Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - George & Zippy

George & Zippy were star puppets in the long running British TV series Rainbow. Voiced by the late Roy Skelton (who also first brought the menacing voices of the daleks in Dr. Who to life), George was a pink hippo and Zippy was some kind of creature who had a mouth that could be zipped up, Zippy's head resembled a rugby ball, other than that he was one of a kind.

Zippy was loud, brash and irritating. George was a polite voice of reason, often calming Zippy down.

The Rainbow programme actually predates the Rainbow Pride flag by a few years, yet any retrospective viewer could be forgiven for reading a little more into the show than was actually there. George and Zippy could even be the forerunners for Cameron & Mitchell on the US sitcom Modern Family!

So in the world of Cockney rhyming slang how has the names of the most infamous gay couple become used?

"It's getting a bit George & Zippy in here, put a few bob in the meter and put the heating on"

George & Zippy = nippy, meaning cold or parky*

*Parky is a British slang word for cold. a word with no clear origin, possibly a variant of 'parka' which has been in the English language since the 17th century.

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