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Ooh You Are Awful! – Naughty Bits in British Cinema in the 1970s

As a new decade began, the Swinging Sixties became the Swapping Seventies. Well, that is if you believe everything you saw on the big screen.

Britain’s film industry in the early 1970s consisted of the odd James Bond film and two series of witless though gloriously politically incorrect films which used the double entendres as often as Slade used the A Major chord.

The Confessions of. . . films starring cute, wide-eyed urchin Robin Asquith, were as tacky as Blackpool on Bank Holiday Monday and managed to slip in more gratuitous innuendo than in Sid James’ wildest dreams!

The hugely successful paperback novels and Confessions films managed to make the British suburbs seem as if all those net curtains were hiding a multitude of sinful activities.

Then there were the Carry On films. Sid, Hattie, Kenneth, Charles, Barbara and Co. could (and did) wreak havoc with the English language and history – witness the theme to Carry On Henry, the chorus of which ends “when good King Henry got his Hampton Court”.

In Carry On Camping, Sid James got to wear Glam clothes and ogle Barbara Windsor‘s hot pant-clad bottom. Actually, that seemed to be the plot of all subsequent Carry On films, with only the scenery changing.

It was as if the world had decided that the sexual revolution had been successful and soft porn was not only acceptable, it was de rigueur.

Mary Millington became an overnight star by inviting people to Come Play With Me, taking her nurses uniform off and faking an orgasm. Which she would continue to do in a string of badly-written excuses for lots of female nudity and wide-lapel suits until her sad, lonely demise

Imported American sex films were strictly hardcore, and Linda Lovelace, the star of Deep Throat, became a household name despite nobody in Britain having seen the film (video still being a few years away).

Seventies sex films were as tacky as the majority of the bands who strutted their stuff at the time each week on Top Of The Pops. They were laughably coy and incredibly naive.

The soft porn film industry had been negligible until the Brits decided that they’d like to see simulated orgasm and positions that varied from the missionary.

After Emmanuelle in 1974, the industry tripled in turnover (no pun intended!). After Emmanuelle XXVIII in 1980, the industry became strictly hardcore. And there’s definitely no Glam in that!

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