The daughter of legendary comic Chic Murray, Annabel Meredith has shown her support for two bronze figures of Billy Connolly and idol Chic to be displayed in Glasgow.
“My dad would have been honoured, absolutely delighted and, most importantly, humbled,” said Annabel. “He loved Glasgow and Edinburgh, and his native Greenock, where he grew up. All three places really meant something to him.
“But I think it’s very important these statues are situated in Glasgow. He was a hero to Billy, and both are very much a part of the fabric and humour of the city.”
It would be fitting for the statues of both Chic Murray and Billy Connolly to be together due to their comedy connection and the strong friendship bond they held. A friendship that began when The Big Yin asked to meet his comic hero.
In a biography of The Tall Droll, Connolly recalled: “I first came across Chic when I was a teenager in Glasgow. I’d heard him from time to time on the radio, although his appearances were quite rare – broadcasters seemed to be a bit wary of him.
“He wasn’t like the others. His style, timing, subject matter, appearance, and demeanour was different. He yodels, for God’s sake! He walked alone.
“I remember sitting in a friend’s house watching Chic on television. It was one of the very few times I actually fell down with laughter.
“As the years rolled by, I became a comedian myself, but saw little of Chic as we worked in different fields. I was lucky enough to regard myself as his friend, although he never stopped being my hero.
“For a man who walked alone, my hero sure attracted a crowd.
The statues were commissioned over a decade ago by businessman Colin Beattie, who wants them placed at Oran Mor, his bar and theatre venue in Glasgow’s west end.
However, the statues have been left in a warehouse for several years after the city council rejected the proposal of the statues being erected in Colin Beattie’s desired location.
But now Chic Murray’s son and daughter, Annabel and Douglas have called for the issue to be resolved and share the statues with the public. “Colin is trying to have these figures of Chic and Billy made available for ordinary people to enjoy,” she said. “He just wants to celebrate two brilliant comedians. It was his idea to get them commissioned and he paid for them.
“If this statue is erected, I think it will be quite overwhelming to see my dad and Billy together on the streets of the city they loved and which loved them back. I’d feel extremely proud and would love it for Billy too. I adore him. I can’t say any more. He’s been a wonderful friend to me over the years.”
Annabel also supports the location of Oran Mor as proposed by Colin Beattie.
“Oran Mor is a five-minute stroll from where my dad used to live in Cecil Street,” she said. “Byres Road was also his old stomping ground, and he was well known around that area. Directly opposite you have the Botanic Gardens, where I often used to sit with him when I visited. He’d take me into the Botanics because he loved it there. He’d sit there for hours.
“It’s also a short walk from where the old BBC Club used to be. My dad and Billy were once chucked out of the place because they were laughing too much.”
Billy is also close to Annabel after he offered to give her away at her wedding due to her father passing away just months before the date.
She said: “Dad and I were great fans of Fats Waller, the American jazz pianist, so Billy walked me into the church to his song, My Very Good Friend The Milkman.
“We did a soft shoe shuffle down the aisle.”
A representative of Glasgow City Council Labour group has recently spoke out on the proposals after recent barrage of revived interest. Malcolm Cunning said: “It’s clear there’s considerable support to find some way of siting this statue in a public place. I have written to the head of planning seeking assurance that the matter will be actively pursued in a positive way.”
The statues creators Colin Beattie said: “I’ve been inundated with messages of support since the articles in The Sunday Post. We are now actively seeking to submit a new application and find a home for Billy and Chic. All of this could be done with no public money and, in these times, I think that is important.”
Glasgow City Council said: “Any future application that may be submitted would be considered on its merits.
“We will be writing to Mr Beattie to offer him the opportunity to begin discussions. We are very supportive of the idea of placing this piece of art on display.”
It’s not a stand-offish sculpture and fans will be able to sit with Billy and Chic. It’s of the people
Sculptor David Annand says his portrayal of Billy Connolly and Chic Murray has been designed to include their fans.
The sculpture depicts both Chic and Billy on a seesaw with the latter sitting down on one end looking up towards his idol.
David said: “It won’t be a stand-offish sculpture and people will be able to sit on it, even put scarves on Chic and Billy. I want it to be of the people.”
David supports the campaign to see the Chic and Billy sculptures outside the Oran Mor venue.
“It’s an iconic spot and perfect for them both.”