I like the new Royal Mail stamp featuring the foyer poster for Carry On Sergeant. And not just because it features William Hartnell in one of his most famous roles. Albeit not the most famous.
There was some kerfuffle about the stamp featuring a living person other than a member of the Royal Family. The Royal Mail explain their policy (sort of), which appears to be that it’s OK if a living person appears in a group shot, because they worry about focusing on one hero in case he subsequently turns out to be a villain.
Perhaps there’s little risk that Dora Bryan or Shirley Eaton will turn out to be villainesses. And besides, ten years ago Roger Taylor was the first living non-Royal to appear on a UK stamp, in the background of a stamp honouring late singer Freddie Mercury. (No, being in Queen doesn’t make you royalty.) Two years ago, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on stamps featuring Beatles album covers.
But what I like best about the Carry on Sergeant cover is that, like all UK stamps, it still has the Queen’s head on it. Perhaps because it appears top left in silhouette, it’s like one of those school photos where some poor kid has had to be painted out for some misdemeanour.
HM the Queen as an unacknowledged cast member of the first Carry On film? Oh, stop messing about.