Sergeant Wilkins is charged with mentoring four new recruits when the police station is left short-staffed by a flu epidemic. But this hapless more bunch are more likely to help the criminals than hinder them
The fourth film in the Carry On series marked two debuts. It was the first to feature the excellent Sid James and it was the first to feature nudity (the recruits four bare buttocks). James had been shipped in as a replacement for Carry On Teacher’s Ted Hayes, when Hayes decided not to continue in the series and proved to be note perfect casting from here on in.
Constable faced other struggles on the way to the screen. Originally Peter Rogers had planned this as the third film, but after writer Norman Hudis was sent off to Slough police station for research he came back gloomily reporting that policing did not appear to be a very funny business. In fact, it was the TV series Dixon of Dock Green that provided the ineventual inspiration needed, and this was as more a spoof of that popular show than anything else. The larks of the new recruits – Williams, Phillips, Hawtrey and Connor, provide much humour of the physical sort, especially when Williams and Hawtrey diguise themselves as “Ethel” and “Agatha”. But the undoubted scene-stealers are the raft of British character actors, including Irene Handl and Esma Cannon, who typify that uniquely British eccentricity so prevalent in the films of the time. Surprisingly, this was the last appearance (for 32 years) for eternal playboy Leslie Phillips. Although very much associated with the series, he was in fact better known from the equally popular Rank “Doctor” films. He did pop up again in Columbus.
Not a classic but important in that it's the fourth of the series but the first to star Sid James.