Chewin' the Fat is a Scottish comedy sketch show, starring Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill and Karen Dunbar. Comedians Paul Riley and Mark Cox also appeared regularly on the show.
Chewin' the Fat first started as a radio series on BBC Radio Scotland. The later television show, which ran for four series, was first broadcast on BBC One Scotland, but series three and four, as well as highlights from the first two series, were later broadcast to the rest of the United Kingdom. Although the last series ended in February 2002, annually, there has been a 'Hogmanay Special' shown on New Year's Eve and regular repeats of the series are shown throughout the year. On 18 November 2006, it was announced that 'Chewin' the Fat' would not be shown at Hogmanay 2006, instead a Hogmanay special of 'Still Game' will appear. This signals that the show may now have officially ended.
Chewin' the Fat gave birth to two spin-off shows: Still Game, a sitcom focusing on the two old men, Jack and Victor, from the series and The Karen Dunbar Show, which is another sketch show featuring comedian Karen Dunbar.
The series was mostly filmed in and around Glasgow and occasionally West Dunbartonshire.
Alistair and Rory: Two eccentric documentary presenters from the Scottish Highlands, fascinated with Scottish history and nature. They are constantly harassed by two Neds
, who often play practical jokes on them and taunt them and often shout "ya couple of fannies
!". The characters are partly based on the hosts of Scottish history programmes such as Weir's Way
. The Big Man: The Big Man is a tough Glasgow gangster, and a stereotypical representation of an "Alpha Male
", who turns up to solve people's problems by means of intense intimidation and violence. Keeping with the "hard man" theme, he has a very deep voice. The character first appeared in a parody of Scotland Today
's "Call The Lawyer" section, in which people having problems could get legal advice. The writers knew that most of the Neds the show often parodied would be likely to call the assistance of the Big Man. The character was so popular after his first appearance, he appeared in other sketches; his catchphrase remaining "Is there a problem here?". Bish & Bosh: Bish & Bosh are two very dodgy decorators who are usually stealing things from the houses of people hiring them. Their real names are Tony and Wullie. In the sketches, they are normally seen having a tea break
talking about something inconsequential that one of them drags into depravity, only to be told by the other, "You've taken that too far". The Banter Boys: Two camp men that are regularly found nearby places where Glaswegian banter
is common, taking great relish in experiencing the Glaswegian accent and patter
in a variety of situations. This includes hiding out in a football locker room to hear the coach shouting at the players and taking a taxi ride in a complete circle back to where they got on, paying out £100 for "the banter" they received from the driver. The two characters appear in the form of the stereotypical Kelvinside
housewife, with the same pretensions and turns of phrases. Their catchphrase is "we're paying for the banter". Their real names are James and Gary. Big Jock: A overbearing, narcissistic golfer who enjoys to humiliate his fellow golf club members by making them do such things as fish out a fifty pound note from a dustbin, or leaving another fifty on the bar to see who would be desperate enough to pick it up for themselves. He often remarks about the size of his wallet, such as how it would require a team of men to lift it, and makes his less well off peers feel bad by publicly announcing to everyone how there is no shame in being poor, or a "jakey." He likes the sound of his own name and shouts it out often. He is typically very loud and likes to make bombastic speeches and has a habit of calling everyone Percy, even if it is not their name. He also wins a lot of trophies, and makes sure everyone knows about it. The Lighthouse keepers: Two men that work in a lighthouse, usually featured at the start of a show. One of them endures pranks from his work-mate while pleading "Gonnae no dae that?". They may have been based on two bored lightkeepers in an "Alas Smith & Jones" sketch during the 1980s. The pranks gradually escalate in severity as the series went on, going from simple jokes to excruciating torture of the psyche, including drawing bras and undergarments over the unfortunate man's pornography
(seemingly his only form of sexual gratification available) and pretending that he has hung himself. The final sketch ends with the lighthouse being blown up, the trademark "Gonnae no dae that?" phrase being spoken as the unfortunate lighthouse keeper watches his work-mate sail away before the lighthouse explodes. Their real names are Duncan and Malcolm. The Lonely Shopkeeper: A lonely, bored middle-aged woman working in a village grocery store who constantly attempts to be over-friendly with her customers, usually inviting them for "individual fruit trifles", and invariably frightening them off. The Depressed Taxi Caller: This sketch features an extremely unlucky woman working as a taxi controller, who is always shown crying down her headset to the drivers about her terrible life and how her new boyfriends keep dying in bizarre circumstances. She generally smokes many cigarettes and drinks large volumes of whisky throughout the sketch, in order to "dull the pain". Jack and Victor: Two OAPs that get up to mischief, featuring the characters that were later to appear in the series Still Game
. The Janny: A school janitor who pops-up to try and fix everything from broken ankles to broken hearts with the liberal application of sawdust from his bucket. The Boy That's Just Started Masturbating: A 14 year old boy that is constantly embarrassed by his parents who announce proudly to anyone they meet that he has just started masturbating
