Somewhere in the BBC Radio Scotland archives – or perhaps in a toxic landfill site – are more than thirty editions of Teacake Tales. These two-minute stories, read by Hector Auld, were a feature on Tom Morton’s morning programme back in the day and were designed to lead us into the nine o’clock news bulletins with a smile and hopefully take the edge off all the doom and gloom that was to follow. Hector related his memories of ‘Wee Jessie’ and her unlikely childhood adventures in that nostalgic realm of Scotland just north of Brigadoon. She built spaceships out of old prams and premiered a red carpet ‘director’s cut’ version of her hand-shadow shows. Of course, the whole thing was a spoof of the Teatime Tales broadcast by Scottish Television and Hector Auld was played by my multi-talented production colleague Lamont Howie. (He could also do a great impression of Frank Spencer from Some Mothers do ‘Av ‘Em.) I wrote the weekly tales until Neil MacVicar came along with his Angus Dreichmore stories which were ten times funnier.
Those who attended the Glasgow launch party for The Red Light Zone noticed that Tunnock’s teacakes were there in abundance and there was even a choice of milk or plain chocolate versions. I had collected multiple boxes of these from the factory a few hours before the event and even managed a wee peek through the reception window and into the big bakery floor. Oh the aroma! That’s what heaven must smell like.
The teacakes, however, had no connection with Hector Auld and Wee Jessie. They were donated thanks to a daft joke about product placement I had made in the acknowledgement section of the book. The top executives at Lunicorn Press were quick off the mark and made the call to Uddingston asking for the sweet stuff. They also, I believe, made off with the remaining teacakes at the end of the night.
There was one other Tunnock’s connection, though, and I was reminded of it when I was standing outside the factory…and I mentioned it in this wee bit of video.