Confessions of a Carry On comedy film star at Hertfordshire studios
PUBLISHED: 12:15 25 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:19 25 October 2016
Misty Moon Fim Society photographer John Gaffen
A star of the 1970s Confessions 'sex' films, the Carry On movies, and hit ITV comedy Benidorm will be revealing all at an intimate evening at a film studios in Hertfordshire.
Robin Askwith is returning to Elstree for one night on Sunday, November 13, at the Studios where he became a big screen star 40 years ago.
All four Confessions films were made at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, and in his one-man show Robin Askwith Bares All at Elstree Studios…and Not for the First Time!!!, Askwith talks candidly and with great humour about working on the series.
In the Confessions adult comedies – often seen as rivals to the Carry On films – Robin Askwith starred alongside a host of famous British actors including John Le Mesurier, Anthony Booth, Bill Maynard, Irene Handl, Lynda Bellingham and Windsor Davies.
The first film of the series – Confessions of a Window Cleaner – became the highest grossing film in the UK in 1974.
He also appeared in the previous year’s Carry On movie Carry On Girls.
In Morris Bright and Paul Burton’s excellent book on the studios, Elstree A Celebration of Film and Television Studios, Robin Askwith talks about making the movies.
During the filming of Confessions of a Window Cleaner, a big screen version of the Thames Television sitcom Man About The House, which starred Richard O’Sullivan, was also being shot at the studio.
Askwith recalled: “One night, Richard stayed at my house. And when we simultaneously departed to the studio the next morning, we unwittingly took each other’s scripts.
The Confessions series filmed at Elstree
• Confessions of a Window Cleaner
• Confessions of a Pop Performer
• Confessions of a Driving Instructor
• Confessions from a Holiday Camp
“Thankfully, because we were both working at Elstree, it was just a case of getting a studio runner to surreptitiously swap the scripts.”
As well as the Confessions films, Robin Askwith’s career has encompassed both writing and stage work, as well as numerous film and television roles.
He made an early screen appearance in Lindsay Anderson’s If…. in 1968, several big sitcoms of the 70s including Father Dear Father and Bless This House, Leslie Thomas’ wartime comedy film Stand Up Virgin Soldiers, as well as soap appearances in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Casualty and ITV’s biggest hit sitcom of recent years, Benidorm.
Speaking about his return to Elstree Studios, Robin said: “Elstree Studios was my home for nearly six years.
“I offered Harrison Ford – then unknown – career advice! I lunched with Gregory Peck and discussed Clint Eastwood.
“I sneaked on the set of Star Wars and watched robots fall apart and wondered if Darth Vader should really have a Bristolian accent.
“Want to know more? Come and join me for this special show at Elstree studios on Sunday, November 13.”
The evening, held in association with the Misty Moon Film Society, is one of a series of events celebrating the rich and varied past of Elstree Studios, which is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Roger Morris, managing director of the Hertsmere Borough Council owned studios, said: “We are delighted to welcome Robin Askwith back to Elstree Studios after all these years.
“Elstree has been making film and television now for nine decades.
“We look forward to hearing first hand all the behind the scenes stories about Robin’s time here 40 years ago.”
Tickets for this event are available via Eventbrite and cost £20. Over 16s only.
Doors to the studios in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, open at 6pm for a 7pm start, followed by a signing from 9pm.
• Currently celebrating its 90th anniversary, not only are major television shows produced at Elstree, such as the latest Big Brother for Channel 5, and Strictly Come Dancing for BBC, but also major feature films.
The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, Paddington starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Bonneville, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jnr, The World’s End starring Simon Pegg, World War Z starring Brad Pitt and, of course, multi-award-winning The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter were all shot at Elstree.
Elstree Studios has a range of film and TV studios from 3,000sq ft to 16,000sq ft, with the George Lucas stages being one of the tallest in Europe with a height of 50ft.
Internationally famous acts such as Robbie Williams, Kylie, Rihanna, Take That and One Direction have used these stages for their tour rehearsals, enabling them to fit a full size stadium stage and lighting grid.
Elstree also offers workshops, green screen facilities, extensive production offices, dressing rooms, wardrobe and makeup rooms, plus 40 onsite media related support services from lighting to post production and special effects.