The name of Rikki Fulton (1924-2004) will survive as one of Scotland's greatest-ever comedy talents. Brought up in the Dennistoun and Riddrie districts of Glasgow, he survived the Second World War horror of a torpedo attack on his ship before seeking a post-war career in show business.
His big break came in London in the early 1950s as radio presenter of the BBC Showband Show, introducing guests such as his own favourites, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Rosemary Clooney. He was still unknown in his native Scotland but this was remedied in the mid-1950s when he burst on to the scene with the highly popular Five Past Eight variety show, sharing top billing with Alec Findlay and appearing in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Fulton was now a mixture of Scots comic and sophisticated pianist/entertainer, and writer of so much of the material.
By the 1960s he was teaming up with Jack Milroy (1915-2001) as that hilarious pair of "Glesca" layabouts, Francie and Josie, an institution on both stage and television. Rikki and Jack also appeared in the memorable farewell show for the Glasgow Empire Theatre before its demolition in 1963.
A later generation came to appreciate Scotch and Wry, which Fulton established as the unmissable Hogmanay programme on BBC Television for fifteen years. From that came his own unforgettable character, the Rev I M Jolly, the miserable minister who ended up with the Hogmanay slot all to himself. Into this remarkable tapestry, Rikki Fulton spread his versatility as an actor, adapting Molière and appearing as the KGB man in the film Gorky Park.
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