. Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer had created the characters for the round "Sound Charades", allowing them to blether nonsense in cod-Scottish accents for a couple of minutes, while leading inexoriably to an
of the title they were supposed to be providing a clue for.
The quarter-hour episodes had a bit more structure to them, but still were basically vehicles for
(Graeme has said that the main change was that they had to decide once and for all who was Hamish [Barry] and who was Dougal [Graeme].) They were given a supporting cast; local landowner the Laird (Jeremy Hardy) and housekeeper Mrs Naughtie (Alison Steadman). Other characters (such as Big Tam at the video shop) were frequently mentioned but rarely appeared, except Mrs McAlistair the postmistress (
- Actually Not a Vampire: "The Vampire of the Glen" suggested that either the Laird was a vampire, or he was in the thrall of his ancestor Count Cardula, who was a vampire. It turned out there were explanations for everything. We even heard some of them.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?
Dougal: Hamish, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The Laird is devious, ruthless and occasionally criminal. However, he's also a complete idiot who's incapable of doing anything, so it evens out.
- As Himself: The Hogmanay episode features Tim Brooke-Taylor and Colin Sell as themselves. As the culmination of a Running Gag throughout the series about Mrs Naughtie's son Jimmy, who went to London to work in radio, the newsreader James Naughtie appeared in the Hogmanay special as himself as well.
- As You Know: Frequent, to the extent of Dougal sometimes becoming a Captain Obvious Mr. Exposition. And of course, mocked and lampshaded every time:
Dougal: Well, here we are on London's busy Oxford Street.
Hamish: Why did you say that?
Dougal: Well, it doesn't do any harm.
- Bait and Switch: Whatever you think is happening, based on what the characters are saying, it isn't. Especially if you think they're heading towards an obvious joke. (Well, sometimes...)
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti:In one episode, they notice the graffiti in the ladies' has much neater handwriting.
Hamish: That'll be because they have both hands free.
Dougal: Och, I never thought of that. Often heard it, but never thought of it.
- Brick Joke: Frequently. In the Hogmanay special, an early gag was the bells (not a typo) freezing off a brass monkey, and subesquently off anything else that had bells. This was then not mentioned for the rest of the episode ... until they waited for the chimes of New Year at the end, and realised that, yes...
- British Brevity: Three series of six fifteen-minute episodes each (except the first, which has four) and two half-hour specials. One can get through the show's entire run in five hours.
- Chain of Corrections: In the Hogmanay Special, when the characters are confused as to who Tim Brooke-Taylor is:
Hamish: Oh, Mr Tim. I've always admired your musicals.
: I think you've got your Tims in a twist. Rice
is the name you're looking for.
Hamish: So you're Anneka?
Tim: No, that's a Jewish holiday.
Tim: No. In any case, Tim Rice has nothing to do with Cats.
Dougal: Oh, is he allergic?
Tim: (shocked) Jesus Christ!
- "Character Name and the Noun" Phrase: "Inverurie Jones and the Thimble of Doom".
- Clip Show: Parodied in "Trapped!" Hamish reminisces about the events of the previous episode, because that's what you do when you're trapped somewhere. Dougal doesn't quite get the concept, becoming confused as to which of him is when halfway through a line from the clip, and then remembering a scene from Friends instead.
- Comically Missing the Point: Frequently by Hamish
- For instance, when Mrs Naughtie goes missing.
Dougal: There's only one place she could be. Hamish, tonight we camp out on the moors!
Hamish: Seems a bit callous when we could be searching for Mrs Naughtie, but whatever you say, old friend.
- Another one, where evidence is piling up that the Laird is a vampire:
Dougal: Hamish, does that coffin-shaped wardrobe remind you of anything?
Hamish: Of course! A coffin-shaped sideboard!
- And another, when the lads are trying to trace a letter.
Mrs. Mc Allister: There's no postage stamp on the envelopes!
Hamish: No postage stamp? That means the letters were delivered by... ...magic!
- Courtroom Antic: Parodied in "The Poison-Pen Letters":
The Laird: You're turning this courtroom into a circus! Get off that trapeze and call a proper witness!
- Department of Redundancy Department: "McCoist of That Ilk" means the same as "McCoist of McCoist", so there's no need for the Laird's name to contain both. Unless he's actually The McCoist of McCoist of McCoist of McCoist.
- Double Entendre: Every third line, just about. For instance, this section from "The Fitness Club", where Dougal has entered an athletics event called the Macathalon:
Are you up for it? Dougal:
Not the night before a Macathalon. Hamish:
But are you having misgivings? Dougal:
Not the night before a Macathalon! Hamish:
Well, I'll be right behind you. Both: Not the night before a Macathalon
But, looky here. Do you think you can pull it off? Dougal
- Dreadful Musician: The Laird is played by Jeremy Hardy. Naturally, the plots are often structured to give him an opportunity to sing, in a sanity-threateningly horrific parody of The Cast Show Off.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Laird, whose full name is eventually revealed as The McCoist of McCoist of That Ilk.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Parodied in the episode "Trapped!":
Hamish: Help! We're trapped between floors! Help!
Dougal: Hamish, you're getting hysterical.
SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
Hamish: Well, don't just stand there applauding, do something!
Dougal: All right!
SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
Dougal: Now, control yourself. Or next time it's the face.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hamish and Dougal are always in each other's company, usually share a house (and sometimes a bed) and are straight unless it's funny to suggest they aren't.
