FRANCIE and Josie always made for interesting pictures when they were promoting their latest shows.

In November 1970 Jack Milroy and Rikki Fulton were photographed with members of the chorus as they rehearsed for The Magic of Francie and Josie, which would open on December 3 at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre.

The opening-night reviews reflected the affection with which Glaswegians had always regarded the duo. “It is a show”, said the Glasgow Herald, “which will reap box-office profits, because it has a real pantomime flavour and an abundance of entertainment for adults and children.

“The story, intentionally inconsequential, is about a Highland castle which is put up for sale. A mixture of romance and villainy is interspersed between the songs and dancing.

“There are some excellent scenes and one particularly hilarious episode when the entire cast, dressed in Francie and Josie outfits, do their ‘Glasgow waddle’, around the stage”.

The Evening Times review opened: “From the moment Francie and Josie walked onto the stage and said, ‘Hullawrerr, chinas’, last night’s Pavilion winter show had success emblazoned all over it”.

Francie and Josie are also seen here (right) promoting a show at Jimmy Logan’s Metropole Theatre.

Francie and Josie had been formed in 1959. The “Glasgow teddy-boy delinquents ... became the Morecambe and Wise of Scottish entertainments”, Gordon Irving wrote in The Stage in 2004, upon Fulton’s death. Milroy had passed away three years earlier.

It was one of Jack Webster’s many achievements that he played a part in tempting the duo to embark on a three-week run at the King’s, in Glasgow, in October 1996. It all stemmed from a charity show he had seen them star in, at the same venue, in March 1995.

Jack, a well-known Herald feature writer and columnist, knew that Francie and Josie had come out of retirement for that one-off show. But he, and the rest of the audience, had enjoyed it hugely. In his column the following week, he pondered why, outwith a charity night, there was no commercial theatre catering for this sort of audience.

The sheer cost – £100,000 – was a factor, he knew. Undaunted, his column continued: “Could they be prised out of retirement even once a year for a week? In the name of sheer unadulterated enjoyment, let us hope so”. Webster’s column had many readers. Among them was Rikki Fulton. And thus the germ of an idea, for three weeks at the King’s, was born.

Fulton told Webster that he would always treasure the memory of that charity night. Neither he nor Milroy could recall a reception quite like it. “I was taken aback by that night”, he said. “And there is no way to describe the feeling. It is the most joyful, glorious experience that any human being can have”.

Read more: Herald Diary