Scotland's First Minister does comedy sketch for charity

Saturday, November 15, 2008

File photo of Alex Salmond

In a reprise of the dour Presbyterian Minister character the Reverend I.M. Jolly, created by the late comedian Rikki Fulton, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, took part in the BBC's annual charity appeal for Children in Need.

Last year the BBC's appeal raised approximately £37 million, and by 11pm last night the total raised had exceeded £10 million. The BBC hopes to break last year's telethon total and final figures will not be available for some time.

The three minute skit was part of BBC Scotland's presentation of the charity appeal and was met with laughter from the Glasgow studio audience when the pre-recorded message was broadcast. The I.M. Jolly character was well-known in Scotland from having a spot on the Hogmanay (New Year's eve) schedule; in keeping with Fulton's terminally depressed character Salmond opened with the catchprase, "Hullo. It's been a helluva year".

The sketch gave Salmond an opportunity to be self-deprecating as well as poke fun at his predecessor in the office of First Minister, Jack McConnell, "I would like to pay tribute to the previous incumbent of the first ministership, the Right Reverend Jack McConnell. And I would also like to thank him for the present of fish he left me in Bute House ...under the floorboards." As a further jab at McDonald he joked that he and his wife "had a great time too, replacing all the light bulbs he had taken with him."

In reference to the fortunes of his party, the SNP, Salmond described by-election campaigns in Glasgow East and Glenrothes as "evangelical crusades" which, "had gone down well in Glasgow East - but "slightly less well in Glenrothes".

Closing the "Last Call" segment he appealed for donations, "Please dig deep - it's for the weans."