A Scottish Sitcom, Still Game follows the misadventures of pensioner pals Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, as well as the rest of the community of the fictional Glasgow housing estate of Craiglang. Produced by The Comedy Unit and The BBC, the show was created and written by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who also played Jack and Victor respectivley.Running for six series from 2002 to 2007, Still Game began as a stage play starring Kiernan, Hemphill and Gavin Mitchell (who would later be replaced by Paul Riley; all four would have major roles in the television adaptation) before the characters appeared in comedy sketch series Chewin The Fat (again starring Kiernan and Hemphill). When Chewin' the Fat came to an end in 2002, Still Game was given the go-ahead for its own series.The first, second and third series were originally broadcast in Scotland but all further episodes were broadcast across the UK on BBC2 until the show concluded in 2007 due to disagreements between Kiernan, Hemphill and Paul Riley over control over their production company, Effingee Productions. Receiving very high ratings and critical acclaim, Still Game dealt with a broad array of Black Comedy and poignant moments and is among the most popular Scottish television productions ever made.In October 2013, it was announced that Ford and Kiernan would be returning to make a new series.
Played for laughs in the last episode of Series 4 where Sanjeev Kohli portrays his usual role of Navid and his (supposed) illegitimate son.
Actor Allusion: Paul Young (who plays Shug) is known for fronting several television shows about fishing on the BBC, STV and laterly the Discovery Channel. Shug, of course, is the go-to man when Jack and Victor want to go fishing.
Adaptation Expansion: Originally a play featuring just Jack, Victor and Winston that was turned into a television sketch with those three plus Tam. Expanded into an entire community when it got its own series.
Adapted Out: Winston’s brother in Nevada, his late wife and his son who died in a motorbike accident were never mentioned outside of the original play.
Anti-Hero: Winston is often a Type I, though he sometimes crosses over into Type III areas. He can sometimes be petty and selfish, but balances this out with moments of support and kindness towards his grandson (one of them anyway) and Isa (the latter being all the more admirable given his dislike of her.) The rest of the cast usually hover between Type I and Type II with occasional lapses into Type III, aside from Tam whose selfishness and greed are more in line with Type IV.
Ass Shove: Discussed and subverted by Shug (a veteran of WWII) and Victor.
Shug: Ye would think this (*holds up very small tape) wid be the smallest tape ye could get - not so. During the war I used to carry smaller ones - aye, if ye were crossing a border and got taken in, ye had tae secret them aboot yer person. You know where I kept mine?
Victor: Lemme guess Shug. Up yer arse?
Shug: Naw Victor. That wid be the first place they'd look. I tucked them in ma bell end!
Author Appeal: Repeated references to Canada, where Greg Hemphill was raised.
Jack: Oh aye, very good, aye, except I think my friend and I have more chance of sticking 'wir hand up a bird than you have.
Winston to an extent, as well.
The Cameo: Greg Hemphill's brother appears in a minor speaking role in "Hoaliday".
Canon Discontinuity: The Chewin' the Fat sketches are evidently this, given that there Victor has family in Canada (this becomes Jack as of Still Game, while Victor now has family in South Africa) and both men are shown living in very different locations from where they were in Still Game. The original play is also this, given that many of its elements would later be reused in the show.
Can't Hold His Liquor: Navid gets drunk after a single drink. Justified in that, as a good Muslim, it is the first one he's ever had, and it was a straight whisky downed in one go.
Comic Book Time: Characters generally don't age. For example, Victor revealed that he was 74 in the first series but did not hit 75 until the fifth series. Meanwhile, a ned introduced in the first episode ages from being a little boy into a teenager.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The layout of the Clansman changed considerably when filming moved from a real pub to a specially created set. The Chewin' the Fat sketches also show Jack and Victor looking and acting noticeably differently and living in different locations, while Victor has family in Canada instead of Jack.
Evil Gloating: A rare heroic example, after Winston discovers his home-help (who he doesn't need and who is threatening to expose him) is having a very un-professional affair, he manages to get her to resume being his home-help and to desist from her attempts to get him arrested. He, Jack, and Victor come up with this song:
Navid (*in a portentous voice): What are we going tae dae? It's quite simple. We lure them into the shop, bludgeon them to death, cut off their baws, and hang them from those streetlamps in the morning! That kind o' filth will no be tolerated in Craiglang!
