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Twice Round The Daffodils (1961, Juliet Mills, Donald Sinden)



The minimal plot of Twice Round the Daffodils centres on four new arrivals at the sanatorium – RAF officer Ian Richards (Donald Sinden), brawny Welsh miner John Rhodes (Donald Houston), country bumpkin George Logg (Lance Perceval) and the youngest of the group, Chris Walker (Andrew Ray). Slowly they learn to adjust to hospital life with resident patient Henry Halfpenny (Kenneth Williams) and others. The picaresque but engaging narrative creates a very gentle comedy with Juliet Mills putting in an engaging performance as firm head nurse Catty. Various comic encounters of the medical kind, an enjoyable assortment of visitors and typically light-hearted pranks mean the viewer can easily warm to the gentle and touching characters.

The title refers to the touching idea that when you start to get better you can venture out more into the open air. And the sign that you are almost well again is when you are allowed to walk round the daffodils twice.

Thomas’s direction of the cheerful comic capers was as assured as ever. Proving he had a conventional directorial career before the Carry Ons very profitably took over his life after the success of 1958’s Carry on Sergeant, his handling of the romantic and sentimental strands was apt and assured. Unlike Carry on Nurse and the following ventures into the world of medical mirth, Twice Round the Daffodils’ subject – TB – was somewhat less amenable to the traditional all-out seaside postcard-style humour of the Carry On comedies but nevertheless the emphasis was firmly on comedy, much of it in the capably camp province of Kenneth Williams.

production details
UK| 89 minutes | 1962

Director: Gerald Thomas
Writer: Norman Hudis from the play Ring for Catty by Patrick Cargill and Jack Beale

Juliet Mills as Catty
Donald Sinden as Ian Richards
Donald Houston as John Rhodes
Kenneth Williams as Henry Halfpenny
Ronald Lewis as Bob White
Andrew Ray as Chris Walker
Joan Sims as Harriet Halfpenny
Jill Ireland as Janet
Lance Percival as George Logg
Sheila Hancock as Dora
Nanette Newman as Joyce