Fans of the legendary movie series have called the decision “ridiculous” and say the comedy deployed in the films is “innocent”. However, BritBox, which is backled by BBC and ITV, has issued warnings for 16 of the innuendo-laden comedies, which star the late Barbara Windsor, Sid James and Kenneth Williams.
Viewers about to watch Carry on Camping, in which Windsor’s breasts are exposed, are told: “Contains mild language with mild sexual references, nude images and innuendo.”
Sunday Mirror reports the warnings have been introduced to “offer the right guidance” to viewers but many have expressed their disgust.
Carry On superfan Callum Phoenix, 42, said: “I’m perplexed and irritated by the sudden need to stick warning labels on everything. When did we become so miserable and ridiculous?
“Carry On films are part of our cultural comedy history. Yes, they are from an era now long gone but they were not made to deliberately offend. They were made to entertain us.”
Actor Tyler Butterworth, son of Carry On legend Peter, said fans will keep watching – despite content that could cause offence to some viewers.
He said: “There seem to be content warnings just about everywhere at the moment. I think we might be getting inured to them.”
Windsor, who died in December after a lengthy battle with dementia, was frequently scantily clad in the Carry On series and became the target of lusty advances from male characters.
In 1969’s Carry On Again Doctor, her character, wearing hearts over her private parts, is examined by Dr James Nookey, played by Jim Dale.
BritBox warns that Carry On Up The Khyber, about colonial Britons in India at the time of the Raj, contains “sexual references, racial imagery and stereotypes that may cause offence”.
Carry On Up The Jungle has white actors playing Africans and BritBox says it has “language and attitudes of the time, including the use of ‘blackface’, that may offend some viewers”.
Critics argue the films show women as either beautiful idiots, often played by Windsor, or sex-starved control freaks. Male characters were portrayed as generally lecherous idiots, often epitomised by James, or gay, such as Williams.
As Julius Caesar in 1964’s Carry On Cleo, Williams had possibly the greatest line in the 31-film franchise when he declared: “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!”
One critic said the films “tapped into an ancient strain of English humour that mixed low slapstick with sexually themed double entendre. They were silly, strangely innocent films that reflected the gender biases of their era”.
The Carry On franchise, the second-longest British film series, started in 1958 and ran until 1978. It returned for Carry On Columbus in 1992.
ITV, which jointly owns BritBox with the BBC, said: “We’ve been examining our historical programming to review, re-label, provide context and ensure the right guidance for viewers.”