Jack: “Craiglang: Developing for the future!”
Victor: “Craiglang: Modernity beckons!”
Jack: “Craiglang: Tomorrow’s already here!”
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.
- 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.
- Age-Appropriate Angst: Pensioner problems abound.
- The Alcoholic: Pete The Jakey
- The Alleged Car: The removal van in “Flittin”.
- A MacGuffin Full of Money: In the play, Victor has a hoover filled with £7000 in £20 notes.
- 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.
- Artistic License – Biology: Winston manages to smoke his leg off.
- Artistic License – Geography: It is not possible to pass through any of Glasgow's housing estates if travelling downstream on the River Kelvin from Kelvingrove Park
- Ascended Extra: Everyone mentioned in the original play but who did not actually appear.
- Asian Store-Owner: Navid and Meena, but that's as far as the stereotypes go.
- 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.
- Badass Moustache: Jack and Victor.
- Bawhair As A Unit of Measure
- Berserk Button: Vince the snack van driver and uncleanliness; Davie the bus driver and donuts.
- Bilingual Bonus: Sort of. Meena Harrid speaks only in Hindi, but is subtitled - thus, the audience know what she's really saying, while the rest of the characters are in the dark.
- Black Comedy
- Black Widow: The residents of Craiglang suspect Wullie Reid's girlfriend of being this.
- Bond One-Liner: Winston knocks out two police-impersonating thieves with a cueball in a sock. He distracts them by chatting:
"Aye, see at my age you never know if you're going to get smacked across the heid...(*thunk)...and then ye'd be snookered!"
- The Boxing Episode: The first episode features a B-plot about Winston’s grandson, Joe, preparing for a boxing match. He loses. Badly.
- Brand X: "Spire" stores briefly buy out Navid's shop.
- Brawn Hilda: Peggy.
- British Accents: And very authentically Glaswegian, at that.
- British Brevity: Forty-four episodes from six series, a Christmas Special (British form) and two Hogmanay specials.
- British English: A lot. Some American, Canadian and even English viewers need subtitles.
- Butt Monkey: Boaby The Barman, who can never get one up on Jack and Victor (or anyone else).
Boaby: (as Jack and Victor walk into the Clansman) Hey! Look! It's Lambert and Butler!
Jack: Shut it Boaby. You're the only fag in here
: We'll accept that as long as you go Catwoman
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.
- Captain Obvious: From the play:
Winston: I’ll go out onto the landing there, right? And I’ll press the button for the lift, you see. And if it comes up, it’s working. And if it doesn’t it’s no’, ya fucking pair of bammy bastards!
- Catch Phrase: "Two pints, prick" (Jack and Victor to Boaby)
- Characterization Marches On: In the theatre version Jack was a much bigger Jerkass and Victor was more of The Scrooge. Their friendship wasn’t also portrayed as being quite as warm, nor were they really depicted as Heterosexual Life-Partners.
- Christmas Episode: In 2005, 2006 and a Christmas/Hogmanay double in 2007.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Averted on television but dropped liberally (and almost jarringly so) on stage.
- 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.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Victor: Jesus, Jack; there’s a lassie on this tinnote . It’ll be well past its sell-by.
Jack: Mind you, they didn’t put sell-by dates on them way back then.
Victor: So it’ll be okay then?
Jack: Oh aye.
- Comically Small Bribe: Jack and Victor try to bribe a housing officer with two £1 coins and a fiver.
- Continuity Nod: The events of the 2006 Christmas Episode are mentioned in the 2007 Hogmanay special.
- The Couch: The theatre version was set up like this.
- Crapsack World: Played for Laughs in Craiglang.
- Except for brief instances were it isn't, and the show shows how unpleasant living in somewhere as miserable and decrepit as Craiglang really is.
- Domestic Abuse: Peggy on Charlie. Played for Laughs.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Peggy's beating of her husband is always played for laughs, which is why she is one of the most despised characters by the fandom.
- During the War: Shug likes to discuss his wartime antics.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Isa and Tam were mentioned in the original theatre version.
- 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.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Loads, and a slightly darker take on it all.
- Enfant Terrible: The Neds.
- Establishing Character Moment: Tam’s first scene has him mooch a free cigarette and a pint from some punters in the Clansman.
- 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:
Jack: This is the ballad of Mrs Begg,
Victor: Who doubted Winston's dodgy leg,
Winston: Now she waits on me round the clock.
All: Because she got fond of Auld! Bert's! Cock!
- The Faceless: Meena, Navid's wife.
- Fat Bastard: Peggy was initially this.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Jack's TV guide in "Hard Nuts" lists various parody TV shows, such as A Sporty Questionnote , River Townnote , Time Lords, Stop The Week, Zimmerdale, Darnation Street, A Touch Of Rain, Bill And Gracie and even gives a Shout-Out to Chewin' the Fat.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Boabie.
