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Two Cheers for St. Trinian's!

The St. Trinian's films were an unexpectedly long-running British comedy series, instigated by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat in the 1950s. They took as their inspiration the cartoons of Ronald Searle, showing schoolgirls behaving badly at an English boarding school. In the films that meant beating up their rivals on the sports field, brewing illicit booze and causing a crimewave wherever they went.

Between them, Launder and Gilliat managed to make five St. Trinian's films from 1954 to 1980. Yes, there really were five. Not four or three, as some might claim. Or like to think.

As a result, St. Trinian's became one of British cinema's big three comedy series, together with the Doctor films (running from 1954 to 1970) and the Carry On films (from 1958 to 1992). The St. Trinian's brand was even strong enough to see it revived for another two films in the 2000s.

In this fortieth anniversary year of the final Launder and Gilliat film, 1980's The Wildcats of St. Trinian's, I will be taking a look at all five of the films in the original series.

In Two Cheers for St. Trinians! I will bring you classic, semi-classic and not-so-classic British comedy, featuring schoolgirl mayhem, stolen racehorses, men in drag and some surprisingly convoluted plotting. There will be a host of British comedy stars, including Terry-Thomas, Joyce Grenfell, Sid James, George Cole, Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Dennis Price and two Alastair Sims.

Yes, it's the blog series that no one asked for and no one really wants, but you're going to get it anyway. Being a traditionalist at heart, I've decided to start with the first film in the series, The Belles of St. Trinian's in a few days time, and work through the rest in chronological order. 

As I mentioned, this series is called Two Cheers for St. Trinian's! Why only two cheers? Well, the early films get three cheers but the later ones can barely muster one, so it balances out in the end.

This series might be slightly intermittent, with the occasional break for something different. But surely no one's in that much of a hurry to get to The Wildcats of St. Trinian's anyway, are they?


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