Stanley Baxter

79 – Stanley Baxter’s Parliamo Glasgow

Mid 1960s

FOR a generation of Scots, mere mention of the name Stanley Baxter is enough to bring a smile to the face.

One of the funniest performers Scotland  has ever produced, Glasgow-born Baxter performed as a child in the Scottish edition of BBC’s Children’s Hour.

During the Second World War he developed his skills entertaining troops with the Combined Services Entertainment Unit before becoming a star with pantomime productions and TV shows known for their elaborate costumes and his superb impressions of famous people.

One of his most memorable creations, and one that only a Scot could have created, was Parliamo Glasgow which appeared in the mid-60s. This series of sketches was a parody of the stiff and formal TV language teaching programmes of the day.

A smartly dressed Baxter appeared in a scene in which everyone spoke with a strong Glasgow accent, before turning to the camera and explaining, in carefully enunciated ‘Queen’s English’, what had been said, as if he was an academic explaining some obscure foreign tongue.

In a visit to the market, for example, he asks: “Izatamarraonyerbarra, Clara?” before translating this as “Is that a marrow on your barrow, Clara?”

Others introduced the Glaswegian word “sanoffy”, as in “Sanoffy caul day” (“It’s an awfully cold day”) and ‘Izziaffiz’, as in ‘Izziafiz meat?’ (Has he lost his appetite). Subjects covered ranged from commenting on the weather (“Scummindooninbuckets”) to helpful phrases to deal with someone getting too friendly (“Takyurhonaffmabum”).

While Scots, Glaswegian or not, could enjoy the humour of it all, the rest of the UK was left wondering what the joke was.