If there's one phrase that's indelibly associated with Stanley Unwin, it's 'deep joy'. It sort of encapsulates the whole ethos of Unwinese - seemingly unrelated twists on the language that inevitably convey a wider, somehow more satisfying meaning.


But oddly, Stanley wasn't the first to coin it.


He was working at Plessey's and he was having trouble with a prototype oscilloscope when his boss Douglas Jones, a Welshman resplendent in Harris Tweed Plus Fours and a 'Tiger Tim' lapel badge, came by to see whether he'd got it sorted. "Any joy?" he'd ask. "No joy," Stanley replied.


When Stanley finally did manage to fix it, up came Douglas again:

"Any joy, Stanley?"

"Joy!" he announced.

"Deep joy!" his boss replied.


And so a defining phrase was born and Stanley gratefully took it on board. But how did he develop the rest of his strange but strangely comprehensible lexicon?


He himself put it down to the moment his mother tripped over while walking home from her job as a cook at Bow Road Police Section House. She told Stanley that she'd 'falolloped' in front of a tram and grazed her 'kneeclappers'.


It happened at a time when Stanley was learning German and French - and brushing up on his English - at Regent Street Polytechnic in the late Twenties. He'd always had a love of languages and was a fan of James Joyce, Charles Dickens and great speakers like Isaiah Berlin.


The term 'Unwinese' itself was actually first applied by Gerald Nethercot who at the time (1950-ish) was the Publicity Officer for the BBC Midlands Region. It quickly fell into common usage to describe Stan's 'gobbledegook' (itself a word that is a frequently handy but altogether lazy and inaccurate description) and remains the accepted shorthand for the man's talk to this day.


Even before he branched into entertainment, Unwinese served Stanley well on a number of occasions. During his time with BBC Midlands, he was dispatched to the British Industries Trade Fair in Birmingham to catch an interview with a VIP who was being flown in by helicopter to a nearby airfield. Unfortunately, Stanley's progress was halted by an over zealous jobsworth who wouldn't let him in, even when the magic words 'BBC' were uttered. Not one to miss a story, Stanley stood firm: "All responsible Commissionaires realise the VIP Repeal and this whole situation depends on a world tradey. Especially in Birmingold."


"You should have said so the first time," the guard said as he opened the gate.


Unwinese was developed further to quench the Unwin children's thirst for fairy tales, which invariably started with "Once a polly tighto..." and carried on in the 'twisty and corruptit of the basic English twenty-fido' until one of them told him to 'tell it properly'.


Today, the mantle of Unwinese continues to be taken up by comedians like Jim Davidson, Peter Goodright and (especially) Freddie Starr, all of whom can do it more or less off the cuff. Sometimes it doesn't quite work, as anyone who ever caught Michael Barrymore's 'hilarious' attempt when Stanley appeared on his chat show will remember (Barrymore seemed to think it was sufficient to add 'bold' onto the back of every third word. Hmmm). 


And finally, a special mention to one person who's making damned sure it still does work and that's John Percival who can do it at the drop of a hat and remains a worthy torch bearer for all things Unwinesian.