William George Rushton (18 August 1937 – 11 December 1996) was an English cartoonist, satirist, comedian, actor, author and performer who co-founded the satirical magazine Private Eye. He was a contemporary, at Shrewsbury School, with people like Richard Ingrams and Peter Cook. He was a mainstay of radio comedy show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue right up until his early death in 1996.
Rushton's TV and radio work included:
Published novels and other writings include:
- Private Eye
- Pigsticking - A Joy For Life
- The Filth Amendment (1981)
- W.G. Grace's Last Case
Tropes present and given the satirical treatment during the life of Willie Rushton, and indeed pig-stuck, include
- "Balls" Gag: Rushton wrote an idiosyncratic overview of sporting pursuits called Pigsticking - A Joy For Life. He notes that he has managed to get halfway through the book without mentioning a certain piece of equipment even once, and chooses to kick off Part Two with a full-page cartoon about Royal Tennis - in which a courtier faces a glowering Henry VIII and announces Balls, my liege! After that it's all balls.
- Innocent Awkward Question: Collected from school by his parents, he brought conversation in the car to a spluttering halt by asking how do you phuck somebody. In his defence, he said that at age seven, he'd only heard the word spoken and didn't know the correct spelling.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: W.G. Grace's Last Case is set a few years after the Martian invasion from The War of the Worlds, and has the real cricketer Grace investigating a murder with the help of Doctor Watson, who is at a loose end after Sherlock Holmes fell down the Reichenbach Falls. Along the way they meet Doctor Jekyll and a whole host of Mister Hydes. .
- Men Can't Keep House: Subverted by Rushton, who wrote a book called Superpig that manages to be both funny and informatively useful at the same time. Superpig is a manual for how a single man, single by either inclination or circumstance, can live his life without reverting to a porcine or caveman state. The book teaches about domestic skills such as cleaning, cooking, and keeping house for the average man, so that any women in his life, perhaps one looking for a House Husband, might be both surprised and pleasantly pleased.
- Moral Guardians: The Filth Amendment is a satirical rebuttal of the philosophy, such as it was, of moral guardian Mary Whitehouse.
- Precision F-Strike: Rushton maintained, in The Filth Amendment, that his biggest problem with the word "phuck" was that only ever having heard it spoken in The '50s, he had no idea how to spell it. His innocent childlike question in the car on his way back from boarding prep school, aged about eight, nearly caused his father to crash.How do you phuck somebody?
- Race Fetish: Rushton's love and devotion for the Japanese women's Olympic volleyball team was a Running Gag going through the whole of Pigsticking. Word of God was that it was only partly in jest.
- Scantron Picture: In his book Pigsticking, Rushton explained that the old British Football Pools were a sort of lottery predicated on the number of drawn matches on any Saturday's football fixtures. Competitors bought "lines" or "permutations" depending on making crosses on a grid next to the fixtures. If any one line of crosses coincided with scoredraws, it won a variable amount of cash from the pool. Effectively, the Pools form was an early form of scantron: at first manually checked at a central office, later on computerisation took the manual labour out of it. note Rushton used to design his permutations so that the crosses on the scantron sheet, read top-to-bottom, spelt out OH SHIT! He visualised the look on the face of the girl checker in Liverpool, later in the week... note