I have a vague memory of watching a very funny show on New Year's Eve sometime in the early Eighties, starring the late, great Rikki Fulton. As I was in the grip of alcohol at the time, its title did not register in my memory, but I knew it to be good. Ever since then I've wanted to know, and see more about this whimsical show. I'm greatly indebted to my friend Powrman for recommending 'Scotch & Wry'. This long-running sketch show from B.B.C. Scotland was never networked ( apart from the 1982 Special ). Presumably the suits thought it too parochial, but if so they were wrong. Having recently watched a number of shows on D.V.D., I can say with absolute confidence its one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.
The sketches were fairly long - some running as long as seven minutes - but this was an asset rather than a drawback as it gave the cast - Fulton in particular - a chance to flesh out their characters. His long-faced vicar - The Rev.I.M.Jolly ( "Ah've had a helluva year!" ) - was so popular he went on to front a number of specials. Also in the cast for a long time was Gregor Fisher, later to go on to 'Naked Video' where he stole the show as 'Rab C.Nesbitt', and Tony Roper, who played 'Jamesie Cotter'. The quality of the sketches is extremely good; John Byrne of 'Tutti Frutti' fame being a contributor.
As is the norm with sketch shows, various stock characters evolved; as well as the Rev.I.M. Jolly, there was also the inappropriately named 'Supercop', slovenly television chef 'Dickie Dandruff', and wide boy McGlinchey. But Fulton's 'Last Calls' made the show special. Those of us who remember when television stations used to close down at midnight with the 'Epilogue' recognise only too well what is being parodied here. One of the best sketches had Fulton - as a different priest - getting progressively drunker whilst on air.
Fulton is best remembered in the rest of the U.K. for his roles in straight dramas such as 'Charlie Endell Esquire' ( in which he played a vicious gangster who had the wonderful line: "Porno magazines don't run 'Spot The Ball' contests!" ) and 'Bergerac'. 'Scotch & Wry' shows us he was capable of so much more. I haven't watched all the episodes. I'm saving a few for New Year's Eve! No wonder this programme - and Fulton
is so greatly revered in Scotland.
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