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In a British TV show called Ashes to Ashes, about a 1983 cop (broadcast in 2010?) he is describing a suspect who is a comedian. This is the entire dialogue, so I have no more context.

Hardwick used to do the Manchester club circuit. Bit of a draw. Then it all went tits sky a few years back, quit the day job, took up the Scotch and Tizers.

I don't know what "bit of a draw" means, and certainly cannot understand "went tits sky".

Does it mean this comedian got popular and then he failed? Or he started out not so good and went up high, was successful?

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  • What show, when? Without more context, it's going to be hard to get you a definitive answer. My guess is that "bit of a draw" meant the comedian's career had success and failure in approximately equal amounts. My guess about "it all went tits sky" is that the career ended with a 'flop' (a complete or radical failure) or a series of flops.
    – JEL
    Dec 19, 2020 at 6:36
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    "Tits up" is a well known idiom meaning very bad. "Tits sky" sounds like a non native speaker misremembering this idiom.
    – The Photon
    Dec 19, 2020 at 7:17
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    @JEL -We’d need to see the exact wording. You are right that a draw is a tie. But it could also refer to the popularity of the comedian as drawing a crowd. Saying he was a bit of a draw is saying he was quite popular.
    – Jim
    Dec 19, 2020 at 7:36
  • @The photon - it's in a number of sites discussing the script. Dec 19, 2020 at 9:09
  • The writers of British cop dramas can easily invent 'police slang'. especially if there is an ironic edge to the show. Dec 19, 2020 at 9:20

1 Answer 1

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Hardwick used to do the Manchester club circuit. Bit of a draw. Hardwick used to do the Manchester club circuit.

[He was considered to be] an attraction as a minor celebrity.

A draw - an attraction

OED:

draw (n.) 3. Drawing or attractive power or effect; anything having power to draw a crowd. colloquial.

1881 L. Wagner Pantomimes 58 Little to do with the success or legitimate ‘draw’ of the entertainment.

1891 N. Gould Double Event 264 Smirke would have proved a big draw.

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