Most English Remarks of All Time

Boris Johnson once said of his Anglican belief: ‘My faith is a bit like Magic FM in the Chilterns, in that the signal comes and goes.’ A lot of people, including David Cameron who likes to quote it, have been very taken by this most English of sentiments. So I asked for other candidates.

  1. ‘I am just going outside and may be some time.’ – Captain Oates.
  2. ‘I think it’s easing.’ (Of the rain.)
  3. ‘Old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning.’ – George Orwell, ‘England Your England’. Often misquoted as ‘biking’ to Holy Communion, and even, by another very English prime minister, John Major, as ‘bicycling’.
  4. ‘Who you looking at, mate?’ – Nominated by Sean Kenny. ‘Usually as spoken in a pub, in a market town, on a Saturday night. But can be used any time.’
  5. ‘Sorry.’
  6. ‘By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!’ ‘By God, sir, so you have!’ – Lord Uxbridge and the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo.
  7. ‘Why don’t you fall into two very lovely lines?’ – Sergeant Wilson, Dad’s Army.
  8. ‘Well, you know me, I ain’t one to gossip.’ – Dot Cotton, EastEnders.
  9. ‘It looked a tad sticky at Dunkirk.’ – Eddie Cozens, nominated by his grandson Mark Wallace, who had asked, ‘Did you ever think we might lose the war?’
  10. ‘Crashed slow-rolling near the ground. Bad show.’ – Douglas Bader’s logbook, on the accident that cost him his legs.
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