Two unforeseen problems meant that many fans consider this the weakest Christmas special. Firstly, Talbot Rothwell became ill whilst writing the script, and was unable to finish it. Dave Freeman had to be brought in to complete the script, but the two men did not work together. As a result, the script does not flow as easily as the earlier offerings. Secondly, Charles Hawtrey pulled out of the special at short notice. Having taken third billing to Sid James and Terry Scott in the previous two shows, and knowing they would both be absent, Hawtrey demanded top billing. But Carry On producer Peter Rogers refused, giving top billing to Hattie Jacques instead. Hawtrey's role had hastily to be recast, and was split between Norman Rossington and Brian Oulton, both of whom had played cameo roles in several Carry On films. The special featured a collection of historical sketches, loosely linked around an 18th-century banquet.