Carry on Screaming’s Fenella Fielding on fighting with Kenneth Williams and bouncing back after bankruptcy

She survived a violent upbringing to become the 60s’ favourite comedy vamp. As she turns 90, the star remembers fending off Norman Wisdom, attempting suicide – and having two lovers for 20 years

Fenella Fielding, 90 this month, has lost none of her comic timing. She is about to publish her memoirs, and I tell her it’s a great gossipy read. “What’s that darling, endoscopy?” Her hearing isn’t what it was. but she’s grinning mischievously. “I thought that was something medical.”

Fielding is probably still best remembered for her star turn in Carry on Screaming! as voracious vamp Valeria. The title of the book is taken from her famous line in the film: “Do you mind if I smoke?” (At which point whirls of smoke rise from her writhing body.)

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