Peter Butterworth - Early Life and Career - Carry On Films

Carry On Films

Butterworth's association with the Carry On series started in 1965 in Carry on Cowboy where he played the part of "Doc". He was put in touch with the creator of the series, Peter Rogers, by his friend Talbot Rothwell, the writer of Carry On Cowboy and who had written the previous four films. Out of the actors who were considered to be the Carry On team, he was the sixth most prolific performer in the series, making sixteen film appearances, two Christmas specials, the television series in 1975 and the west end theatre productions which also toured the country, alongside Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Connor.

Butterworth appeared in two of the most famous films in the series Carry on Screaming in 1966 and Carry on up the Khyber in 1968. It was the latter which established Butterworth as an important member of the Carry On cast of actors. Playing the part of Brother Belcher, a missionary working on behalf of a campaign to save fallen women, he first appears in the film giving a sermon in the market place and becomes somewhat distracted by a pretty native woman who lures him into a back room of a nearby building. The encounter is then caught by Captain Keane and Sergeant Major McNutt (Roy Castle and Terry Scott). Brother Belcher is then blackmailed into helping them overthrow the Khasi of Kalabar (played by Kenneth Williams).

His Carry On appearances portrayed his characters as typically quiet and subtly eccentric. He was often cast as a stooge for another character. In Carry on Screaming he played Detective Constable Slowbotham, the assistant for Detective Sergeant Bung played by Harry H Corbett, or as Citizen Bidet in "Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head" where he was the assistant to Citizen Camembert played by Kenneth Williams. One of Butterworth's more famous performances was in Carry on Camping, where he played Joshua Fiddler, the laid back and eccentric camp site manager, who persuades Sid James character to part with most of his money when booking into the camp site. Such was his popularity in the films, and his loyalty to Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas, that Butterworth agreed to play three small roles, in Carry on Again Doctor, Carry on Loving and Carry On Henry. It was agreed that, due to other working and stage commitments, he was unable to take bigger parts, and was specially written in to the films for the roles given to him. The first being in 1969 in Carry on Again Doctor, where he appeared for just three minutes playing an outpatient suffering from a bowel complaint. In 1970, when Talbot Rothwell began writing Carry on Loving, he was persuaded to make a cameo in the film as the 'Sinister Client' who inadvertently admits to killing his wife as she refused to eat poisonous mushrooms. A year later, in 1971, he played Charles Earl of Bristol, the father of Bett, played by Barbara Windsor.

Butterworth returned to playing bigger parts within the Carry On films in 1972. In Carry On Abroad, he played 'Pepe' the manager of an unfinished hotel, who greets his unexpected guests in the guise of the builder, the porter, the receptionist and telephone operator. He spends the first half of the film furiously trying to placate and accommodate them and the last half desperately trying to save the building from a flood, and whilst all this is going on, put up with his nagging wife Hattie Jacques.

Butterworth remained with the series until the final film, Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978.

Read more about this topic:  Peter Butterworth, Early Life and Career

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