Hullo... the Rev is back in a Fran­cie and Josie trib­ute

Stirling Observer - - THE -

your speak­ing voice is strained, it’s dif­fi­cult to em­bark on a 35-date tour that pri­mar­ily

Rev­erend IM Jolly is set to make a re­turn, say­ing his fa­mous “hullo” to Stirling.

The dour-faced, wry min­is­ter be­came an es­sen­tial New Year TV tra­di­tion with the late co­me­dian Rikki Ful­ton as he set­tled back into his leather Ch­ester­field arm­chair and de­liv­ered a highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate, but hi­lar­i­ous ser­mon.

Just the dole­ful ut­ter­ance of the word “hullo” by the Rev Jolly sparked laugh­ter from the au­di­ence.

The last time TV au­di­ences wit­nessed him in full flow was when Rikki made his ap­pear­ance on BBC for “The Fi­nal Last Call” on De­cem­ber 31, 1999, just be­fore the dawn of the new mil­len­nium. The char­ac­ter’s reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances had started back in 1978 on the TV show, “Scotch and Wry”.

But now the Rev IM Jolly is set to preach again to a Stirling au­di­ence af­ter suc­cess­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions with the char­ity that in­her­ited the rights to Ful­ton’s cre­ative cat­a­logue af­ter he died in 2004 aged 79 fol­low­ing a twoyear bat­tle with Alzheimer’s.

The char­ac­ter’s the­atri­cal come­back is spear­headed by Scot­tish en­ter­tain­ers Johnny Mac and Liam Dolan, who have for the past four years, taken their Fran­cie and Josie trib­ute shows all over Scot­land.

Rikki Ful­ton and co-star Jack Mil­roy had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as the two Glas­gow wide-boy char­ac­ters with their hi­lar­i­ous ban­ter, song and dance rou­tines and wise-crack­ing jibes at each other’s char­ac­ter. Their per­for­mances spanned five decades, 473544. launch­ing in 1958 with the duo land­ing their own TV show in the early 60s on STV.

Af­ter de­but­ing his take on Jolly in Fe­bru­ary, Johnny Mac is don­ning his min­is­ter’s dog col­lar and im­per­son­at­ing Jolly as part of the duo’s new ‘Fran­cie and Josie: A Trib­ute’ show which starts tour­ing again in Oc­to­ber.

And it will be the first time the duo has played in a Stirling venue.

The move for a Jolly come­back was ap­proved by bosses at the Scot­tish SPCA an­i­mal wel­fare char­ity who now own the cre­ative rights to Rikki Ful­ton’s char­ac­ter.

Both Rikki and his late wife Kate were big sup­port­ers of the an­i­mal char­ity. Money they also left to the char­ity al­lowed the open­ing, in De­cem­ber, of the re­fur­bished Glas­gow An­i­mal Res­cue and Re­hom­ing Cen­tre, for­merly known as the Glas­gow Dog and Cat Home.

Johnny said: “We’re so look­ing for­ward to meet­ing our Stirling au­di­ence. It’s all very ex­cit­ing. We were ab­so­lutely de­lighted and hugely ap­pre­ci­ated that the char­ity ap­proved our re­quest to per­form the Rev Jolly char­ac­ter and ma­te­rial in pub­lic again. We agreed to make a do­na­tion to that char­ity for the use of the ma­te­rial and we love the idea that the new cen­tre’s an­i­mal res­i­dents will ben­e­fit.

“For us to share some of Rikki’s mag­nif­i­cently crafted and highly en­ter­tain­ing ser­mons which de­lighted many thou­sands over the years in our shows is a big hon­our.

“From the mo­ment he ap­peared on TV as the Rev Jolly in his arm­chair and just said ‘hullo’ in his drole man­ner he had the au­di­ences laugh­ing. He could turn a story about at­tend­ing a paris­honer’s fu­neral into a side-split­tingly funny yarn – and re­mark­ably could re­main stoney-faced through­out.

“I want to do Rikki’s legacy proud when I set­tle into the iconic arm­chair and be­gin the ser­mon.”

Johnny’s Fran­cie and Josie co-star Liam added: “The ap­pear­ance of the Rev Jolly adds a great new di­men­sion to our show and we’re con­fi­dent that fans of ‘Scotch and Wry’ and ‘Last Call’ will thor­oughly en­joy the melan­cholic min­is­ter’s come­back.”

•Fran­cie and Josie: A Trib­ute star­ring Johnny Mac and Liam Dolan is on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 5 at 7.30pm at Stirling’s Al­bert Halls.

Trib­ute Liam Dolan as Fran­cie and Johnny Mac as Josie

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