© Edinburgh University Press. Hattie Jacques was a key figure in British postwar popular cinema and culture, condensing a range of contradictions around power, desire, femininity and class through her performances as a comedienne, primarily in the Carry On series of films between 1958 and 1973. Her recurrent casting as 'Matron' in five of the films in the series has fixed Jacques within the British popular imagination as an archetypal figure. The contested discourses around nursing and the centrality of the NHS to British postwar politics, culture and identity are explored here in relation to Jacques's complex star meanings as a 'fat woman', 'spinster' and authority figure within British popular comedy broadly and the Carry On films specifically. The article argues that Jacques's star meanings have contributed to nostalgia for a supposedly more equitable society symbolised by socialised medicine and the feminine authority of the Matron.
Tincknell, E. (2015). The nation's matron: Hattie Jacques and British postwar popular culture. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 12(1), 6-24. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2015.0240