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Archive interview : May 2003
The man behind the 'Fat Slags'
An artist's impression of Graham Dury
Graham Dury or Garry Birtles? Graham's son, Jack (aged 9) produced this picture of his Dad for us.
Nottingham born Graham Dury co-created the legendary Viz characters 'The Fat Slags'. We caught up with him.
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In October 2004 the Viz Magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Viz has spawned numerous spin offs including the Fat Slags feature film.

We've been speaking to Graham Dury, the Nottingham man who says he based the Fat Slags on the women of Mansfield!


Interview with Graham Dury

So, you're Nottinghamshire born and bred?
I was born in Clifton, not far from where Trent Poly (as it was) is, in the same house my mum and dad still live in. In the back bedroom, top of the stairs, turn left and it's straight in front of you. I think it's a different bed.

I went to Greencroft Infants, followed by Greencroft Juniors and then Fairham Comprehensive.

What does your average day entail at Viz?
I'll drop my kids off at school then set off for work in Newcastle. I'll get about half way there then I'll go back home for my glasses.

quote When I was 18 my mum asked me if I was gay. quote
Graham Dury

When I get to work, most of the time is spent sitting round trying to think of jokes and scripts for cartoons and talking about what was on telly the night before.

When we finally write a script, I usually do the drawing at home in the evening when the kids are in bed.

When we get near a deadline, things get a bit more hectic and we don't spend as much time talking about what was on the telly.

Were the Fat Slags inspired by the lovely women of Nottingham?
No. Nottingham has the most attractive women in the country, because it used to say so on a little plaque above the doors of The Palais.

quote People who come to the office are often very disappointed to meet us, because they expect us to be whacky loonies playing practical jokes on each other all the time. quote
Graham Dury

The Fat Slags were thought up by the four of us who worked there at the time, and so they were a bit of a composite. I got the job of drawing them because I was the only one free at that minute.

Simon Thorp, who I write the scripts with, now comes from Pontefract, and so the Fat Slags have ended up as being vaguely Nottinghamy/Yorkshirey in origin.

We try not to say where they come from, but we had to in one story and I think we said they lived in Mansfield.

Did you ever have any dodgy encounters with women like the Fat Slags in Nottingham?
I didn't. I was very shy as a lad, and I steered clear of women for a suspiciously long time. When I was 18 my mum asked me if I was gay.
Can you draw us a Modern day Maid Marian?
Tray and Baz as Robin and Marian. (c) IFG/Fulchester Industries.
Tray and Baz as Robin and Marian. (c) IFG/Fulchester Industries.

How do people generally react to your job at Viz and your comic strips?
Usually with indifference, which is as it should be. I've only met a couple of people who were genuinely offended, but that was years ago when the world was a different place.

If someone these days asks what I do for a living I'm usually a bit vague and just say I draw cartoons. If they find out it's Viz they tend to say "Oh, my dad used to read that."

quote If there's a cartoon with someone wearing cowboy boots, I've probably drawn it. quote
Graham Dury

People who come to the office are often very disappointed to meet us, because they expect us to be whacky loonies playing practical jokes on each other all the time.

What they find is four blokes in their late thirties/early forties who are beginning to moan about the price of bread and make grunting noises when they bend to pick things up.

And there's Alex, who at 22 is our youngest cartoonist. He likes a good laugh, but the rest of us soon put a stop to that.

Which other characters have you created?
We tend to create all the characters together, though we each have ones we exclusively draw.

As well as the Fat Slags I draw Roger Mellie, Biffa Bacon, Spoilt Bastard and Postman Plod. And a few others - if there's a cartoon with someone wearing cowboy boots, I've probably drawn it.

Are you a Forest fan?
Yes, and I would love to see them back in the Premiership. They've been out too long.

Viv Anderson
Viv Anderson : Outclassed by the young Graham Dury.
My dad ran a football team, Clifton Athletic, for years and a young Viv Anderson used to play for them. One night I went along to training. Viv was there and I went in for a tackle and took the ball off him. That was the pinnacle of my footballing career.

These days, me and two of my lads have season tickets for Blyth Spartans FC who are in the Unibond Premier league. It's a good class of football. You can always get a seat and you don't have to leave five minutes early to miss the traffic.
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