Chewin’ The Fat (BBC1, 1999-2002)
Chewin’ The Fat was a comedy show with a Scottish slant that starred the double-act Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. The show launched on BBC Radio Scotland (later repeated nationally on BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra) where Ford and Greg would discuss the latest news and also perform comedy sketches. In 1999 this transferred to TV and ran for four series, although again it wasn’t shown nationally until the later series, and I don’t remember watching it until the final series. Although I don’t have any Scottish roots I enjoyed a lot of the humour that the show had to offer so I decided to buy the DVD.
There were many memorable characters who featured in Chewin’ The Fat, some of my favourites includied the two rather overenthusiastic computer shop salesmen with wonky teeth, the useless actor Ronald Villiers who always failed his auditions, two dodgy decorators, and someone who had a whistling lisp. The most successful characters were the two old fellers Jack and Victor, who went on to have their own long-running spin-off sitcom Still Game. Again episodes were shown only in Scotland before being shown nationally but this is a very popular show that has now run for seven series.
To pick out a few highlights, one sketch that I enjoyed in the first series was a parody of a daytime game show called Piffle. I was thinking for a while of doing a straight review of this parody in my Game Show Memories series as if it was a real show and then see how many people would be caught out by it, but eventually I decided to settle on including it in a piece on game show parodies featured in comedy shows. There were also some parodies of news presenters, children’s TV and shopping channels.
There was another first series sketch that really made me laugh. Ford and Greg were discussing what animal they would like to be, and they said that it would be good to be a squid because you could squirt with ink someone that you didn’t like. I think partly because I do find the idea of gunge amusing, when the show ended with someone annoying being squirted who ended up like this, I thought it was great.
Well I’ve got my end of review cardigan on now. Chewin’ The Fat and Still Game went on to become much-loved comedy institutions in Scotland, and I’m sure that to this day there are still a huge amount of people north of the border who like to go around and use catchphrases such as “milk lemonade chocolate” and “gonnae no dae that!”. There were also lots of Christmas and Hogmanay specials, and there was a stage show too which has been very popular throughout Scotland.