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T-Shirt, minion of T-Bag in the long forgotten (except by me) CITV series T-Bag?
"In return for his help, T-Bag shares her magical powers with her assistant T-Shirt and he serves as her sidekick. T-Shirt (Thomas Shirt) is played by John Hasler throughout the series, starting as a small child in the early series, and growing up on screen until he towered above Georgina Hale by the time the final series ended in 1992. In the early episodes, he worked in a toy shop and was re-acquired by T-Bag in the first episode of each series. In later episodes, however, the toy shop, and references to T-Shirt's supposed normal human life between series, were dropped, and T-Shirt is presented as T-Bag's constant companion, part harassed surrogate son, part household servant...The premise of each series involves various items hidden across time and space with T-Bag and the heroine both trying to find them."
it's cockney rhyming slang for thief.
not the show's writer
the show's writers are ALSO from the north.
but i get the impression that it's one of those rhyming slang expressions which would be really widespread outside of London amongst people of a certain generation.
Like when they asked if his asian equivalent had liver failure or sommat
i was really really sad when i discovered this because at first i just presumed he was calling him Tealeaf for no particular reason.