Ten Chewin' the Fat sketches that would likely be too hot for TV in 2022

By David McLean

The news that the BBC is to edit out certain Chewin' the Fat sketches that could cause offence to modern Scots has received a mixed response.

Many fans of the '90s Scottish comedy classic were incensed to hear that some of their favourite sketches could be removed for future repeats of the show, while others say times, and, ultimately, sensibilities, have changed vastly in the intervening years.

Chewin' the Fat, which first aired precisely 23 years ago on January 13, 1999, proved to be a huge success among Scots viewers, running for four series, making household names of its stars, including Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill and Karen Dunbar.

But while YouTube clips of Chewin' the Fat's best bits remain wildly popular, some examples probably belong in 2002 rather than 2022.

With the BBC remaining tight-lipped for the moment, speculation is rife as to which sketches will be consigned to history.

There are, however, certain clips that are clearly prime contenders for the chop.

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The ice cream van

It's one of Chewin' the Fat's most memorable sketches, but, as pointed out recently by show co-creator Ford Kiernan, that might not be a good thing in 2022.

In the sketch, Karen Dunbar plays an ice cream van lady who asks two young boys what it is they're wanting.

When it's revealed that the younger of the two boys would like a "swatch" (a look) at the vendor's private parts, Karen Dunbar's character duly obliges and raises her skirt.

The gag resolves with the two boys standing, mouths agape, holding their ice cream cones.

Last year, co-creator Ford Kiernan said the skirt scene would never make it past modern censors.

Kiernan, 60, said: "A lot of the stuff on Chewin' The Fat stuff you couldn't get away with now.

"The likes of Karen pulling her skirt up I don't think you could do. We did get letters at the time and somebody wrote in and said 'As funny as the nation thought that sketch was, would that sketch work if it was two wee lassies at the van and it was a man?'

'Night chug'

A parody of the often saucy premium-rate dating service ads that would appear on late night telly in the '90s, this sketch (very knowingly) uses gay stereotypes for a service called 'Night Chug' that would likely cause offence today.

'When Will I Come Back And See Ye'

A classic Chewin' the Fat sketch this one, with many great comic moments that still hold up to this day.

Ford and Greg play Canadian-based expats who are visiting Glasgow for the first time in decades in a fictional BBC documentary titled 'When Will I Come Back And See Ye?'. Suffice to say, it's not the Glasgow they remember.

The gags fly thick and fast and there are some brilliant one-liners, though we're not so sure Canadians would appreciate their countrymen being portrayed as gullible half-wits, who never seem to realise they're being fleeced at every turn.

Muppets parody

A clear parody of The Muppets, Ford and Kiernan provide the voices for two children's puppets that are colourful in more ways than one.

Early in the sketch, the puppets are ogling a barmaid. The declaration by the puppets that they'd "like to give her one" is very much of its time.

The Fandan

This sketch revolves around a conversation between a group of male car showroom employees discussing what they were up to at the weekend.

Having visited "Gleneagles on Saturday", Ford Kiernan's character describes a luxurious scene, adding that "the fandan" (vulgar term for female 'talent') was particular highlight.

Each of the characters then takes it in turn to suggestively smell and taste the imaginary "fandan".

The Big Man - six inches aff the top

By far one of Chewin' the Fat's most memorable and quotable characters was the notoriously violent Big Man, played by Ford Kiernan.

The archetypal Glasgow hardman and gangster provided many hilarious moments, though there are one or two sketches that perhaps took things a bit too far by 2022 standards.

In one particularly dark sketch with echoes of Reservoir Dogs, Big Man has taken a man hostage and tied him to in a chair for sleeping with his daughter. Big Man opts to gain revenge using a samurai sword and giving the hostage 'six inches aff the top'. Yup.

El Loco Tacos

Blatant cultural appropriation is a big no-no in 2022, and this sketch, in which the Chewin' the Fat gang dress up as Mexicans with fake moustaches and maracas for a fictional TV ad for 'El Loco Tacos', has it in spades.

Dirtylittleb*****d.com

The internet age was well and truly upon us when Chewin' the Fat was in its pomp, and this sketch, a TV ad for a fictional site called dirtylittleb*****d.com, promotes a selection of successful online entrepreneurs.

Included is 16-year-old internet millionaire Simon, who's made a fortune taking "filthy photos of mother and sister".

The ad concludes with Simon taking an up-skirt photo of his mum. As you do...

Baby ashtray

Karen Dunbar plays a mum sitting on a park bench with her new-born baby attached to her chest.

Desperate for a cigarette, but hindered somewhat by the youngster, Karen's character comes up with an ingenious plan.

Removing chewing gum from her mouth, the mum fixes an empty foil container to the baby's head, then proceeds to spark up her cigarette and flick the ash into the makeshift receptacle. That faint sound you can hear is the Mumsnet servers imploding.

"Rizla!"

Sock puppets speaking a vaguely Gaelic-sounding form of gibberish would likely be enough to cause offence on their own in today's world, but said sock puppets advocating the smoking of cannabis resin with "Rizlaaa" takes this sketch to another level.


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