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How do I feel? Pwoud, very pwoud…Only An Excuse funnyman on 40 years in showbiz

© Comedy UnitOnly An Excuse?
Only An Excuse?

It may have been part of the Hogmanay TV schedules since 1993, but Only An Excuse? star Jonathan Watson says he never takes the programme for granted.

The comedy sketch show lampooning the past 12 months of Scottish football – and Scottish life in general – has been part of our New Year countdown for 27 years.

“Some people assume we’ll just do it every year,” said Jonathan, whose most memorable impressions include Sir Alex Ferguson and Frank McAvennie.

“But we don’t find out until the commission comes though at Easter time if it’s going to go ahead or not. That makes sure we never rest on our laurels.

“It’s a privilege to be part of people’s Hogmanay and everyone involved is proud of it. As we do every year, we’ve tried to make it the strongest we can. There’s never a shortage of issues.”

There has been some big-name transfers to the Only An Excuse? team this year, with Jonathan’s Two Doors Down co-stars Alex Norton and Joy McAvoy joining the side.

They feature in a Line Of Duty sketch.

Jonathan explained: “I was only keen on doing it if there was a really strong hook or we could play it in a novel way.

“Having Alex in the cast and with him being up for reprising his Taggart role gave us the perfect opportunity. I think it’s the first time Alex has been in a send-up of Taggart and he was really up for it.”

Only An Exuse? brings to an end a busy 12 months for Jonathan, marking his 40th year in the business.

His latest hit show is Two Doors Down, which began life as a one-off Hogmanay special.

“It has been a huge network success,” he continued. “We’re filming the fifth series next year. People talk about that Hogmanay episode as being the pilot, but it was only ever intended as a one-off.

“For whatever reason, there was a space in the schedule at 9pm on New Year’s Eve. I got a phone call asking me to go down to London to meet everyone, and the next day I was offered the job.

“It was all put together very quickly. We filmed the hour-long show in 10 days, in a house in Paisley, working from 8am-8pm.

“I don’t think anyone could believe the response it received, and we got the series off the back of that.”

Jonathan is also in panto over the festive season, starring alongside Elaine C Smith at the King’s in Glasgow until January 5.

“The last panto I did with Elaine at the King’s was about 21 years ago,” he smiled.

“I was able to do the Armadillo last year and absolutely loved it, so when they asked me to come to the King’s, I rejigged some dates, and I’m really enjoying it.”


Only An Excuse?, BBC1, Hogmanay, 11pm