Star Archive

Sid James (1913 - 1976)

What is the most iconic sound in British cinema? Eric Coates' stirring Dambusters theme? The glugs and gurgles of Alec Guiness's experiment in The Man in the White Suit? Edith Evans' strangled cry of "A handbag!"? For many, the definitive sound of British cinema is the mucky laugh of Sid James. Over thirty years after his death, his legend continues to grow.

He was born in South Africa he did a variety of jobs including diamond cutter and fairground boxer before settling down to cutting hair. He dabbled a bit in radio, but it was while serving in the war that he joined an entertainment troop and got serious about an acting career. He arrived in Britain in 1946 and quickly established himself in the business. His versatility made him useful for bit parts, playing anything from an American gangster in No Orchids for Miss Blandish to a Lord in Man in Black, but he soon established a persona as a working-class Londoner.

His climb up the cast lists was hastened by his role in the radio sitcom Hancock's Half Hour. As Tony Hancock's spivvy friend, his voice became well-known to millions of listeners. In 1956 the series transferred to television and viewers were able to match the craggy features to the distinctive voice. By 1960, the ever-insecure Hancock had dumped him from the show but James was too well established for his career to be harmed. He appeared in many other successful sitcoms over the years - Citizen James, George and the Dragon, Bless This House - and began his connection with the series with which he would become synonymous: the Carry Ons.

His first Carry On was number four in the series, Carry On Constable, but he soon became the series' mainstay with his seedy Everyman figure a perfect foil for his more outrageous co-stars. His hard working schedule took its toll and he had his first heart attack in 1967, which meant he had to be replaced in ...Follow That Camel by Phil Silvers. He recovered, but continued the punishing schedule and died onstage in Sunderland.

Still of Sid James in The Lavender Hill MobStill of Sid James in John and JulieStill of Sid James in Joe MacbethStill of Sid James in Next to No Time


1947 Black Memory
1947 The October Man
1947 It Always Rains on Monday
1947 Night Beat
1948 No Orchids for Miss Blandish
1948 Man in Black
1949 Once a Jolly Swagman
1949 The Small Back Room
1949 Paper Orchid
1949 Give Us This Day
1950 The Lady Craved Excitement
1950 Last Holiday
1951 Talk of a Million
1951 The Galloping Major
1951 The Lavender Hill Mob
1951 The Magic Box
1951 Lady Godiva Rides Again
1952 Cosh Boy
1952 I Believe in You
1952 The Tall Headlines
1952 Emergency Call
1952 The Gift Horse
1952 Time, Gentlemen, Please!
1952 Father's Doing Fine
1952 Miss Robin Hood
1952 Venetian Bird
1953 The Wedding of Lilli Marlene
1953 The Yellow Balloon
1953 The Titfield Thunderbolt
1953 The Flanagan Boy
1953 The Square Ring
1953 Will Any Gentleman...?
1953 Park Plaza 605
1953 Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?
1953 Escape By Night
1954 For Better, for Worse
1954 The Weak and the Wicked
1954 The House Across the Lake
1954 The Rainbow Jacket
1954 Father Brown
1954 Seagulls Over Sorrento
1954 The Belles of St Trinian's
1954 The Crowded Day
1954 Orders are Orders
1954 Aunt Clara
1955 It's a Great Day
1955 A Yank in Ermine
1955 Out of the Clouds
1955 The Glass Cage
1955 A Kid for Two Farthings
1955 John and Julie
1955 The Deep Blue Sea
1955 Joe Macbeth
1956 The Extra Day
1956 Wicked as They Come
1956 Trapeze
1956 Ramsbottom Rides Again
1956 Dry Rot
1956 The Iron Petticoat
1957 Interpol
1957 The Smallest Show on Earth
1957 Quatermass II
1957 The Shiralee
1957 Hell Drivers
1957 The Story of Esther Costello
1957 Campbell's Kingdom
1957 A King in New York
1958 The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw
1958 The Silent Enemy
1958 Another Time, Another Place
1958 Next to No Time
1958 The Man Inside
1958 I Was Monty's Double
1959 Desert Mice
1959 Make Mine a Million
1959 Too Many Crooks
1959 The Thirty-Nine Steps
1959 Idle on Parade
1959 Upstairs and Downstairs
1959 Tommy the Toreador
1960 Watch Your Stern
1960 And the Same to You
1960 Carry On Constable
1963 Carry On Cabby
1964 The Beauty Jungle
1964 Carry On Cleo
1965 Three Hats for Lisa
1965 The Big Job
1966 Carry On Cowboy
1966 Carry On... Don't Lose Your Head
1968 Carry On... Up the Khyber
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 Bless This House
1972 Carry On Matron
1972 Carry On Abroad
1973 Carry On Girls
1974 Carry On Dick

 Sid James at Amazon UK

 Sid James at Amazon US