- Hurricane of Puns
- I Read It for the Articles: In "The Fitness Club", the Laird claims to read Big Fit Birds for the gardening tips.
- Locked in a Room: In "Trapped!" Hamish and Dougal need to be rescued from a stuck escalator.
- Mixed Metaphor: Dougal taunts the Laird with "Hah! So you don't like it when the boots are down and the chips are on the other foot!"
- Musical Gag: Once all the Clue regulars have been introduced in the Hogmanay Special, there's a quick burst of "The Shickle Shamble"; Clue's theme song.
- New Year Has Come: Hamish and Dougal's Hogmanay Frolic.
- Noodle Incident: Several. For example:
Hamish: Why don't we do what other people do to while away a wet afternoon?
Dougal: We tried that, but you were sick and my hat blew off.
Hamish: I'm not talking about sailing.
Dougal: Neither was I.
- Not Actually the Ultimate Question: In "The Murder Mystery", the standard gag is utterly subverted:
Dougal: Look up in the sky, Hamish...tell me what you see.
Hamish: I see the full moon and a lot of stars, each one in its proper place...which tells me God is in his heaven, and all's right with the world.
Dougal: ...Hamish, you're an idiot. We are in a tent. It is impossible to see the moon or any of the stars from here.
Hamish: Well...not if somebody had stolen the tent.
Dougal: (laughing) Stolen the tent! That would be the funniest joke in the world, wouldn't it!
- Not What It Looks Like: When Hamish and Dougal are in the lavatory together. Mrs. Naughtie knocks on the door.
Hamish: Don't worry, Mrs. Naughtie, it's not what it seems!
Mrs. Naughtie: ...You mean it isn't a completely innocent misunderstanding?
- Precision F-Strike: Occurs in "Porridge Votes" (via rhyming slang) after a publicity stunt is sabotaged:
Dougal: Oh Hamish, thanks to the other side's dirty tricks, I am Donald Ducked.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The opening music is a pipe version of the Rondo from Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto.
- Real After All: In "The Monster In The Loch", the Laird goes to some effort to replace the log that thousands of gullible tourists mistake for a monster every year. When the log gets eaten by the real monster, he's so angry he shoots it...
- Reveal Shot: Technically Reveal Line, this being radio, but a standard bit.
- Required Spin Off Crossover: The Hogmanay Special features Clue regulars Tim (as himself), Colin (as himself) and Humph (as Lyttelton the butler). And semi-regular Sandi Toksvig as the very tall golfer Sandi Wedge.
- When Jeremy stood in for Graeme as Barry's teammate on one episode of Clue, they naturally did a "Hamish and the Laird" sketch.
- Sesquipedalian Smith: Inverurie Jones in "Inverurie Jones and the Thimble of Doom"
- Something That Begins with "Boring": In ''Trapped!" With a double Brick Joke.
Hamish: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with "P".
Dougal: Hamish, take your head out from between your knees.
Hamish: Give up? It was "panty-hose". I did get dressed in a hurry!
- Servile Snarker: Lyttelton the butler in the Hogmanay special.
- Left the Background Music On: Frequent. "Inverurie Jones And The Thimble Of Doom", for instance, has a Scare Chord that turns out to be the Laird practicing on the organ, and then keeps happening, even when logic suggests the organ can't possibly be present.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The McCoist of McCoist of That Ilk.
- Status Quo Is God: Mentioned and subverted in one episode, when Mrs. Naughtie tries to get her old job back after handing in her resignation.
Mrs. Naughtie: Oh, Mr. Hamish, Mr. Dougal! Can't I go back to being your housekeeper again?
Hamish: Ah, yes, and it'd be just like old times.
Dougal: Yes ... but the position has already been filled. Goodbye!
- Of course, Negative Continuity means she's back to being their housekeeper the following week anyway.
- Straight Man: Dougal. Except when he isn't.
- Stock Ness Monster: In the episode "The Monster In The Loch".
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In a way; earlier episodes of Clue sometimes had very similar characters called Dalziel and Alec (or Angus), before they settled on Hamish and Dougal.
- Take That: Multiple examples, including:
The Laird: But Dougal, have you never played golf?
Dougal: Oh no, your Lairdship. I like women.
- Title Confusion: The announcer calls it You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish and Dougal. The BBC website calls it Hamish And Dougal or Hamish and Dougal: You'll Have Had Your Tea (the Radio 4 Extra Comedy A-Z lists both separately) and the CD covers say either Hamish And Dougal: The hilarous spin-off from I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue or I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue: The Doings of Hamish and Dougal.
- Thrifty Scot: As the phrase "You'll have had your tea?" suggests (the implication is "Welcome to my home, I hope you've already eaten").
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Used, and severely abused.
- Word Salad Lyrics: The song "Whackit on the Dram" from the episode "Fame Idol" is a string of random Scots words and just plain gibberish, concluding "Hi-ho! For the open road!"
There's a whackit on the dram
And a hooley doon the noo
There's a snicket in the drappit
Where the midden slotters coo
There's a wishty washty winky
In the muckle bucker's moo
Hi-ho for the open road!
TRANSLATION (kind of):
There's a walloped on the whisky glass
And a slowly down just now
There's a (gibberish, might possibly mean "notched") in the dropped
Where the dungheap slippery cow
In the big Buckaven resident's mouth
Hi-ho for the open road!