Francie and Josie hitting the town hall

Francie and Josie - Liam Dolan and Johnny Mac - return to FTH on October 4
Francie and Josie - Liam Dolan and Johnny Mac - return to FTH on October 4

He was the dour-faced, wry reverend who became an essential New Year TV tradition when the late comedian Rikki Fulton donned his minister’s garb, settled back into his leather armchair and delivered a highly inappropriate, but hilarious, sermon.

Just the doleful utterance of the word “hullo” by the Rev I.M. Jolly sparked laughter from the audience.

The Rev. Jolly made his last appearance on BBC for The Final Last Call on December 31, 1999, just before the dawn of the new millennium, in a short but memorable skit.

But now the Rev I. M. Jolly is set to preach again at Falkirk Town Hall on October 4 after successful negotiations with the charity which inherited the rights to Rikki Fulton’s creative catalogue after he died in 2004, aged 79, after a two-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

The character’s theatrical comeback is spearheaded by Scottish entertainers Johnny Mac and Liam Dolan who have, for the past four years, taken their Francie and Josie tribute shows all over Scotland.

After debuting his take on Jolly in February, Johnny Mac is donning his minister’s dog-caller and impersonating Jolly as part of the duo’s new Francie and Josie: A Tribute show which comes to Falkirk Town Hall in October.

The move for a Jolly comeback was approved by bosses at the Scottish SPCA animal welfare charity who now own the creative rights to Rikki Fulton’s character.

Johnny said: “We’re so looking forward to meeting our Falkirk audience again! It’s all very exciting.

“We were absolutely delighted and hugely appreciated that the charity approved our request to perform the Rev. Jolly character and material in public again.

“I want to do Rikki’s legacy proud when I settle into the iconic armchair and begin the sermon.”

Liam added: “The appearance of the Rev. Jolly adds a great new dimension to our Francie and Josie show and we’re confident that fans of Scotch and Wry and Last Call will thoroughly enjoy the melancholic minister’s comeback.”

n Francie and Josie: A Tribute is at FTH on October 4 at 7.30pm.