Hattie Jacques appeared in 14 Carry On films, from the series’ first, Carry On Sergeant, through to Carry on Dick sixteen years later. Her regular appearance as a matronly figure on film and television led to the British public embracing her as their favourite silly, fat, frigid woman. This biopic suggests they may have been right on two counts, but were way off the mark with the third.
Opening to the voices of a couple arguing, the film flashes back five years earlier to the more blissful domestic sounds of a family Christmas Dinner. Hattie’s roles in the Carry On films and Eric Sykes television series financially supports her family, and even leaves her some spare time to do charity work. After one such event she is chauffeured home by John Schofield, with whom she begins a torrid affair. Her husband, actor John Le Mesurier, is so clueless to his wife’s infidelity that he invites Schofield into the family home as a lodger. Yet it his actions after the truth comes out that prove the most disconcerting.
This is dour film, made all the more maudlin by the treatment dished out to Le Mesurier by both the characters in the film and the filmmakers themselves. Sure his attempts to save his marriage are unconventional and reek of desperation but his constant hangdog expression while being treated like a doormat elicits only pity, not sympathy, from the viewer. Equally uninvolving are the lovers. Despite her efforts to make things easier on her husband, Hattie still seems selfish and uncaring, while Schofield never shakes off the stench of being an utter rotter.
Though Hattie encouraged the relationship between John Le Mesurier and Joan Malin, she did not meet Joan until after her estranged husband started dating her.
Biopic recreates a few scenes from Carry On Cabby (00:27), as well as Hattie's appearance on 'This is Your Life'.