Norman Hudis

1923 - 2016

Carry On Films: 6

Norman Hudis was born in 1923. He spent much of his early career as a local newspaper journalist, working on the Hampstead & Highgate Express. He continued reporting during the Second World War, where he served with the Royal Air Force in the Middle East, writing for Air Force News. As with so many post-war entertainers, he cut his horns during the war, writing for camp shows (something which would serve him well in his later career!)

Following the war, Hudis moved away from journalism, deciding to follow his ambition to become a playwright. He wrote a number of plays in the early days, with limited success. One of his plays, Here is the News, did not earn him financial success, but it did receive good reviews, and led to him being offered a position as a trainee scriptwriter at Pinewood Studios. Hudis remained with Pinewood for 2 years, during which time he didn't manage to actually get anything on screen; this lack of success eventually drove him to go freelance, whereupon he soon became a prolific writer of B movies in the 1950s. As with many such films, the quality was low, but the quantity high (it is rumoured that at one point Hudis was working on 3 films simultaneously).

Peter Rogers met Hudis in 1957, and offered him the job of scripting Rock Around the World, a biopic based on the life of entertainer Tommy Steele. The film was a success, and led to a second film with Steele, The Duke Wore Jeans (1958), which was directed by Gerald Thomas.

Having both worked with Hudis, Rogers and Thomas saw him as the obvious choice to perform the rewrite of RF Delderfield's The Bull Boys. Hudis duly did so and the resulting film, Carry On Sergeant was an instant success both in the UK and farther afield.

Hudis worked on a further 5 Carry On films and in 1959 was greeted with the news that Carry On Nurse had been the top grossing film of the year. The success of these early films is largely due to the witty and imaginative stories and gags conjured up by the writer. Certainly his Carry On work tends to appear quite formulaic. For the most part set in one institution or another, they generally concentrate on a small, closely knit group of individuals faced with adversity (in Sergeant and Constable it's the task of working to uphold their superior's honour) and follows their initial bungled attempts until, against all odds, they come through. Formulaic and even predictable they may but they are also without exception, wonderful examples of British comedy at its best.

Hudis moved to the USA in the 1970s, where he still works as a film and TV scriptwriter. He worked for some time as a writer on the hit show Man From UNCLE, and is the writer of the series' most popular episode, The Karate Killers.

Further Reading

No Laughing Matter: 

The Autobiography of Norman Hudis



- A Monkey's Tale (1999)
- Talis The Porcupine - The Spagettiflyer (1995)
- Hot Resort (1985)
- Koroshi (1966) - Television
- Carry On Cruising (1962)
- Twice Round the Daffodils (1962)
- Carry On Regardless (1961)
- Beware of Children (1960)
- Carry On Constable (1960)
- Carry On Teacher (1959)
- Please Turn Over (1959)
- 6.5 Special (1958)
- Carry On Nurse (1958)
- Carry On Sergeant (1958)
- The Duke Wore Jeans (1958)
- Mark of the Phoenix (1958)
- The Crooked Sky (1957)
- The Mailbag Robbery (1957)
- Rock Around the World (1957)