In bathroom ceramics factory W.C. Boggs & Son, the traditionalist owner W.C. Boggs is having no end of trouble. Bolshie and lazy union representative Vic Spanner continually stirs up trouble in the works, to the irritation of his co-workers and management. He calls a strike for almost any minor incident – or because he wants time off to attend a local football match. Sid Plummer is the site foreman bridging the gap between workers and management, shrewdly keeping the place going amid the unrest.
Prissy product designer Charles Coote has included a bidet in his latest range of designs, but W.C. objects to the manufacture of such "dubious" items. W.C. will not change his stance even after his son, Lewis (Lew) Boggs, secures a large overseas order for the bidets. It is a deal that could save the struggling firm, which W.C. has to admit is in debt to the banks.
Vic's dim stooge Bernie Hulke provides bumbling assistance in both his union machinations and his attempts to woo Sid's daughter, factory canteen worker Myrtle. She is torn between Vic and Lew Boggs, who is something of a playboy but insists he loves her.
Sid's wife is Beattie, a lazy housewife who does little but fuss over her pet budgie, Joey, which refuses to talk despite her concerted efforts. Their neighbour is Sid's brassy and lascivious co-worker Chloe Moore. Chloe contends with the endless strikes and with her crude, travelling salesman husband Fred), who neglects her and leaves her dissatisfied. Chloe and Sid enjoy a flirtatious relationship and are sorely tempted to stray.[N 1]
Sid and Beattie find that Joey can correctly predict winners of horseraces – he tweets when the horse's name is read out. Sid bets on Joey's tips and makes several large wins – including a vital £1,000 loaned to W.C. when the banks refuse a bridging loan – before Sid is barred by his bookie after making several payouts.
The strikers finally return to work, but it is only to attend the annual works outing, a coach trip to Brighton. A good time is had by all with barriers coming down between workers and management, thanks largely to that great social lubricant, alcohol. W.C. becomes intoxicated and spends the day – and it seems the night – with his faithful, adoring secretary, Miss Hortense Withering. Lew Boggs manages to win Myrtle from Vic Spanner, giving his rival a beating, and the couple elope. After arriving home late after the outing and with Fred away, Chloe invites Sid in for a cup of tea. They fight their desires and ultimately decide not to have the tea fearing that neighbours might see Sid enter Chloe's home and get the wrong idea.
At the picket lines the next day, Vic gets his comeuppance – partly at the hands of his mother (literally, as she spanks him in public) – and the workers and management all pull together to produce the big order to save the firm.
- The first "Carry On" film to lose money at the box-office and only broke even in 1976 after television deals and distribution rights and had been sold. Its failure at the box- office was largely down to the fact it was clearly an anti - union film. This was a curious miscalculation by the makers as they knew most of their audience were working class people who would have largely been union supporters/members.
- In the scene on the motor-bike, actor Bernard Bresslaw took fourteen takes to get the scene correct. It has also been reported that the scene took over twenty takes to do. Apparently, actor Bernard Bresslaw had allegedly told producer Peter Rogers that he could ride a motor-cycle, which apparently he couldn't, arguably this being a typical actor's ruse to get an acting job.
- The car that Sid Plummer (Sidney James) buys himself after he starts winning on the horses to replace his decrepit looking Ford 100E, is a 1971 Morris Marina 1.3 Deluxe Coupe in Bedouin, which is especially notable by the fact that the Marina was a brand new model in 1971 and the car in the film was one of the very first.
- The hotel used in the film for location shooting is the Clarges Hotel, Brighton. This hotel was also used for exterior shots in Carry on Girls (1973) and was owned by actress Dora Bryan who appeared in the first "Carry On" film Carry On Sergeant (1958). Patsy Rowlands tells the story how when the cast bus was on its way to Brighton, Charles Hawtrey said, "You watch when we get to Brighton, Dora will come running out of the hotel in her stilettos and greet as all". On arrival at the hotel, this is exactly what happened.
- Director Gerald Thomas wrote to actor Terry Scott about the cutting of his entire performance in the film by writing in a personal note to him: "...this is in no way any reflection on you or your performance but the film finished fifty minutes over length and we felt rather than cut your sequence down so that you were only on the screen for a flash it would be kinder to remove the entire scene as really it had no effect one way or the other on the story, such as it is".
- One of the taverns seen in the film was called "The Whippit Inn" which is also now the name of a "Carry On" films fansite 'thewhippitinn.com'.
- Both Agatha Spanners and Mrs Spraggs' houses were located on the Pinewood Studios back-lot.
- The film was often known as "Carry On Round the Bend" outside the UK but this alternate title still functioned as a tagline on British movie posters for the picture by saying "The CARRY ON team carries on round the bend!".
- Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope)'s house was the Baker Street set that had originally been built for the recently produced film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).
- The character Charles Hawtrey played, Charles Coote, was so named in honour of his life long and very close friend film producer Bernard Coote.
- After Sidney James' character was criticised for leering at some girls in Carry On Henry (1971), here his character was changed to the put-upon family man similar to the character he portrayed in the TV sitcom Bless This House (1971). In the next film Carry On Matron (1972), his character was preoccupied with thieving, but made odd suggestive comments to nurses (including one played by Jacki Piper, who played his daughter in this film). Sid's girl-chasing persona was fully reinstated for subsequent films.
