Barry Croir – Comedy Lechend

5 02 2022

Tributes have been pouring in to recently departed comedian and writer Barry Cryer, who wrote all sorts of stuff for everybody and was famous for his appearances on Radio 4’s long running “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue”.

Sadly Cryer’s passing eclipsed the demise the same day of his third cousin from Bernera, almost as successful in his own way on the island comedy scene. 

Barry Croir was born in er…  Croir, in 1936, and began his career as an actor with the Predestination Prayers, Bernera’s  first Orthodox Seceder theatre company. Unfortunately for Barry, the troupe   disbanded soon after he’d joined, in a schism over the permissible height of the leading lady’s bun in a production of ‘My Fair Lady (of the Manse)’

After appearing in smash 50s musical “Gazetto Bongo”, Barry recorded a version of “Purple Paraffin Heater” which became a huge hit in Finsbay but nowhere else. 

Realising he was fleekeen ruppish at acting and singing, Croir decided to turn his hand to writing instead. 

Some of his early efforts included scripts for BBC Bernera’s satirical news review “The (Kirki)Bost Report”, co-written with Grazings Chapman and John Cleesham (future members of Maw T Peatiron’s Flying Cearc-house). 

Barry’s early work with  David (Kirki)Bost and the future Peatirons made his name, and soon his material was in big demand. By the early 60s he found himself supplying material for just about all the comedy greats of BBC Alba and Grampian, including: 

Donnie Corbett

Donnie La Rubhach

Donnie Ma Root

Donnie Dòtaman

The Two Donnies

Tommy Crùbag

Stanley Back-ster

Dick Lemreway

Jimmy Loganair

Bobban Hope

Mike Yarwoodiesexpressparcels

Dave Balallan

Fankie Cowherd

Kenny Everett

Kenny Erisort

Morsgail and No-wise

Spike StickysMilligan

…and many more.

As well as his writing, Barry was a regular fixture on Isles FM’s long running panel show “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Guth”, having appeared every week since the first episode was broadcast in 1872. 

Barry was the show’s top exponent of “Goathill Crescent”, a complex game of logic and strategy based on the stations in the Stornoway Underground (see our very first article from 2008).

We won’t go into the rules of “Goathill Crescent” here, but regular listeners will know that each week the show’s chairman, deceased trad jazz chanterist the late Humphfree Churchcontinuing (RIP) presides over a fractious group playing for high stakes and furiously debating the legalities of the various moves and stratagems.

In an episode the other week, (the last to feature Barry) regular panellists Mac an t-Shrònaich, D*gg*m Da and T*m Br**ke T*ylor (RIP) almost came to blows over a move direct to Goathill Crescent from Newton, which missed out Mailboat despite the fact that it was a Thursday and they were playing in accordance with Oss*an’s 89th sheriff court diagonal bypass rule. Imagine.

But co dhiù, we’ll leave you with one of Barry’s musings on old age….

“I’m so old I don’t buy green buntàta any more”


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