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19 April 2014
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Chewin' the Fat

Chewin' the Fat

"I think every river town has got a black sense of humour that other's don't. That's why our stuff is able to travel."

That's how Ford Kiernan sums up the appeal of his cult sketch show: Chewin' the Fat.

Co-created with Greg Hemphill, the avowedly Glaswegian series began life on BBC Radio Scotland in 1997. A rich mix of broad character comedy, the show was adapted for BBC One in 1999, where it was screened in Scotland only on Wednesday nights.

Karen Dunbar as the poet lady in Chewin' the Fat

Starring Kiernan, Hemphill and Karen Dunbar, it also featured regular appearances by Paul Riley and Mark Cox.

Recurring characters included two lighthouse keepers, whose habits grate upon each other ("Gonna no dae that?"), parents who proudly announce to all and sundry that their 14-year-old boy has just started masturbating, a lonely shopkeeper whose overtures to her customers keep them away and atrocious but enthusiastic actor Ronald Villiers ("Ah can dae that").

A rich palate, indeed, a lot of the humour was unashamedly knockabout and pleasingly parochial (does anyone outside Glasgow know what a "dobber" is?).

Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan as the old men

Nevertheless, the show graduated to a network screening when a compilation drawn from the first two series was broadcast in England in 2000.

By the time Chewin' the Fat was into its fourth run, it was airing nationwide.

Back home, Hemphill and Kiernan had also achieved another accolade, as their show became the successor to the legendary Scotch and Wry, with two special editions screening on New Year's Eve 2000 and 2001.

In 2002, the series came to a close, but its spirit lived on. The show's OAP characters Jack and Victor graduated to their own sitcom, Still Game; while Karen Dunbar was awarded a series: The Karen Dunbar Show, the following year.

Cast

Ford Kiernan
performer
Greg Hemphill
performer
Karen Dunbar
performer

Crew

Ford Kiernan
writer
Greg Hemphill
writer
Rab Christie
writer
Brian Horsburgh
director
Colin Gilbert
director
Michael Hines
director
Colin Gilbert
producer
Ewan Angus
executive producer

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