While Operation Yewtree continues to expose the dark underbelly of the British entertainment industry, Ian and Janette Tough, aka The Krankies, spoke to James Naughtie on Radio 4's Today programme about their efforts to lift the lid on the seedy goings on at television centre and beyond. What follows are edited highlights of that interview.
Ian - "We knew what was happening, everybody did, but no-one was prepared to do anything about it. We felt something should be done, but obviously we couldn't just blurt it out - there were some very powerful, very famous people involved. That made us realise that we had to do something subtle, but something on national television - children's television in fact - that would get the message across and maybe allow us to have a career at the end of it. It wasn't easy."
"And that presumably was how Wee Jimmy Krankie was born?"
Ian - "Yes. I started thinking, 'What would be the weirdest, most unnatural thing we could do that could still be classed as children's entertainment?' It had to be something that would look innocent enough to kids, but for everyone else it would just be kind of disturbing - you know, unsettling enough to hint at what was really going on behind the scenes. And one night we were lying in bed and suddenly I had the idea of dressing my wife up as a school boy and pretending to be her dad. Actually that was quite some night, because it was only about ten minutes later that Janette came up with 'fandabidozi' - she just squealed it out."
"Ah yes, the famous catchphrase. Apparently it has some deeper meaning?"
Janette - "Well, everybody knows that 'fanda' means 'fiend' in Czech."
"Of course. And 'bidozi'?"
"You know - 'don't be dozy, he's a fiend - a filthy pervert'. But nobody got it and we couldn't understand why. We even asked the man who was writing the clues for 3-2-1 what he thought and he said that if anything it was too obvious. Millions of viewers over twelve years and not one of them twigged."
"But one can perhaps understand their confusion - surely the thumbs-up that accompanied the phrase would suggest everything was ok, would it not?"
"Not to Iranians. Like Ian said, we had to be subtle."
JN - "Quite unexpectedly, you say, your careers took off and The Krankies became a household name. How do you deal with the knowledge that characters you created, characters you say were specifically designed to expose wrongdoing at the BBC and elsewhere, went on to make you a lot of money?"
Janette - "People should understand, we sacrificed our dignity to help those poor wee bairns. Seriously, being jiggled about on your husband's lap on prime-time television while dressed as Angus Young is not something a middle-aged woman should do without expecting some kind of payback, so personally I don't have a problem with it."
JN - "And of course many people are now finding themselves having to completely re-assess what The Krankies were all about. 'Towering geniuses of satire' is how Chris Morris described you in The Observer. How does that make you feel?"
Ian - "Well, certainly not 'fandabidozi', I can tell you." (Laughter)
Janette - "I think Ian and I will have to go away and invent a new word."
JN - "Thank you very much for your time."