1 9 8 7 (UK)
6 x 60 minute episodes
Tutti Frutti was John Byrne’s drily funny story about a group of washed-up fifties rockers from Glasgow in drainpipe trousers and crepe soles trying in vain to recapture their fleeting moment of success.
Returning home to Glasgow from New York for the funeral of his brother, Big Jazza (“the beast of rock”) who had been killed in a car accident, failed artist Danny McGlone (Robbie Coltrane) stumbled into singer Suzi Kettles (Emma Thompson), an old flame.
Donning drainpipes and crepe soles, he joined her in his late brother’s rock ‘n’ roll band, The Majestics – billed as ‘Scotland’s Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll’.
Maurice Roëves was memorable as unhappy guitarist Vincent Diver, who set himself alight on stage, while Richard Wilson’s performance as the band’s untrustworthy manager Eddie Clockerty led him on to his career-defining role as Victor Meldrew in One Foot In The Grave.
Although the actors sang the Rock & Roll hits in the series, the fact that the songs were originally recorded by Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and others caused problems when the BBC planned to sell the series abroad. The copyright fees would have pushed costs through the roof.
But sales fell through anyway – the thick Scots accents perhaps to blame.
Robbie Coltrane passed away on 14 October 2022, aged 72.
Danny McGlone/Big Jazza McGlone