Chewin' the Fat
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|Chewin' The Fat|
Complete collection DVD cover
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
The Comedy Unit|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||BBC One|
13 January 1999 – 31 December 2005
23 June 2000 – 22 February 2002
The Karen Dunbar Show
Chewin' the Fat was 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 among other actors such as Gregor Fisher and Tom Urie.
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 nationally across the United Kingdom. Although the last series ended in February 2002, six Hogmanay specials were broadcast each New Year's Eve between 2000–05, which were later offered on DVD when purchasing the Scottish Sun.
Recurring characters and sketches
- Alistair (Hemphill) and Rory (Kiernan)
- Two eccentric documentary presenters from the Scottish Highlands (distinguished by their Gaelic-influenced accents), fascinated with Scottish history and landscapes. They are constantly harassed by two neds, who often play practical jokes on the pair, taunt them, often shouting: "ya couple o' fannies!" The pranks varied from childish tricks (such as putting glue on the receiver of "Britain's most northerly phone box," which promptly sticks to Alistair's beard) to things that should have killed Alistair and Rory (such as rolling a caber down a mountainside at full tilt towards them); however, the pair of plucky Highlanders always lived to present another show. The characters are partly based on the hosts of Scottish history programmes such as Weir's Way.
- The Big Man (Kiernan)
- The Big Man is a tough Glaswegian 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 for the assistance of the Big Man. The character was so popular after his first appearance, he appeared in other sketches; his catchphrase being: "Is there a problem here?" The Big Man was often hypocritical, often demanding as payment whatever he had helped his clients receive. However, the people are always very happy to give him whatever he asks for.
- Bish & Bosh
- Two very dodgy painter & decorators who usually steal things from the houses they are working at. Their real names are Tony (Kiernan) and Wullie (Hemphill). In the sketches, they are normally seen having a tea break talking about something inconsequential that Wullie drags into depravity, only to be told by Tony, "You've taken that too far".
- The Banter Boys
- Two camp men who are regularly found nearby places where Glaswegian banter is common, taking great relish (and apparently almost sexual pleasure) experiencing the Glaswegian accent and patter in a variety of situations. This includes hiding out in a football team's changing 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 with a £100 note 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 just paying for the banter". Their real names are James (Hemphill) and Gary (Kiernan).
- Big Jock (Kiernan)
- An overbearing, narcissistic golfer who enjoys to humiliate his fellow golf club members by making them do such things as: retrieving a £50 note from a dustbin, or leaving another £50 note 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 aloud often. He is typically very loud and likes to make bombastic speeches and has a habit of calling everyone Percy, even if it isn't their name. He also wins a lot of trophies, and makes sure everyone knows about it.
- The Lighthouse Keepers
- Duncan (Hemphill) and Malcolm (Kiernan) are two Highlanders who work in a lighthouse on the fictional west coast island of Aonoch Mor. Their sketches usually featured at the start of the programme. Duncan endures pranks from Malcolm 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 escalated 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 hanged himself. The final sketch ends with the lighthouse being blown up, Duncan's trademark "Gonnae no dae that?" phrase being spoken as the unfortunate lighthouse keeper watches Malcolm sail away before the lighthouse explodes.
- The Lonely Shopkeeper (Karen Dunbar)
- A lonely, bored woman working in a corner shop who is "stuck in the shop, day after day after day...", and therefore constantly trying to be over-friendly with her customers, usually inviting them for "individual fruit trifles", and invariably frightening them off. She often attempts to pry into customers' personal lives, and comments on their (occasionally embarrassing) purchases.
- The Man from Kilmacolm (Kiernan)
- A man who breaks cultural taboos or does something very anti-social. When challenged or criticised, he then explains away his actions by just saying "I'm from Kilmacolm", which would immediately win understanding of his superiority from everyone around him.
- The Depressed Taxi Caller (Karen Dunbar)
- 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". Her real name is Fiona.
- Jack (Kiernan) and Victor (Hemphill)
- Two OAPs who get up to mischief, featuring the characters that were famously later to appear in the series Still Game.
- The Janny (Kiernan)
- 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. His catch-phrase is "Gie that ten minutes an' it'll be as right as rain" after he has dumped sawdust over whatever it is he is fixing.
