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Flashback: Unforgettable sayings echo on the airwaves.

Byline: Billy Butler

A RECENT poll set out to find the greatest catch phrase of all time.

No 1 was `` I'm the only gay in the village'' from the Little Britain series, an example of a current craze but I doubt its longevity.

In the days when radio was king, catch phrases abounded and some still live on. I used to love sitting huddled up on the chair by the shelf where the radio stood, while my mam did the ironing.

The radio show with more catch phrases than any other, due mainly to its galaxy of stars in the cast, was Educating Archie - yes, we listened to a ventriloquist dummy on radio!

There was Ken Platt with his ``I won't take my coat off, I'm not stopping'', and Max Bygraves with ``A good idea. . . Son!''.

Not forgetting, ``I've arrived - and to prove it, I'm here'' and ``Lovely Dollar Lolly'' and of course ``Big-head''!

Then there was Tony Hancock with ``Flippin Kids'', Beryl Reid as brum girl Marlene with her ``It sends me'' and ``It's terreefic''.

Take it from Here also spawned many catchphrases, with Jimmy Edwards as Pa Glum and his ``Ello Ello what's this then'' every time he caught Ron (Ooh Eth) and Eth (Ooh Ron) at it.

Sandy Powell with his cry of ``Can you hear me mother?'' and our very own Arthur Askey with his much-imitated ``Ayethankyew'', ``Hello playmates'' and ``Before your very eyes''.

The Goon show spawned a myriad of phrases which all had to be said in a maniacal voice ``Hello Jim'', ``He's fallen in the water'', ``And this is were the story really begins'', ``Shut up Eccles'' (usually repeated a dozen times) and Bluebottle's ``You have deaded me, you dirty rotten swine''. Billy Cotton's ``Wakey Wakey'' is still heard today.

Around the Horne was another classic radio show for catch phrases: Kenneth Williams with ``Stop Messin About'' and ``we'll be doomed, we are all doomed''.

``Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin'' was how we all remembered Listen with Mother in the 50s.

The dawn of television gave us many more of these phrases which became part of everyday vocabulary and, surely, the king of them all was ol' Brucie, yes Bruce Forsyth. He created catch phrases with an ease that was unbelievable.

Can you remember the London Palladium, ``I'm in charge'', ``Nice to see ya - to see ya nice'', ``Please yourself''?

There are so many, but will ``The only gay in the village'' stand the test of time as these others have, or will it be forgotten when the series ends?

My greatest catchphrase? The immortal Tommy Cooper's ``Just like that'' - but I did consider, only for a moment, ``Give us a clue Billy''.


RADIO FAVOURITE: Kenneth Williams
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 29, 2005
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