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Series / Rab C. Nesbitt

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The drunken Scottish street philosopher, Rab C. Nesbitt first appeared on the seminal Scottish comedy show Naked Video. Progressing in 1989 to his own Christmas special Rab C Nesbitt's Seasonal Greet, the popularity of this much-rerun show spawned a further 8 series of alcoholic ranting. The series was broadcast nationally, despite the strong and sometimes impenetrable Glaswegian accents, which was parodied in one episode where Rab goes to London in search of his runaway son, and subtitles are used to translate the dialogue.

Rab is a 40-something waster. He's never worked a day in his life, and revels in the intricacies of the Welfare system (or 'the Broo' in common Glasgow parlance) He is married to the matriarchal Mary, who holds together the family of two sons Gash and Burnie in spite of Rab's lifestyle of booze and casual violence.

But he's not all bad, he has deep and profound thoughts about life and philosophy, and will expound them to any passer-by with the help of his rolled-up newspaper. He wanders the streets of Govan (a district in Glasgow) in a dirty blue suit and string vest, always with his trademark dirty bandage around his head from some long-forgotten head wound. Together with his eternal scheming friend, Jamesie Cotter (and his long suffering wife Ella) Rab introduces us to a myriad of colourful and downright scary Glasgow characters.


Although comedy in intent, the series explored many dark topics, including marital breakup, murder, long term unemployment, infertility, cannibalism and child abuse. Through several flashback sequences, we see the young Rab and his siblings putting up with a violent father who took his life failures out on his family. Rab's own family life is far from idyllic, Mary leaving him to fend for himself on various occasions, and the kids running away to London.

The final series was aired in 1998. In 2008, the character returned for a one-off, 45-minute special at Christmas 2008 which eventually led to a revival which ran for two seasons and ended with a New Year's special in 2014.

Transmission Details:

  • Number of episodes: 53 Length: 48 x 30 mins, 2 x 45 mins, 2 x 50 mins, 1 x short special
  • Special (45 mins) Rab C Nesbitt's Seasonal Greet: 31 Dec 1989, BBC2 Sun 9.30pm
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  • Series One (6) 27 Sep-1 Nov 1990, BBC2 Thu 9pm
  • Special (45 mins) Fitba 15 July 1991, BBC2 Mon 9.45pm
  • Series Two (6) 14 May-18 June 1992, BBC2 Thu 9pm
  • Special (50 mins) 31 Dec 1992, BBC2 Thu 11.30pm
  • Series Three (6) 18 Nov-23 Dec 1993, BBC2 Thu 9pm
  • Series Four (6) 19 Sep-24 Oct 1994, BBC2 Mon 9pm
  • Short special part of Fry And Laurie Host A Christmas Night With The Stars 27 Dec 1994, BBC2 Tue 9pm
  • Special (50 mins) 29 Dec 1994, BBC2 Thu 9pm
  • Series Five (6) 5 Jan-9 Feb 1996, BBC2 Fri 9pm
  • Series Six (6) 1 Aug-5 Sep 1997, BBC2 Fri 9.30pm
  • Series Seven (6) 21 Aug-25 Sep 1998, BBC2 Fri 9.30pm
  • Series Eight (6) 14 May-18 June 1999, BBC2 Fri 9.30pm
  • Christmas special, 23 December 2008, BBC2 9pm

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