Bingo has a long history of irreverent humour – particularly in the UK. It’s long been a tradition in the country, for example, to heckle the caller and make a little fun of him or her (though it’s usually a he). And although the tradition of the old-fashioned bingo hall peaked in the country during the 1960s, the explosion in online bingo over the last decade has still managed to keep some of British bingo’s traditions alive. OK, we aren’t all sitting in one large smoke-filled room anymore, but we often are metaphorically speaking (though these days there isn’t so much smoke thankfully!). That’s because the best sites manage to retain the magic of traditional British bingo using real callers and great sound effects.
The best sites also have a great social atmosphere whereby players call each other on – “shouting” words of encouragement etc., as a player nears a big win. Foxy Bingo is just one example of the many UK sites that seem to be able to re-create the magic with some of the most traditional calls and irreverent humour; check it out yourself and play free bingo online. Of all the great British bingo calls, it’s a tough call to say which are the best – so here are our top ten choices, with a little background explanation on each…
Fat Lady With a Crunch
At number ten, we could have gone for number ten, but instead went for number 87; a fat lady with a crutch, 87? For this one, you simply have to think about a rotund lady’s figure (the 8_ and her crutch – the 7; simples!
Two Fat Ladies
At number nine, we have the one that everybody seems to know and which is self-explanatory; two fat ladies, 88. What you may not have been aware of, though, is the fact that you’re supposed to respond to the bingo caller saying “wobbly wobbly”.
Danny La Rue
At number eight, we have a good old-fashioned rhyming slang version with Danny La Rue, 52. A more recent alternative is one of Britain’s favourite Indian dishes -Chicken vindaloo, 52. This more modern version is thought to have first been used at a Butlin’s holiday camp during 2003.
Another old-fashioned rhyming slang call is that of Burlington Bertie, number 30. This one goes back in time to the famous music hall song Burlington Bertie. This was written in 1900 but became even more well-known when a parody version, “Burlington Bertie from Bow” was produced in 1915. The term is still used by British bookmakers to describe odds of 100-30 – which is rhyming slang again, of course.
The Brighton Line
At number six, we like Brighton Line 59. The origins of this bingo call are disputed – it could either have been the number of the bus that originally ran from London to Brighton, but some people claim it was the number of the train running from London to Brighton on the South Coast Railway.
Two Little Ducks
Another well-known call is two little ducks, 22. We’re simply back to number shapes here again, as the 2s resemble ducks paddling along side by side. And again, there’s a traditional response from the audience who holler back “quack, quack, quack” for reasons which we hope are pretty obvious!
At number four, we have number ten, David’s Den. This one is pretty straightforward and changes with each Prime Minister in residence at the UK’s most famous street address; Maggie’s Den, Tony’s Den etc and now it is Rishi’s Den!
Duck and a Crutch
At number three we have Duck and a crutch, or Duck with a crutch, number 27. This one is based on the letters’ shapes again and is self-explanatory.
A little more risqué, is Doctor’s Orders number 9. This refers to the nickname serving soldiers gave to the laxative pills they were given during the World War 2.
And finally in the top spot we have our all-time favourite; Gandhi’s Breakfast, number 80. To understand this call, you need to imagine a bird’s eye view of the famous Indian guru sitting cross-legged down to his breakfast plate. Of course, the plate has nothing on it as Gandhi was famous for his fasting – so the humour is appropriately irreverent.
What other bingo calls do you know? Have you ever been to a bingo hall, or played online? Do let us know in the comments below.