ELAINE C Smith reveals how her famous phrase “clean, damn shiny” was adapted from one of her husband’s students.
The 64-year-old actress, who became a household name as Slave S. Nesbitt’s long-suffering wife Mary Doll, used the saying in the 1980s Scottish BBC sitcom City Lights for her rough character Irene.
But it was Bob’s husband’s story in class that gave Irene the catchphrase, as Elaine recalled: “One of his third years said, ‘Sir, I was just dumbfounded.’ I thought using those words together was great.”
Head writer MATT BENDORIS learns how other famous Scots came up with their catchphrases.
THE KRANKIES – FAN DHABI DOZY
Husband and wife duo Ian and Janette Tuf were under pressure from BBC bosses to come up with a catchphrase while filming the children’s show Crackerjack in the early 80s.
Eventually, one of the couple’s dancers, Karen Long, blurted out Fan Dhabi Dozi as they drove to a concert in Stoke-on-Trent.
Jan, 75, recalls: “Jeanette and I said, ‘That’s great, how do you spell it? Karen replied, “I don’t know, damn it, I just made it up.”
JOHNNY MAC – I ENJOY MYSELF
PANTO star Johnny Mack has seen his “I’m having fun” statement become a favorite of the holiday crowd.
But the 43-year-old comedian, who just finished playing Jack Potty in Beauty and the Beast at Glasgow’s Theater Royal, admits he coined the phrase as a “defense mechanism.”
Johnny (real name John McDonald) explains: “This is from the stand-up days. If the joke was successful, I would say: “I’m having fun” – this always made me laugh.
JOY MCAVOY – SHUT UP MICHELLE
HER brother James McAvoy may be a big Hollywood star, but Joy is someone who has a catchphrase in the family, even if she never actually said it.
In one episode of the BBC sitcom Two Doors Down, Kathy’s drunk neighbor (Doon McKichan) yells “Shut up, Michelle” to Joy’s lovely neighbor.
Joy, 41, says: “I can still hear people yelling at me. Someone will always say, “Shut up, Michel.” It became like my catchphrase, which is very strange because I didn’t actually say it.”
JOHN BARROMAN – AMAZING
The Scottish artist went into the jungle without a catchphrase in 2018, but he definitely found it by saying “Awesome” just once.
However, I’m A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec soon jumped on it, making “Fabulousssss” the highlight of the show, with it coming in second behind winner Harry Redknapp.
John, 55, says: “I only said that once. Now, everywhere I go, they scream, “Amazing.” But things were not so fantastic when John had to cancel his 2023 UK tour due to poor ticket sales.
SYDNEY DEVINE – PUT THE TEAPOT ON, SHIRLEY
The country crooner was known for his song Tiny Bubbles, but years as a radio host gave him a catchphrase.
Sydney hosted a hit show on Radio Clyde in Glasgow and later on West Sound in Ayr, where he ended each show with a request to his wife, “Put the kettle on, Shirley.”
The artist, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 81, said: “This phrase made me famous just like any of my songs. It’s funny what gets stuck in people’s minds.”
FRANK MACAVENNY – WHERE IS THE BURDZ?
MIMIC Jonathan Watson touted McKee’s image as a playboy ruthlessly with the phrase “Where are the Burds?” on his satirical TV show Only An Excuse?
It was a saying the Celtic legend had always had a love/hate relationship with, but he grudgingly admitted that she kept his profile alive long after he hung up his boots.
Frank, 63, once described the catchphrase as “played out” before the BBC show ended in 2020, but Jonathan, 66, responded: “Macca changes her mind about the show every morning when she gets up.”
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