- The coach trip is aboard a "Jack Crump" coach, Jacki Piper's real name was Jackie Crump
- Contains one of the few emotive scenes found in the "Carry On" films. The scene with Joan Sims and Sidney James, in which they discuss marriage, was filmed on 29th April 1971 on location at the Pinewood Housing Estate, near to Pinewood Studios.
- First of two official credited performances in a "Carry On" movie for actor Kenneth Cope who would appear in the next year's Carry On Matron (1972). Apparently, it is believed that Cope had appeared uncredited as a sailor in the earlier Carry On Jack (1963) where Cope had been considered for the role of Midshipman Albert Poop-Decker which was cast with Bernard Cribbins.
- Kenneth Williams plays W. C. Boggs, the father of Lewis Boggs (Richard O'Callaghan). In real life, Williams was only fourteen years older than O'Callaghan.
- The factory scenes were filmed at Twyfords in Stoke on Trent, an actual toilet manufacturer in The Potteries.
- The movie's opening credits featured billing for the toilets in the movie, not worded by this, but by an image of a toilet-bowl, with the company credited being "Royal Doulton Sanitary Potteries".
- In W.C.Boggs' office, when Charles Coote has just designed a toilet, Sid decides to test it and sits down on it and reads a Racing paper. Charles says, "It was hardly designed as a reading room." In the next shot he can be seen saying the word "room" again but with no sound.
- When Lewis is chasing the Works Outing coach in his sports car, both vehicles are on a two-lane carriageway, but when in medium close shot he waves, he is on a three-lane road, and then when seen from inside the coach - it's a two-lane carriageway again.
- On the trip back from Brighton the coach stops at numerous pubs. You see the name of each pub they all stop at but the reflection on the side of the coach each time shows them getting off and on at the same place.
- When the coach pulls up Brighton where they are supposed to have their lunch, Bernie is the first one out. In the shot before he is right at the back.
- When Bernie revs the motorbike's engine outside Mrs Spanner's house, a lady in a green dress is walking down the street in the background with her back to the camera and walks almost nearly out of shot when the we cut to Mrs Spanner shouting out of the window. In the next shot (of Bernie back on the bike) the lady in the green dress can be seen walking past once again.
- When Lewis and Myrtle are in the cinema, Spanner can be clearly seen sitting behind them holding his silver motorcycle helmet in his lap. But then the film cuts to him shuffling along the row, with Bernie, going to their seats. When the film cuts back to Lewis and Myrtle, Spanner can be seen in the same position as before.
- When Sid confronts W.C. Boggs in his office, because Myrtle has been out all night, they hear a commotion outside and go to the window to see the cause. In the brief shot of the main gate, as seen from the office window, Vic Spanner can clearly be seen being smacked over his mothers knee. The next shot is outside with Vic rallying the pickets at the main gate. His mother, and the other women, aren't there, and he hasn't yet been chastised. The ladies turn up later in the same scene.
- A suited and booted chap with a flyaway mop of copper hair can be seen walking down the street when Bernie first pulls up outside the Spanners' house. Soon after, the same man can be seen across the road from the parked motorbike. A few seconds later, there he is again, back walking down the street behind Vic.
- On the close up with Sid sitting on the chair, you see two knitting needles, one on either side of his jacket. When Beattie and Sid are in view, the jacket completely covers the knitting needles, next shot, close-up again, needles seen again.
- The coach party leave Brighton and the bus stops at a bus stop with a London Transport sign on it.
- Sid James as Sid Plummer
- Kenneth Williams as William C. Boggs
- Charles Hawtrey as Charles Coote
- Hattie Jacques as Beattie Plummer
- Joan Sims as Chloe Moore
- Bernard Bresslaw as Bernie Hulke
- Kenneth Cope as Vic Spanner
- Jacki Piper as Myrtle Plummer
- Richard O'Callaghan as Lewis Boggs
- Patsy Rowlands as Hortense Withering
- Davy Kaye as Benny
- Bill Maynard as Fred Moore
- Renée Houston as Agatha Spanner
- Marianne Stone as Maud
- Margaret Nolan as Popsy
- Geoffrey Hughes as Willie
- Hugh Futcher as Ernie
- Simon Cain as Barman
- Amelia Bayntun as Mrs Spragg
- Leon Greene as Chef
- Harry Towb as Film doctor
- Shirley Stelfox as Bunny waitress
- Peter Burton as Hotel manager
- Julian Holloway as Roger
- Anouska Hempel as New canteen girl
- Jan Rossini as Hoopla girl
- Philip Stone as Mr Bulstrode (uncredited)
Screenplay – Talbot Rothwell Music – Eric Rogers Production Manager – Jack Swinburne Art Director – Lionel Couch Editor – Alfred Roome Director of Photography – Ernest Steward Camera Operator – James Bawden Make-up – Geoffrey Rodway Continuity – Rita Davidson Assistant Director – David Bracknell Sound Recordists – Danny Daniel & Ken Barker Hairdresser – Stella Rivers Costume Designer – Courtenay Elliott Set Dresser – Peter Howitt Assistant Art Director – William Alexander Dubbing Editor – Brian Holland Titles – GSE Ltd Processor – Rank Film Laboratories Toilets – Royal Doulton Sanitary Potteries Assistant Editor – Jack Gardner Producer – Peter Rogers Director – Gerald Thomas
- ↑ Unusually for Sid James, his character is a faithful husband, albeit a cheeky and sorely tempted one.