. Betty the Auld Slapper: A female OAP that has an obsession with recounting her x-rated memories of the war; usually sits with her legs spread and skirt clearly open. The Community Mobile van: A van that brings various cultural amenities to the car park of a council estate. Ranging from things like swimming pools, to an art gallery, to a theatre. The staff of the van are often harassed by a ned or two walking past. In reality, such vans would contain something like a Mobile Library, or the "Bionic Bus" councils would send round the council estates to keep local children amused. Miss Goolie, The Chemistry Teacher: A highly-strung teacher that gets overly offended by just about anything her class says, who take pleasure in winding her up as a result. Her catchphrase is " Right that's enough !" Apparently based on a chemistry teacher Karen Dunbar
had in her own school. Ballistic Bob: A man that attempts to do a normal task, fails multiple times and ends up trashing the surrounding area in a frustrated rage. He was also featured in a Scottish advert for broadband
where he smashed up an entire office when a file took an infuriatingly long time to download from the Internet. The Nightshifters: Two men who tried to get some sleep for their nightshift but are always interrupted by too much noise. They follow the noise and when they find the person whos making the noise and then shout "Haw, we're oan the nightshift!". The Smoking Family: A family of serial smokers, that only spend their money on their incredibly heavy addiction of cigarettes. They have all lost their voices (due to throat cancer) so they have to rely on voice boxes to communicate - including Snowball the cat (who was white, & now is nicotine brown) and their nephew Wayne (who hasn't lost his voice). The Sewer Workers: Two sewer workers that find strange ways of amusing themselves in the sewer, including playing with faeces. Ronald Villiers: The world's worst actor, with a gravelly, monotonous
voice. Registered with the agent "Widdecombe and Pump". When presented with any script or concept, he invariably responds, "Ah can dae that", but he is incapable of remembering simple lines, often completely misunderstands the directions of the director, and attempts inappropriate ad-libs. His character is quite similar to Pam Doove
from The League of Gentlemen
. The Sniffer: A woman who can smell "shite", often in the form of a scam or a bad lie, from a distance away. The Shoe Sniffer: A man with an extreme fetish for sniffing other people's shoes, he usually distracts them and then sniffs them in a surreptitious manner. Bob & Alan: Two overbearing salesmen in an electronics store who frequently try to put their "sales pitch" on expecting customers. They will usually attempt to completely confuse the customer, often using entirely fictional or inappropriate terminology to describe everyday electronics equipment. They also end up insulting the customers by using offensive and overly familiar terms, such as distorting the person's own name until it becomes a personal insult towards them. Oo-oo-hh, fancy!: A sketch featuring a different group of people each time. The group will be comparing items (packed lunches, drinks bought at a bar, etc.). All but the last item will be stereotypically "normal" or "working-class" - but the last person will have something considered "posh". On hearing this sophisticated item everyone else in the group will put their hands by their cheeks - wiggling their fingers - and chant 'OO-OO-HH Fancy!'. The most infamous example is the "Cheese Baguette", as being slightly more sophisticated than an ordinary cheese sandwich. Eric the Activist: A deranged animal rights activist who would do to a person what he/she is doing to an animal, such as grab a guy's lip when he is fishing to know what its like "now you know what it feels like" "mon the slugs" Harry, Linda and George: An abusive husband, Harry often becomes unjustifiably angry and even verbally abusive to his long-suffering wife, Linda, if she does the simplest of things incorrectly, such as during a game of Monopoly
. George - a family friend with a soft spot for Linda - always gets caught in the middle of these arguments while trying to stop them. The final sketch with the characters, based on a Hogmanay party at the couple's house, shows Harry's ultimate comeuppance, when Linda and George end up kissing passionately in front of him after he makes a fuss about some sausage rolls Linda said she'd made herself but had in fact bought meat and pastry and "put the sausage rolls together" which, Harry tries to make clear, are not the same thing. Mr. Gallacher: A Glasgow merchant who sets up stalls around Glasgow in an attempt to sell sport socks at the price of two pairs for a pound. Brenda: A woman who repeatedly injures (often seriously) her husband, she then shouts "HELP HELP, there's been a terrible accident!", in a very bored, insincere manner. Her husband then usually replies with "Brenda, ya bastard!". Rab McGlinchy: Rab is a stereotypical shellsuit-wearing, chain-smoking, hard-drinking Glaswegian ned
in who is employed by the television company to translate the Scottish news, narrated by a newsreader, into the dialect of the Glaswegian ned. He is introduced "...and here is Rab McGlinchy, interpreting for the Neds." Singing Bar Boys:
Many old men who sing songs, changing the lyrics for comedic effect.
Many of these characters later appeared in the TV show, "Still Game
Archie - Couple a plums:
Two men harass their friend, "Archie" in a bar. A typical sketch will involve Archie walking up to his mates and they start shouting "ARCHIIIEE" whilst fondling him. Often they will shout "TITTIES" or "COUPLE A PLUMS". Archie then gets frustrated. In one sketch he storms off after shouting "Get aaf me ya pair ah bastards!"