Isa (*looking frightened): Is that whit they'd dae in your country, Navid?
Navid: No ya nosey cow, we live and let live. We certainly don't poke our bastard noses through letterboxes.
The Fun in Funeral: Jack and Victor make a bit of a spectacle of themselves at a funeral the first episode.
Glasgow: Both the setting and where the primary filming locations are.
Good All Along: The loan shark in "Tappin'". Turns out he was made redundant a few weeks before the episode and decided to lend money at reasonable prices to undercut all the bastards charging fortunes.
Heroic BSOD: No wonder Pete the Jakey turned to Alcoholism, keeping the secret of his illegitimate son for years until their reunion at the end of Series 4. That, and he had also been cheated out of any profits he might be due from him invention of the Beefy Bake while working at a pastry bakery.
Jack: I was coming across there about a fortnight ago, right? I had two big bags of messages wi’ me, you know? And one of [the neds] rattled a ba’ right aff the back of my heid! Well I turned ‘round and I says, “Here you ya fucking cunt! I’ll rip your bastard’n jaw aff ye, ya wee fucker!” You want to have heard the mouthful I got …
Identical Stranger: The owner of the bar that Boabie visits in "Dial-A-Bus" looks exactly like him, and there are two regulars who are deadringers for Jack and Victor.
This was dropped after Series 3 when they started broadcasting it outside of Scotland.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Boaby the barman. He can be rather sarcastic to the locals, but he has a large fondness of Isa, and doesn't like people taking advantage of her. Boaby also bought Winston a bottle of whiskey as a leaving present.
No Communities Were Harmed: Craiglang and Parkmill serve as a stand-in for several real-life areas of Glasgow while Finport is an obvious expy for Largs (so obvious in fact that anyone who has ever been there will recognise it immediately).
Victor: My Uncle Bernie … He was killed by a Rhino.
Nosy Neighbor: Isa. And she knows it. She even takes it as a personal insult when someone knows something before her.
Off The Wagon: Pete in the series 6 episode, "Recipe". Ultimatley costs him a fortune.
Production Posse: Effingee Productions has one. Ford Kiernan (Jack), Greg Hemphill (Victor) and Paul Riley (Winston) played the roles in the original play and worked together in Chewin' the Fat. Mark Cox (Tam) joined them in Chewin' the Fat and moved over with them to Still Game. After Still Game, Kiernan and Riley starred together in Dear Green Place, while Gavin Mitchell (Boabie) also joined Kiernan in “Happy Hollidays”.
Prison Rape: Discussed by Victor when Jack thinks about buying into Winston's latest scheme of stealing electricity to get himself through the winter.
Victor: Very well, ye're a grown man, ye've made yer decision. But consider this: Ye're warm noo. But how's it gonnae be when ye're in a wee stauny jail cell, wi' nothing tae warm ye up...but a hot boaby, right up yer arse.
Jack: Victor's right Winston, ye're off yer bloody heid!
Winston: Aye, well, yous twos run aff back tae yer iceboaxes wi' yer principles intact-
Jack: And 'wir arseholes!
Prophecy Twist: The spey wife who predicted that Isa would be hit with a silver car wasn't exactly wrong...
Reality Subtext: The discussion of how tired "Gonnae no dae that" is in the episode Scones - which was the catch phrase from Kiernan and Hemphill's sketch show Chewin' the Fat and used ad naseaum on the playgrounds of Scotland.
Recycled Script: Many of the stories and gags told in the original play were reused in the TV series, including Winston faking a knee problem to get home help, Jack going to Canada and Victor pretending to be ill to get attention from his son.
Shout-Out: Several are done throughout the course of the series. Navid has many - his surname is "Harrid", a reference to the famous London department store "Harrods". But the longest runner is his wife, Mina, whose face is never seen, a reference to Maris Crane of Frasier fame.
The TV series is filled with nods to the original theatre show.
The Teetotaler: Ironically, Pete was one in his younger days. Navid, being a Muslim, often complains about having to be this.
Hell, every character qualifies for this at some point.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Just about every single character bickers with each other, it's practically how they go about their day. Most notably with Jack, Victor, and Winston. They could bicker for Scotland.