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