Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Storyteller Ian carries on

By Anne Akers

Every Wednesday morning Calverley Library is packed out with pushchairs as a couple of dozen babies and toddlers arrive for story time with senior librarian Ian Fryer.

Ian’s funny stories and rhymes are a hit with the youngsters at Calverley and Farsley, but his popularity has gone much further than West Leeds, with the publication of his third book.

His love of all things fandom and film from childhood, then studies in media and communications led him to edit fan magazines and then write The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, The Story Behind International Rescue (Thunderbirds) followed by The British Horror Film from the Silent to the Multiplex.

His latest book zooms in on the Carry On comedies. Carry On: the Carry Ons and Films of Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas takes the reader through the ‘Ooooo Matrons’ and ‘Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me’ films, which started with Carry on Sergeant in 1958.

Ian’s quick to point out that while the films are of their time, with different attitudes to what we see now, they are a reflection of post-war society, with National Service with Carry On Sergeant, the NHS in Carry On Nurse, and comprehensive education in Carry On Teacher.

“I’m on a mission to explain how these films are much cleverer and more thoughtful than their reputation suggests,” he says.

With that book now well and truly on the shelves, including in the local libraries, Ian is looking to his next challenge. He writes a blog, inspired by the Knitwits knitting group which meets at Calverley Library. They have a collection of old patterns, which he finds interesting and amusing, so Knitters of Yore takes a playful look at the patterns and some of the famous people who modelled them.

He will of course continue storytelling, as he’s such a hit with the youngsters and their parent and he continues his librarian work. But his next big project looks at spies. Spy Boom: How Secret Agents Ruled the Sixties will set James Bond and Harry Palmer in the context of the real spies of the 60s. After that, he’s interested in spaghetti western and British gangster movies.

He does, however, keep his feet firmly on the ground. While he’s a published West Leeds author, with commissioned books to his name, he modestly says he’s not the most famous local writer, that would be AA Dhand, but in the Carry On and Gerry Anderson circles, Ian’s the man!


  1. First met Ian only a couple of weeks ago in Bramley library when I had a problem with a couple of books that I had on reserve.He sorted out my problem with great efficiency & humour & voila…said book(sadly one had disappeared into the ether!) was in my hands within days.Reading it now & what a cracker it is…so thank you Ian.
    PS your published books look very interesting…just right for a nostalgic like myself.


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