Scotland footie hero ALLY McCOIST and comedian FRED MAcAULAY are to team up on the couch as chat show hosts. But Will they SCOI‘E? Words: Brian Donaldson Photographs: David Eustace
THIS COULD BE the worst day to be granted entrance into the corridors of power within Fortress lbrox/Blue Heaven/Castle of Doom (delete according to prejudice).
Within the hour. the announcement of Rangers manager Walter Smith’s forthcoming resignation will reach the ears of the club‘s shareholders. The team’s record-breaking goalscorer and resident wag Ally McCoist might not be in any mood to discuss the new chat show he will co-host with comedian Fred MacAulay. titled would you believe. McCoist And MacAulay.
Not a bit of it. Super Ally/Super Swally/ Coisty (delete according to taste) is his ebullient self. Talking about his TV role as captain on A Question Of Sport, he jokes: ‘lf Chris Eubank is in my team I‘m going to stick his cane up his arse.
McCoist appears relieved it is his chat show co-host rather than he. who is plastered up after injury.
‘It happened in the States when I had booked the kids and myself in for tennis lessons.’ says stand—up and Radio Scotland presenter MacAulay. ‘Apparently my trainers weren’t good enough for the courts. so I had to buy new ones. I think I tried to slide for a ball. the trainers stopped but I didn’t and l dislocated the ankle.
‘I went into shock ‘cos the kids were there — I didn’t want them to see the foot hanging off, so I pretended l was OK. The worst thing is the slow, painful realisation that I won‘t be playing in the Davis (‘up this year.‘
Still. his substitute for tennis glory is co- hosting McCoist And MacAulay, a six-part chat show tour of Scotland. The roadshow. as the Beeb would probably call it. will reach locations from Haddo House llall outside Aberdeen. to Perth’s leanlield Swifts Social Club. culminating in an [Edinburgh llogmanany extravaganza in Dalhousie Castle.
So chaps. will it be light and fluffy in a
frivolous kind of way. or will the laughs be tempered by some serious. penetrating and probing political investigations‘.’
‘(iuessf replies MacAulay. ‘I mean. look at the two of us. (‘an't wait to get Jeremy lsaacs on. Give him a right hammering. It all depends on who the guest is. From my experience on the radio. with some people you think this is going to be really good fun. but sometimes they may not be up for it.‘
‘We've conned the chat show producer, now can we con the public?’ Ally McCoist
There is a Perth connection behind the McCoist and MacAulay partnership. although it is admittedly tenuous. Glasgow- based MacAulay was schooled in Perth. while McCoist‘s reputation for prolific goal scoring/shameless poaching from three yards (delete accordingly) began with a stint at St Johnstone. So surely the pairing must have
McGOIST & MAOAULAY
sprouted from uproarious nights in the pub and reminiscing about the old days‘.’ Not quite.
‘We knew each other vaguely through various bars in the West lind.‘ says McCoist. adding: ‘I was quite excited about the whole thing. but apprehensive as well.‘
‘I knew BBC Scotland were quite keen to work with Ally. and I‘d put a couple of proposals forward for them to do something with me.‘ recalls MacAulay. "l‘he producer came up with the bright idea of sticking the two of us together and they‘ve gone with it. The fools.‘
‘We‘ve conned her. now can we con the public." asks .‘vlcC‘oist.
Besides McCoist and .‘V'lacAulay‘s relative inexperience in the chat show arena. the programme‘s creators have the unenviablc task of making this talk show stand out from all the others. McCoist Ami Marvin/(1y will nudge Clive Anderson All Talk into a later slot — the question is can it match Anderson‘s formula of quick-fire humour‘.’
‘A chat show’s one thing but a chat show with two hosts is virtually untried.’ says MacAulay. ‘llopefully. it‘s what we can get out of the guests. With our two different personalities we can get different angles.‘ adds McCoist.
If the pilot show filmed at Glasgow‘s Tron Theatre last April is anything to go by. the duo will rely on raising a laugh out of anybody and anything. Stuart (‘osgrove. Kaye Adams and Barbara Rafferty were willing accomplices in the trial show. which also featured pre-recorded street banter with Joe and Josie Public.
A media career was probably the last thing McCoist dreamed of in the late 70s when he began breaking the hearts of defenders and the female population.
But natural progression of the famed footballer usually involves coaching. punditry. pub running. some form of financially damaging addiction. or a combination of the four. As McCoist has approached the end of his playing career. television has increasingly become his playing field. He is a team captain on A Question (2/191)an and regularly provides TV with his own brand of cheeky post-match analysis.
Then there‘s the thorny matter of management. What if Rangers chairman David Murray was to have a quiet word with McCoist about a future role at the club off the pitch‘.’
‘l‘ve said all along that I don‘t fancy management. but times change and. as you get to the end of your career. you think you want to stay in the game and management's an obvious follow on.’ he confesses.
He admits. though. that he has seen several men broken by the job. ‘The pressure makes people change. Unless you‘re at a club that‘s doing well. it just seems like so much hassle. Even when I stop playing. I’m going to have to stay in the game in some capacity. whether it‘s coaching the kids. or doing TV work or reporting. It‘s basically all I’ve known since leaving school.’
A pause. then the punch line. ‘But you‘ve got to remember. the chairman knows me.‘ Or maybe it just isn‘t a good day to ask.
McCoist And MacAulay is weekly on BBC1 from Thu 20 Nov, 10pm.
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