children
1923 This Freedom
1932 Marry Me
1933 The Melody Maker
1935 Kiddies on Parade
1936 Sabotage
1937 Well Done Henry
1937 Good Morning Boys
1937 East of Ludgate Hill
1939 Where's That Fire?
1939 Jailbirds
1941 The Ghost of St Michael's
1942 Let the People Sing
1942 The Goose Steps Out
1942 Much Too Shy
1944 Bell-Bottomed George
1944 A Canterbury Tale
1947 Meet Me at Dawn
1947 End of the River
1948 The Story of Shirley Yorke
1949 Dark Secret
1949 Passport to Pimlico
1949 The Secret People
1950 Room to Let
1951 The Smart Alec
1951 The Galloping Major
1952 You're Only Young Once
1952 Hammer the Toff
1952 Brandy for the Parson
1954 Five Days
1954 To Dorothy, a Son
1955 As Long as They're Happy
1955 Simon and Laura
1955 Man of the Moment
1956 Jumping for Joy
1956 Timeslip
1956 Who Done It?
1958 I Only Arsked!
1958 Carry on Sergeant
1959 Please Turn Over
1959 Carry On Nurse
1959 Carry On Teacher
1960 Carry On Constable
1960 Inn for Trouble
1961 Dentist on the Job
1961 Carry On Regardless
1961 What a Whopper!
1963 Carry On Cabby
1963 Carry On Jack
1964 Carry On Spying
1964 Carry on Cleo
1966 Carry on Cowboy
1966 Carry on Screaming
1966 Carry on... Don't Lose Your Head
1967 The Terrornauts
1967 Carry on Doctor
1968 Carry on... Up the Khyber
1969 Zeta Minor
1969 Carry on Camping
1969 Carry on Again Doctor
1970 Carry on Up the Jungle
1970 Carry on Loving
1971 Carry on Henry
1971 Carry on at Your Convenience
1972 Carry on Matron
1972 Carry on Abroad

 Charles Hawtrey at Amazon UK

 Charles Hawtrey at Amazon US