- The Boy Who Has Just Started Masturbating
- A 14-year-old boy called Stephen (played by Gordon McCorkell) who is constantly embarrassed by his parents as they announce proudly to anyone they meet that he has just started masturbating. While other young people around him find this hilarious, most of the adults react by congratulating Stephen and saying "That's smashin' for ye!"
- Betty the Auld Slapper (Karen Dunbar)
- A female OAP, usually seen giving interviews to a "teatime [radio] show" about her memories from during the Second World War. These stories always end up with Betty describing her (numerous) sexual experiences in detail before being cut off by the show's exasperated host (Hemphill). She always sits with her legs spread wide apart, exposing her underpants.
- 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 around council estates to keep local children amused.
- Miss Isabelle Gourlay, the Chemistry Teacher (Karen Dunbar)
- A highly-strung, seemingly sexually-repressed teacher who 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 of that!" Apparently based on a chemistry teacher Karen Dunbar had in her own school.
- Ballistic Bob (Kiernan)
- A man who 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 two Scottish adverts for broadband where he smashed up an entire office when a file took an infuriatingly long time to download from the Internet and his home study was wrecked when someone he was trying to call wouldn't answer the phone.
- The Nightshifters
- Two men who try to get some sleep for their nightshift, but are always interrupted by too much noise. They follow the noise, and upon finding the culprit(s), the men shout "Haw, we're oan the nightshift!". This noise can be anything from a loud football match to pens clicking.
- Gretta (Karen Dunbar)
- A female boss who hangs around two reluctant male employees at their desks whilst being obsessed with her moustache. Played by Karen Dunbar, the character appears in Series 4.
- Two Gaelic sock puppets that get up to mischief, such as finding a "package" on the beach, then discovering that it is hash and proceed to produce a Rizla. They speak a mixture of Gaelic and English to communicate with each other, with their conversations beginning and ending with "oola". It is a parody of the Gaelic children's programme "Dòtaman"
- Mr. Simpson (Kiernan)
- A man with a whistling lisp, which often gets satirised by other people by having him say something with the letter "S" or the pronunciation of "S" strewn throughout, such as his niece and nephew having him read "The Night Before Christmas" from the beginning (the sketch begins with him finishing it, on the last sentence where the letter "S" not present.) So he reads it as (lisps are in bold) "Twas the night before christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse."
- The Smoking Family
- A family of serial smokers, who 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, and now has a nicotine brown-stained coat) and their young nephew Wayne (who hasn't lost his voice).
- The Sewer Workers
- Two sewer workers who find strange ways of amusing themselves in the sewer, including playing with faeces.
- Ronald Villiers (Kiernan)
- 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.
- Gym Teacher (Hemphill)
- A flatulent Gym Teacher who demonstrates physical activity to his class, and ends up passing gas from exertion. After this happens, the class laughs at him as he then yells "Simmer down!"
- The Sniffer (Karen Dunbar)
- A woman who can smell "shite", often in the form of a scam or a lie, from a distance away. According to her mail, her name is Olive Actory, a play on olfactory.
- The Shoe Sniffer (Hemphill)
- 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 (Hemphill) & Alan (Kiernan)
- 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.
- Socially Awkward Car salesman
- A car salesman (played by Mark Cox) who stands in a group with three other car salesmen (Kiernan, Hemphill, and Paul Riley) that have a laugh with each other by making comments or noises in relation to a subject. When it gets to his turn, he becomes overbearing by making loud noises or gestures, resulting in the other car salesmen walking away in embarrassment.
- Milk Lemonade Chocolate (MLC)
- Different characters in competitive, or disagreeing situations, who proceed to taunt the losing side by chanting "Milk Lemonade Chocolate", pointing to their breasts, crotch, and posteriors respectively.
- 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 (Hemphill)
- A deranged animal rights activist (always seen in a tie-dyed shirt and baggy jeans) 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 show what it feels like. His catchphrases are "Now you know what it feels like" and "'Mon the (animal that is being abused)!"
- Harry (Kiernan), Linda (Dunbar) and George (Hemphill)
- An abusive husband, Harry often becomes unjustifiably angry and even verbally abusive to his long-suffering wife, Linda, if she makes the simplest of mistakes, such as during a game of Monopoly or Countdown. George – a family friend with a soft spot for Linda – always gets caught in the middle of these arguments while trying to stop them. Linda and George always have the last laugh, however, as Harry is nearly always injured at the end of these episodes. The final sketch of Series 2, 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. They reappeared in Series 3 where they visit a zoo in episode one and a warehouse in episode four.
