Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Thursday, 13 March 2008

Carry On script gets green light

By Genevieve Hassan
BBC News entertainment reporter

Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams
Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams in Carry On Camping

The long-awaited 32nd Carry On film is one step closer to being filmed and could be in cinemas by the end of the year, the BBC has learned.

A final script with a "fun storyline" has been signed off, a spokeswoman for the production company has confirmed.

With the working title Carry On London, the film centres on a limousine company ferrying celebrities to an awards show.

The news comes ahead of a party this weekend at Pinewood Studios to celebrate 50 years of Carry On films.

Casting details for the new film are expected to be announced later in the year.

Stars including Vinnie Jones, Shane Ritchie and Daniella Westbrook have previously been linked with the project.

Sid James in Carry On Cleo
The films made actors like Sid James into household names
Plans to resurrect the camp comedy series began in 2003 but the production has had a troubled gestation.

EastEnders and Extras star Shaun Williamson was originally due to play chauffeur Dickie Ticker, but he pulled out in 2004 after producer James Black was replaced, delaying the film's production schedule.

"It was such a shame it didn't go ahead as planned because the script was absolutely marvellous - very funny and clever," said Williamson's agent at the time.

Star cameos

Carry On London will follow the mayhem behind the scenes as a fleet of limo drivers deliver celebrity clients to the Herberts - a British take on the Oscars.

"We will be having some cameo appearances in the film," a spokeswoman for the film told BBC News.

She also confirmed that sets for the movie were made last year, including a car yard for the limousine company.

It is hoped the film will be released by the end of 2008 to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations but, depending on when production begins, it may not hit cinemas until 2009.

The last attempt to revive the franchise was 16 years ago with Carry On Columbus, which starred Julian Clary, Jim Dale, Maureen Lipman and Carry On veteran June Whitfield.

But it was slated by critics - Empire magazine called it "a cheaper alternative to pantomime" - and the film failed to make an impact at the box office.

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