It may seem like only yesterday but it has been 20 years since the final episode of Scotch and Wry was broadcast on Hogmanay in 1992. To celebrate we take a look back at the programme which became a Scottish comedy institution and the career of its talented star, Rikki Fulton.
The comedian and actor from Dennistoun was already a household name thanks to the success of Francie and Josie, the teddy boy double act he formed with Jack Milroy, when he launched Scotch and Wry in 1978.
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The show ran for 14 years and went on to become a Hogmanay institution.
Its characters included the blundering police motorcyclist Supercop, the Gallowgate Gourmet, Dirty Dickie Dandruff and, most famously, the Reverend I M Jolly, a depressive Presbyterian minister whose deadpan appearances would spawn two books and a number of spinoffs including Tis’ the Season to be Jolly and Jolly: A Man for All Seasons.
His sermons continued after the end of Scotch and Wry in 1992, with the minister making his final Last Call in Hogmanay 1996.
The series was only broadcast once across the UK in 1982. However, it proved hugely popular in Scotland and at its height attracted two million viewers and outsold Fawlty Towers on video.
After the series came to an end, Fulton, who has appeared in a number of roles on stage, radio, tv and film, took on another iconic role as Dan McPhail in the remake of The Tales of Para Handy with Gregor Fisher.
During his career he also appeared in a number of productions including It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, The Gowrie Conspiracy, The Flannels, The Winter’s Tale, Local Hero, Gorky Park and Comfort and Joy.
However, despite his acting experience, Fulton was not always comfortable in front of a microphone.
In his 1999 autobiography 'Is it that time already?' he said: “Broadcasting made me nervous. I don’t know why. You would think it would be easier than performing in front of 2,000 people on stage, but I still find it difficult to speak into a microphone.”
In 2002 Fulton, who had received an OBE, two honorary degrees from the Universities of Strathclyde and Abertey and a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award, was diagnosed with alzhemiers. He sadly passed away in January 2004.
Following his death, he was praised for his contribution to acting and comedy, with First Minister Jack McConnell describing him as 'Mr Hogmanay' and ‘one of Scotland’s great entertainers’ and John Swinney, the leader of the SNP at the time, calling him a ‘national treasure’.