- Tom Gallagher (Hemphill)
- A Glasgow merchant who sets up stalls around Glasgow in an attempt to sell sports socks at the price of "two for a pound".
- Brenda (Karen Dunbar)
- 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!". Another Brenda was introduced in Series 4, depicting an overbearing woman who would, at unexpected moments, go "My heart was like that", and tap on her chest simultaneously.
- Rab McGlinchy (Kiernan)
- 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 a Glaswegian ned. He is introduced "...and here, interpreting for the Neds tonight, Rab McGlinchy."
- Singing Bar Boys
- Many old men who sing songs, changing the lyrics for comedic effect. Some of these characters later appeared in Still Game.
- Archie – Couple o' 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 O' PLUMS". Archie then gets frustrated. In one sketch, he storms off after shouting: "Get aaf me ya pair ah bastards!"
- Take a Drink!
- In different situations, while several people are drinking (not necessarily alcoholic beverages), a person declines to drink. He/she is prompted to "Take a drink" by a constantly growing number of people until he gives up and accepts ("Awright then"), at which point everyone cheers him/her.
- Foulmouthed Fishermen
- Two fishermen aboard the trawler the "pearl necklace". They speak in a nautical sounding tone but the words used are rude and have very little to do with ships. Tending to make references to sex or various parts of the anatomy.
- Old-time photobomb
- A group of characters in costume is seen posed in a way typical of photographs from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the last second before the photographer takes the photograph, one of the characters jumps in front of the others, screaming a Glaswegian expression. The annoyed photographer says, "one more time," whereupon the normal picture is taken. One of the most famous examples is a wild west scene, when one of the people yells "NAE DANGER!!!"
- The Wee Girl with the Scooter
- Often characters are seen to be injured in various, and often serious, ways, such as being run over or pushed down the stairs, and when looking around to see the perpetrator, they are faced with a smiling young girl on a scooter, accompanied by some light ice cream van-esque music. The injured party and anyone accompanying them respond by saying, "Awww" and seem to forget about what has happened to them, occasionally dying from their injuries.
- Woman married to Derek (Karen Dunbar)
- A woman on the phone to her mother recounting how great her husband Derek (who is never seen) is, unbeknownst that he seems to be a self-serving liar and cheat. An example is, when he travels to Tenerife without his wife; telling her it's because she has an old red passport instead of a new blue one (red actually being the latest and blue no longer valid) and she could not have a photograph taken because her teeth are "fillings with magnets" and would break the photo booth. The conversation ends when sheriff's officers appear to "repossess the beanbag" she is sitting on.
- Taysiders in Space
- A parody of Star Trek. It portrays what Star Trek would look like if it was made by Scots. The jokes included are set phasers to malky and when one of the captains collapses, the doctor runs to help and one of the officers goes to help but instead stares at his female colleague's posterior. All of the crewmembers speak in thick Dundonian and Angus dialects.
Cast & Crew
- Ford Kiernan – Various Characters
- Greg Hemphill – Various Characters
- Karen Dunbar – Various Characters
- Paul Riley – Various Characters
- Mark Cox – Various Characters
- Julie Wilson Nimmo – Various Characters
- Tom Urie – Various Characters
- Gordon McCorkell – Various Characters
- Ford Kiernan – Writer & Creator
- Greg Hemphill – Writer & Creator
- Sanjeev Kohli – Additional Material
- Donald McLeary – Additional Material
- Iain Connell – Additional Material
- Robert Florence – Additional Material
- Michael Hines – Director
- Colin Gilbert – Producer
- Ewan Angus – Producer (For BBC Scotland)
- Rab Christie – Script Editor
- John McNeil – Lighting Director
|DVD title||Release date||Content|
|Series 1||19 March 2001||Series 1 Episodes 1–6|
|Series 2||17 July 2000||Series 2 Episodes 1–6|
|Series 3||9 April 2001||Series 3 Episodes 1–6|
|Series 4||5 August 2002||Series 4 Episodes 1–6|
|Series 1–3 boxset||1 November 2001||Series 1–3, The Live Show and Still Game Live|
|Series 1–4 boxset||23 February 2004||Series 1–4|
|Hogmanay 2000||2001||The Hogmanay 2000 Special with 30 minutes of unseen footage|
|The Live Show||27 November 2000||The Live Show|
|The Best of||20 November 2006||A selection of some of the best sketches|