Comfortable and Furious

The History Of Bingo Calls

We’re all familiar with the ‘two fat ladies’, the ‘one little duck’ and the ‘dancing queen’, aren’t we? Of course, we’re referring to Bingo calls! Bingo is a big part of British culture, and we’re sure that most of you have played it – whether that was way back when you were in school, at a Bingo hall, or on an online Bingo site. However, do you know the history of the charming calls that are a vital aspect of the loved Bingo game?

In this article we will look at the influences throughout history that inspired the Bingo calls that we still use today! Though the calls are ever-evolving, and some halls will incorporate a few modern twists, the classic calls can still be heard in land-based establishments and online Bingo sites alike. 

A military influence

Though the demographic of Bingo today shows that the majority of players are female, in the First World War, the game was a popular pastime among the soldiers of the Royal Navy and British Army. The game was referred to as ‘Tombola’ by the Navy, and ‘House’ or ‘Housey’ by the Army. The game was a form of escape from the atrocities that the men experienced on a day-to-day basis in the trenches. 

Bingo provided the soldiers with a form of distraction and a means to socialise, meaning the soldiers themselves also provided the game with some of its fundamental calls. For example, number ’62 – Waterloo’ is a reference to the bus fare that the Navy paid on trips from Portsmouth to Waterloo station. Following along these lines, number ’59 – Brighton line’ pays homage to the 59-bus route from London to Brighton, which was the chosen transport for the troop’s trip to the coast. 

Pop culture

Bingo calls are crowd pleasers, and much of the reason for this is because they contain references that are commonly known and derived from popular culture. Take ’42 – Winnie the Pooh’, for example, which references the classic Disney character. Bingo calls take inspiration from all areas of popular culture, meaning no matter your age, there’s probably some in there that you’ll recognise!

Number ’52 – Danny La Rue’, is a tribute to the popular drag entertainer. One of the best-known calls, ’17 – Dancing Queen’ is taken from the hit Abba song, which contains the lyric: “You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen“. Though some calls might be lost on their younger players, we’re sure you’ll all know that one!

New Bingo calls 

Since Bingo calls are created by its players and inspired by popular trends, it’s no wonder that they continue to evolve today. As Bingo has moved into the technological age and can be played online on various casino gaming sites, it has appealed to younger players, who felt that it was time to update the Bingo calling sheet. 

This means that in a modern game of Bingo, you may find some classic calls, such as ’88 – two fat ladies’, replaced by ‘Wills and Kate’, a tribute to the royal couple — or with a saucier alternative which has emerged, ’88 – Tinder Date’. 

If you’re playing your own game of Bingo with friends, why not have a go at creating your own Bingo calls, based on your inside jokes and shared interests! It’s sure to get everyone listening and laughing! 



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