Janey Godley praised for spoof Covid briefings by science leaders

Janey Godley’s spoof broadcasts of Nicola Sturgeon’s daily coronavirus briefings have been praised by a leading group of scientists for helping to tackle the spread of the pandemic in Scotland.
Comedian Janey Godley. - (C) IWC/Banijay - Photographer: Robert Pereia HindComedian Janey Godley. - (C) IWC/Banijay - Photographer: Robert Pereia Hind
Comedian Janey Godley. - (C) IWC/Banijay - Photographer: Robert Pereia Hind

The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy of science and letters, said the voiceovers had been “most effective” in getting the public to prevent the spread of the virus, according to a report in The Herald.

The alternative broadcasts, which have a huge following on social media and became a rare highlight of life in lockdown for many, usually feature swearing and an increasingly exasperated Sturgeon as she deals with both the fallout of the pandemic and questions from journalists.

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They have become known for the catchphrase ‘Frank, Get the Door!’ with each clip ending with the First Minister saying what she would like for her tea.

The RSE said that Ms Godley had helped to reinforce the First Minister’s key public health messages.

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, chief executive of the RSE said: “The importance of clear communication around a public issue like coronavirus cannot be overstated. While the Government’s daily briefing has been a steady, reliable way to provide updates to the public, the repetitive nature of the guidance can cause the impact to be somewhat dampened.

"This is where Janey Godley’s contribution has been its most effective – by adding comedy and relatability to the content, it has encouraged the public to re-engage with the messaging."

Earlier, Sturgeon said the voiceovers were “very funny”.

She said: “Janey Godley is a brilliant comedian and her voiceovers are very funny. They’re very rude in terms of the language they use so sometimes I don’t feel able to re-tweet them, but the really clever thing she’s doing with them... is making people laugh, but… she’s also getting the key messages across very, very powerfully.

The First Minister and Ms Godley also teamed up for a fundraising sketch in aid of STV’s Chidren’s Appeal.

The RSE is an educational charity which has around 1,600 fellows drawn from science & technology, arts, humanities, social science, business and public service.

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