Back to the campsite, thought this time with caravans rather than tents, and a bit of shifting around in personae to accommodate the absence of Sid James: Bernie is now the Terry Scott-ish husband, Patsy Rowlands upgrades to his wife, Joan Sims ages-up to become the annoying mother-in-law, and Jack Douglas broadens out to play the middle aged frustrate, with just one token twitch halfway through the film (somehow far weirder in effect than when he does it non-stop).
Only Kenny Connor as the randy Major who owns the camp and Peter Butterworth as his shabby assistant play to type, while the resulting blanks are filled by a really well-considered infusion from elsewhere – Windsor Davies, Ian Lavender, Adrienne Posta, and Sherrie Hewson joining Carol Hawkins as the dolly contingent and both of them dying for it, by which they of course mean a cup of tea.
Last and most eccentric of the series’ occasional guest leads is Elke Sommer: a bold shot, especially under the circumstances, but weird enough to be wonderful, and delightfully paired with Williams as archaeologists.
With Dave Freeman taking over as screenwriter this plays more like a tv sitcom than ever, and though the absence of Sid is felt, Windsor Davies is excellent in his stead, clearly the great Carry On regular that might have been. Often dismissed but always enjoyed, this is actually the last Carry On classic, with a (presumably) illusory feeling of effortlessness about it all.