- The Fundamentalist: Navid (a Pakistani Muslim) delightfully subverts this when Jack and Victor are Mistaken for Gay:
Isa: What are we going tae dae?
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.
- The Gambling Addict: Winston.
- 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.
- Grumpy Old Men
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Winston.
- 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.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jack and Victor, they were even Mistaken for Gay in one episode.
- As Himself: John McCririck, Michelle McManus, Jim Watt and Lorraine Kelly appear as themselves.
- Humiliation Conga: Pretty much the whole life of Pete the Jakey.
- Hypocritical Humor: From the play:
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.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episode titles are written in Glaswegian slang/accents.
- 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.
- Large Ham: Robbie Coltrane in a guest role.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Winston pretends to have a bad leg to get a home helper to do his housework. He later has to get his leg amputated.
- Lighter and Softer: Although very much a Black Comedy, the TV series wasn’t quite as dark in tone as the original play.
- Local Hangout: The Clansman, Navid’s shop and occasionally the bookies.
- My Local: The Clansman which was renamed Jenny's at the end of Series 4.
- Status Quo Is God: The characters continue to refer to it as The Clansman nevertheless.
- Mood Whiplash: Regularly invoked and Played for Laughs.
- The Moving Experience: The very first episode deals with Jack moving into Osprey Heights, next door to Victor.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted when the news of Harry's death reaches the clansman. Winston, Jack, Victor, and Tam are unanimous in their assessment of the departed:
Jack: Aye, I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but he was a prick.
- 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).
- Noodle Incident:
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.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When it appears Winston has lost almost 30 grand in the bookie's, Tam, the biggest tight-arse in all of Scotland, offers to buy him a pint.
- Another one involving Tam is in the final episode of series 6 When Jack is in the hospital having surgery. Tam not only puts money forward for everyone in the taverns drinks, when Boaby tells him to put his money away, he flatly refuses to.
- 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...
- Punny Name/Fail O'Suckyname: "Boaby" which is a glaswegian variation of "Bobby" is also a scottish slang term for penis
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jack's Red to Victor's blue.
- Retcon: In "Big Yin" it's implied that Navid arrived in Craiglang less thant 15 years ago, but was later revealed to have first met the rest of the cast in 1975.
- Revival: Brought back for a stage run in 2014, with rumours of a potential TV series return based on it's success.
- Scotland: Well, maybe not very "Bonnie"...
- Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: Inverted, going from stage to screen.
- Secret Identity: When Boabie is away, Winston pretends to be "Harvie Gallagher" and the owner of the Clansman to trick the temp into giving out free drink.
- Series Continuity Error: In the first episode, Victor’s son is referred to as Jamie. From the second episode onwards, he is called John.
- The Stinger: Every episode ends with a brief gag or wrap-up.
- Stuff Blowing Up: “Flittin” ends with a removal van exploding. With all of Jack’s possessions inside.* The Scrooge: Tam.
- 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.
- Theme Tune: Two. The original TV version was changed for the DVD release due to copyright reasons.
- There Is Only One Bed: The first episode ends with Jack sharing Victor’s bed.
- A Simple Plan: Most of the characters' schemes.
- Take That: Numerous. A notable one in the whiskey episode:
Andy the Tour Guide
: And this, is a very special bottle, brewed specially for Clark Gable
, who used to order crateloads of the stuffed from us...(*long explanation)
Jack and Victor: (*trying to look sophisticated) Oh aye, aye, very good aye, uhuh, wonderful actor
Victor: Aye, I know, wi' the stupit ears...arsehole.
Jack: Like a taxi wi' it's dairs stuck open...prick.
- The Tag: Every episode.
- Timeshifted Actor: The whole premise of the show is a bunch of 30 and 40 year olds playing 70 and 80 year olds
- Truth in Television: Alcoholism, old age isolation, poverty and violence are all very much a reality in Glasgow.
- Third Line, Some Waiting: The usual style of plotting.
- True Art: Ruthlessly mocked In-Universe in the episode where the Clansman's patrons are trying to select a film to watch.
Victor: Oh, a film, that'll make a nice change.
Winston: Aye, but no The Godfather but. "I knew it was you Freddo" Bang! Boom! Deid! Shite!
Victor: Naw! Big stupit rubber shark. Garbage!
Jack: If ye want tae see a bunch of dafties escapin' frae a loony bin come back here at closing time.
(*whole Clansman cheers in approval)
- Unintentional Period Piece: Smoking in bars, cheap alcohol and references to Tony Blair being the current Prime Minister create this effect.
- Violent Glaswegian: The Neds
- 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.
- Wedding Day: Tam and Frances.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Winston's grandson, Joe, appeared in the first episode and after that he was never seen or mentioned again.
- Pete's long-lost son is never seen or mentioned again after his single appearance in series four.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The 2006 Hogmany special is mainly a flashback to the first Hogmany party held at Osprey Heights, way back in 1975.
- Wretched Hive: Glasgow. Truth in Television.