Baker’s Dozen, Duck and Dive: Anita Mangan illustrates the Bingo Lingo

Bingo Book by Anita Mangan with brother, actor Stephen Mangan

Bingo Book by Anita Mangan with brother, actor Stephen Mangan - Credit: Archant

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning behind those quirky bingo calls, then Muswell Hill illustrator Anita Mangan’s witty guide will enlighten you

There’s a whiff of the 50s seaside postcard to Anita Mangan’s colourful illustrations of Bingo calls like Two Fat Ladies and Legs II.

According to Mangan’s book Bingo Lingo (Quadrille £9.99) Kelly’s Eye, the call for No1 refers to infamous Australian gangster Ned Kelly, while Brighton Line for 49 was the South Coast Railway that transported holidaymakers between the capital and the coast and Duck and Dive is Cockney rhyming slang for No 5.

“A lot of the background is really interesting,” says the graphic designer who usually illustrates cookbooks.

“PC49 was from an 40s radio sitcom with Police Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby. His catchphrase ‘oh my Sunday helmet’ made me laugh, so I put it in.

“Doctors Orders No 9 was a laxative pill issued by the Army and Navy, supposedly the last time you could make an appointment was at 9pm.”

Anita was introduced to the game at her local church hall in Enfield where her parents’ helped run a fundraiser for the Scouts.

Most Read

“They were Bangers Beans and Bingo nights and I loved them,” she says.

“The book is very nostalgic, it’s a nostalgic game, part of our national fabric and the illustrations are very personal as I’ve drawn things that relate to my life. For Baker’s Dozen, 13. I’ve drawn Tom Baker who was my Dr Who. And 4 and 7, 47 is a boring call so I’ve customised it with bus routes that mean something to me – 4 is the route to Carleton Road in Tufnell Park where my aunties and grandparents lived when they came over from Ireland.”

Anita’s brother, Episodes and Green Wing actor Stephen Mangan lives in Camden Town and has loyally tweeted his 500,000 followers about the book.

“It’s beautifully put together,” he says. “I’m incredibly proud of Anita. She’s so creative and amusing, one of the most fun people I know. Every page makes me smile. Anita and I are very close. We are both lucky to have found things we love doing.”

The mum-of-two is delighted the game is enjoying a resurgence with young people dressing up for bingo and cabaret nights: “I organised a bingo night locally for friends and the interest was incredible. People came along I hadn’t even invited!”