Julian and Sandy were characters on the BBC radio programme Round the Horne in 1965–1968, played respectively by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, with scripts written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman. According to a BBC Radio 4 programme on the characters they were named after the writers Sandy Wilson and Julian Slade.
The characters were originally conceived as two aging Shakespearean "old luvvie" thespians who were doing domestic work (in Kenneth Horne's flat) while waiting for the next acting job. The producer thought the characters were too sad and suggested making them younger "chorus boy" types. Their first appearance was in episode four of the first series, and they proved to be so successful that they appeared in every other episode.
As well as being highly amusing, Julian and Sandy were notable for being two camp homosexual characters in mass entertainment at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, and for the use of Polari in the sketches. The writers and cast thought the characters worked very well as they were not being held up to ridicule or simply there to be the target of a joke: in fact most of the sketches revolved around Kenneth Horne's presumed ignorance being the target of their jokes.
Kenneth Horne would find these two characters usually by looking in a rather risque magazine (which he would insist he bought for innocent reasons). This would lead him, more often than not, to a business in Chelsea starting with the word "bona" (Polari for "good"). He would enter by saying, "Hello, anyone there?", and Julian (Hugh Paddick) would answer, "Ooh hello! I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy!" (Only on their second appearance does it start with Sandy introducing his friend Julian.)
A quote illustrating the use of double entendre from the sketch "Bona Law" (itself a pun on the name of Andrew Bonar Law, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), featuring Julian and Sandy as lawyers:
At other times, Horne's character would pretend not to understand the more risqué meanings in Julian and Sandy's dialogue, although it was always hinted that he was secretly in on the joke. A good example was Horne attempting to use Polari himself:
The sketches also often had Horne drawing out of Julian and Sandy more about their personal lives than Horne was seeking, as the two would misunderstand his meaning. In one sketch, discussing Julian and Sandy's time out travelling the world aboard ship, Sandy reveals Julian was swept overboard in a storm:
A recurring comedic theme of the series was Sandy (Williams) archly disclosing, or drawing out, a hinted-at salacious detail from Julian's (Paddick) past. Apparently Julian had had an "experience up the Acropolis" and a tale about "Bognor" had apparently been divulged by Julian after he had "been at the gin". There would then always be an anguished complaint from Julian of "You traitor - you swore you'd never tell!", before Sandy would prompt him to explain all by imploring him to "Go on - purge yourself!" On a rare occasion Julian turned the tables on Sandy, and after bellowing the "Purge yourself!" line, he then ad-libbed "I've been dying to say that for years!"
Ad-libs were a prominent part of the sketch, and were one of the reasons for how well the humour worked, as both Paddick and Williams were accomplished and very familiar with Polari in real life conversation. Williams, in particular, would add many lines of his own ("Lau your luppers on the strillers bona" (play the piano) being his most extreme use of obscure Polari).
Another catchphrase often used by both characters was "That's your actual French", although Barry Took acknowledged that Peter Cook had claimed to be the first to use "your actual ...." as a format phrase.
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