Published On: Sun, Apr 17th, 2022

Carry On star Barbara Windsor’s 10-year Sid James affair: ‘Said he would die without me’ | Films | Entertainment

Across the Easter Bank holiday ITV3 are showing 21 of the most iconic films of the Carry On series. Today, the channel will air five Carry On classics including ‘Carry On Girls’, ‘Carry On Henry’ and ‘Carry On Up The Jungle’, with the latter to be shown 8:10pm this evening. The comedy, starring Frankie Howerd and Sid, sees an unlikely collection of explorers go on a safari in Africa in the hopes of finding the Oozalum bird, a legendary creature famous for its vanishing powers.

The Carry On series was released between 1958 and 1978, and was characterised by a comic style inspired by the British tradition of music hall and seaside postcards innuendo. 

The series drew on a regular ensemble of actors that included Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kennth Connor as well as Sid and Barbara. 

There had long been speculation that Sid and Barbara had had an affair while making the hit British flicks, something which the Eastenders actress ultimately confirmed in her 2001 memoir. 

In the extremely frank book Barbara claimed she had slept with a string of high profile men including jazz great Ronnie Scott, entertainer Anthony Newley and Bing Crosby’s son Gary.

Read More: Elvis affair with Ryan O’Neal’s wife ‘The King got me pregnant’

While with first husband Ronnie Knight, Barbara also had an affair with Sid, who was 30 years her senior.

The veteran actor allegedly made a number of hyper-sexualised advances before wooing Barbara.

In the books Barbara insisted she had “heard nothing of Sid’s reputation as a ladies man”.

She said: “We’d just filmed a scene for ‘Carry On Henry’ and Sid handed me what looked like a prune”.

Sid was married three times during his life, to Berthe Sadie Delmont in the Thirties and Forties, to Meg Williams from 1943 to 1952, and then to Valerie Ashton from 1952 until his death in 1976. 

Despite both parties being wedded off, as well as Barbara’s initial apprehension, the subsequent 10 year affair was deemed by the actress as “inevitable”.

She added: “One night after dinner he said, ‘Oh Barbara, I wish you were seeing me as I used to be.’ Sid was crazily, madly in love with me.

“When it ended he told me he would last only one year without me. 

“Sixteen months later he died.”

She claimed that Sid had told her: “If I can’t have you, I want to die”.

On April 26, 1976 Sid passed away on stage in Sunderland during the first act of ‘The Mating Season.

Opposite him was South African actress Olga Lowe, who has since claimed she thought Sid was joking around with her when he didn’t answer one of the lines on set. 

In her book Barbara said that upon hearing the news of Sid’s passing she was devastated. 

She revealed: “I sat in my front room and sobbed my heart out until my eyes stung and my throat ached.”

Watch the Carry On Marathon on ITV3 this Easter bank holiday weekend. 

‘All Of Me: My Extraordinary Life’ was written by Barbara Windsor and published by Headline in 2001. You can find it here.

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