Janette Tough

7th December 2012 at 00:00
A kind primary teacher and secondary music teacher were fan dabi dozi, according to one half of The Krankies

There were only four teachers at my primary school; Mrs Wilson was my first teacher. I was always small, even at primary, and I remember the chairs were a bit big for me and my feet used to dangle. It was a small village school and life was simple.

Mrs Wilson was always nice. I was an only child, so school was important to me in terms of friendships. There were only about 14 of us to a class but in secondary it was up into the 40s. It didn't bother me, though - you just progressed.

I remember we had to sit in alphabetical order at secondary, so you were in the same seat in every class. My surname at that time was Anderson, which meant I was always in the back row which became a bit of a drag because I was tiny. I used to think: "How am I going to see the blackboard from here?"

The music teacher's name was Dorothy Louden. If there was a school concert I was always in it because I'd gone to dancing lessons. I used to go to the Georgie Gray School of Dance, held in a church hall in Kirkintilloch on a Saturday morning. That give me my stage confidence and rhythm, but Dorothy Louden was also quite influential with me.

I didn't do any exams in music at school. We just used to go in and sing songs with her. I was also in the Girl Guides where I got a "highly commended" for my entertainers badge. That in a way was what made me think about show business.

There are not a lot of jobs about that you can do if you're 4ft 6in. Shorthand, typing, bookkeeping were all quite important for the likes of me. I mean, I wasn't going to be an air hostess, was I?

I did bookkeeping at secondary with a teacher called Miss Hall. I couldn't reach the typewriter but instead of giving me a cushion, she told me to take a drawer out of the desk, turn it upside down and sit on that. The backs of my legs got skelfs on them from the rubbing. In the end she gave me a yellow duster to put over the thing, but one day the drawer slipped off the chair, landed on the floor and I went through it and she gave me a row. But I got my own back when I went into the store cupboard and caught her eating a Fry's Chocolate Cream. She had to give me a bit. I really did enjoy that.

I got good marks at bookkeeping but now Ian, my husband, does all that - that might be Miss Hall's fault.

I think I was easy-going at school. I don't think I made trouble. Of course they used to give you the belt then. If I got it, it was always for talking, not for anything bad like not doing my homework. They were really quite cruel in those days; you could get the belt for nothing.

I think I was popular. The boys used to call me "the giant". If they did that today they would probably think it was bullying, but it was not done in a bad way and it never bothered me. If we were walking home with heavy bags full of books, the big ones would say: "I'll take your bag, you're too little".

I keep in touch with certain people from school. The girl who was my bridesmaid in 1969 still lives in Kilsyth and I see her every Christmas when we go to Glasgow to do the panto.

The Krankies will be appearing with John Barrowman this Christmas in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Glasgow SECC Clyde Auditorium, 15 December- 6 January. Tel: 08443 954000 or go to www.ticketsoup.com. Janette Tough was talking to Emma Seith.


Born: Queenzieburn, Kilsyth, 1947

Education: Chapelgreen Primary in Queenzieburn and Kilsyth Academy in North Lanarkshire

Career: Office worker and performer.

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