Radio Memories – Hamish And Dougal.

Hamish And Dougal In You’ll Have Had Your Tea (BBC Radio 4, 2002-2007)

In this series, I don’t plan to look back at radio game shows or comedy panel games, but there have been plenty of these that have been successful over the years. I must admit that I haven’t listened to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue as much as Just A Minute, but they are the two most popular and long-running shows in their genre on BBC Radio 4, providing laughs going back decades now.

But I do know that among the regular panellists on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue are Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden, two veterans of comedy who have written and contributed to dozens of quirky shows in their long careers. One highlight for regular listeners is when from the mid-90s they performed as the characters Hamish and Dougal, usually in the “Sound Charades” round, which is nearly as exciting as Give Us A Clue.

This became popular enough with listeners for them to be given their own spin-off series. Unsurprisingly, this went off in some rather unusual directions. Hamish (Cryer) and Dougal (Garden) are two elderly Scotsmen, and the title comes from their regular greeting “you’ll have had your tea”, and it could even be considered to be their catchphrase. They often bumble through life, doing daft things together, such as trying to get fit or entering a talent contest. Oh, jings! had

Among the other regular characters is their housekeeper Mrs Naughtie who wonders what they will do next, and the Laird, who often looks on with horror at their antics, and also likes to sing. But what I enjoyed most about the show was how daft it was, with plenty of in-jokes, bizarre place names, and innuendo, along with a lot of laughter and corpsing at their own rude jokes. There was also plenty of wordplay, my favourite exchange being “oh well, here’s my front door”. “What the hell’s it doing there?”. Now that is how you write great comedy.

Most of the episodes were only 15 minutes long, but there were also some extended specials where we found out what our heroes got up to during Hogmanay and the like, featuring some guest appearances from their I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue companions. There were three series of You’ll Have Had Your Tea, that packed in as much silliness that was possible, and there was also a book released.