'Fat ladies' banned at bingo hall

THEY are saucy phrases which have brought a smile to generations of bingo players.When a bingo caller shouts out “two fat ladies'', then all the players know that the number 88 has been pulled out.

Russell Claydon

THEY are saucy phrases which have brought a smile to generations of bingo players.

When a bingo caller shouts out “two fat ladies'', then all the players know that the number 88 has been pulled out. Just the same, when they hear “legs 11'' then they know they can mark off number 11 on their card.

It's been part of the harmless fun of the game for decades.

But now, at one Suffolk bingo hall, those phrases have been banned - because council officials fear they might offend some people.

Bingo caller John Sayers, who is also a councillor, has been advised by officers at Sudbury Town Council that continuing to use the humorous lingo could land them in deep trouble.

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But it's had the opposite effect, with some players voting with their feet and joining a less politically correct game in nearby Great Cornard.

Mr Sayers, a town, district and county councillor for Sudbury, who calls the numbers at the Town Hall every Monday, said: “I was disappointed but I took good advice. I did not want to bring the Town Hall and myself into disrepute.

“There is a chance if you said 'two fat ladies' and there was a bingo call and you look across the hall and saw two fat ladies they could take it personally. Then we do not know how we stand insurance-wise.

“In my personal opinion it seems a bit of nonsense and it takes, to a certain extent, a lot of fun out of it.

“It does speed things up but it is like everything else, it has become too precise. It is a shame.

“A lot of people go to the more unofficial bingo in Great Cornard where they have a comment to make about every number.

“It is quite extraordinary the number of things you have to think twice about now. You have to think before you breathe nowadays.”

Sue Brotherwood, clerk of Sudbury Town Council, said she had made the decision in the after reading in a paper about a man being sued through calling at bingo.

“In particular with John being a councillor we have to be politically correct and whilst any insults were never meant I am afraid nowadays in the litigation society we live in people sometimes take these things personally,” she said. “The last thing we want is for John to be sued because he said two fat ladies, 88, and there just so happened to be two fat ladies there.

“It is very sad because it is part of the fun of bingo but unfortunately in today's society people take it literally.”

Despite the change in calling more than 100 people still keep their eyes down for a full house at the Town Hall every Monday and helped raise �3,000 for charities this year. And they still manage to reference an old favourite when Mr Sayers calls 22 by giving a 'quack, quack' in return.

Famous bingo lingo

The terminology for bingo number is done by the shape of the numbers and rhyming slang. The number 10, for instance, is associated with the Prime Minister's residence and changes according to who holds office. It is currently Gordon's Den. Some of the lingo is less than politically correct!

1. Kelly's eye / At the beginning / Nelson's column

2. One little duck / Me and you

3. You and me / Cup of tea / One Little Flea

4. Knock at the door / B4 (and after)

5. Man alive

6. Tom's tricks / Tom Nix / Chopsticks

7. Lucky seven / God's in heaven

8. One Fat Lady / Golden gate

9. Doctor's orders

10. Gordon's Den

11. Legs eleven

12. One dozen, One and two - a dozen, Monkey's cousin (rhymes with “a dozen”)

13. Unlucky for some, Devil's number, Baker's dozen

14. Valentine's day

15. Rugby team, Young and keen

16. Sweet sixteen / She's lovely / Never been kissed

17. Often been kissed / The age to catch 'em / Dancing Queen

18. Key of the door / Coming of age

19. Goodbye teens

20. Getting plenty / Blind 20

21. Key of the door

22. Two little ducks / All the twos

23. Thee and me / The Lord is my Shepherd

24. Two dozen

25. Duck and dive

26. Bed and breakfast / Half a crown / Pick and mix

27. Little duck with a crutch / Gateway to heaven

28. In a state / Over weight

29. You're doing fine

30. Burlington Bertie / Dirty Gertie / Speed limit / Flirty thirty / Blind 30

31. Get up and run

32. Buckle my Shoe

33. Dirty knees / All the threes / All the feathers / Two little fleas / Sherwood Forest

34. Ask for more

35. Jump and jive

36. Three dozen

37. A flea in heaven

38. Christmas cake

39. Those famous steps

40. Naughty Forty

41. Time for fun

42. That famous street in Manhattan / Whinny the Pooh

43. Down on your knees

44. Droopy drawers / All the fours

45. Halfway house / Halfway there

46. Up to tricks

47. Four and seven

48. Four dozen

49. PC (Police Constable) / Copper / Nick nick

50. Bulls eye / Blind 50 / Half a century

51. Tweak of the thumb

52. Weeks in a year / Danny La Rue

53. Stuck in the tree

54. Clean the floor

55. Snakes alive / All the fives

56. Was she worth it?

57. Heinz varieties

58. Make them wait / Choo choo Thomas

59. Brighton line

60. Three score / Blind 60 / Five dozen

61. Baker's bun

62. Tickety boo / Turn on the screw

63. Tickle me

64. Red raw / The Beatles number

65. Old age pension

66. Clickety click / All the sixes

67. Made in heaven / Argumentative number

68. Saving grace

69. The same both ways / your place or mine / Either way up / Meal for two

70. Three score and ten / Blind 70

71. Bang on the drum

72. A crutch and a duck / Six dozen / Par for the course

73. Crutch and a flea / Queen B

74. Candy store

75. Strive and strive

76. Trombones

77. Sunset strip / All the sevens / Two little crutches

78. Heavens gate

79. One more time

80. Gandhi's breakfast / Blind 80 / Eight and blank

81. Fat lady and a little wee / Stop and run

82. Fat lady with a duck / Straight on through

83. Fat lady with a flea / Time for tea / Ethel's Ear

84. Seven dozen

85. Staying alive

86. Between the sticks

87. Fat lady with a crutch / Torquay in Devon

88. Two fat ladies / All the eights / Wobbly wobbly

89. Nearly there / All but one

90. Top of the shop / Top of the house / Blind 90 / End of the line