Crivvens, The Broons have a night on the toon

JINGS, crivvens and help ma Boab – whit on earth would Granpaw mak' of it?

Scotland's favourite family is set to be honoured with a late night, whisky-fuelled, event devoted to the much-loved characters of The Broons comic strip.

More than 70 years of adventures of Maw, Paw, Granpaw Hen, Maggie and co are to be celebrated like never before at a literary festival in Edinburgh.

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The one-off event promises a language masterclass exploring some of their most famous phrases, readings of classic stories and poetry inspired by their ups and downs, and the chance to dress up in classic Broons garb such as aprons, tweed jackets and cloth caps.

The first-ever Broons Appreciation Night will offer the chance to create new storylines and rhyming couplets based on modern-day events like the World Cup and the Budget, while classic phrases from the strip will inspire a new game: Broons Literary Bingo.

Fans will also be will be able to discover the origins of the famous inhabitants of the tenement flat in Glebe Street, in the fictional village of Auchentogle, where their adventures have unfolded since The Broons first appeared in 1936; discuss their warm characterisation of Scottish urban life, and how the family has adapted to changing trends over the years.

Edinburgh Books in the West Port will be transformed for the night – next Saturday – by an exhibition of artwork and Broons memorabilia while the kind of music which would have been played at a Glebe Street ceilidh will provide the soundtrack to the night.

The event is part of the West Port Book Festival, held across ten venues, including second-handbookshops, arts centres and pubs from 24-27 June. Programme director Peggy Hughes said: "The Broons have such huge appeal for a real cross-section of people who remember reading the books from their childhood.

"There is a kind of quintessential Scottishness about them that has stood the test of time after all these years.

"We're not quite sure how it'll all turn out on the night, but hopefully the free drams of whisky and the music inspired by parties the Broons have will put people in the mood for a laugh.

"We will also have the shop decorated with a lot of the old artwork, books, calendars and other ephemera scattered all around. Hopefully it will appeal to any-one with a real love of the Broons."

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Edinburgh-based actress Mary McCusker – who will be leading the entertainment on the night – said: "Like many Scots, the Broons were a big part of my childhood. I think it's possible the cartoon strip was a huge incentive when it came to learning to read.

"I just loved the idea of a night like this when I was approached about it.

"There's a semi-seriousness to some of the issues, such as the trouble trying to find the right partner or the right job, and everyone can relate to at least one of the characters."

The Broons, and their schoolboy companion strip Oor Wullie, were created by the celebrated Manchester-born illus-trator Dudley D Watkins for The Sunday Post newspaper in 1936. When Watkins died in 1969, so great was his reputation that old strips were recycled and no-one replaced him and for seven years.

The Broons have been undergoing a minor resurgence in recent years, thanks to a range of cookery and travel books, a play inspired by the travails of family matriarch Maw, a BBC TV documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor, and a spoof Broons strip in Private Eye.

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