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Series / Still Game

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Victor McDade (Left) & Jack Jarvis (Right)

Jack: “Craiglang: Developing for the future!”
Victor: “Craiglang: Modernity beckons!”
Jack: “Craiglang: Tomorrow’s already here!”
Victor: Craiglang…
Together: Shitehole!

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 respectively.

The origins of Still Game go back to the Scottish sketch show Pulp Video, which ran from 1995 to 1996 and featured future Still Game cast members Kiernan, Hemphill, Gavin Mitchell and Jane McCarry. One of the recurring sketches featured Kiernan, Hemphill and Mitchell portraying old men named Archie, Finlay and Winston. In 1998, Kiernan and Hemphill's characters, now renamed Jack and Victor, appeared in a series of skits in a satirical documentary about Scottish pop music called Och Around the Clock. In these, they are shown to be watching the various artists perform on television and criticizing them. The characters reappeared in Kiernan and Hemphill's sketch show Chewin' the Fat, nearly every episode of which featured Jack, Victor, Tam and Winston, with minor differences from their later counterparts in Still Game. When Chewin' The Fat came to an end in 2002, Still Game was given the go-ahead for its own series.

Running for six series from 2002 to 2007, Still Game was based on 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). The first, second and third series were originally broadcast in Scotland only but all further episodes were shown 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 ratingsnote  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 Hemphill and Kiernan would be returning to make a new series. In the wait, a new stage play was released, followed by a short special made for Children in Need in 2014. The show was officially revived with the seventh series which aired in 2016. An eighth series aired in 2018 and it was announced later that year that a ninth was in production which would serve as the final series as Hemphill and Kiernan wanted to retire the characters. The ninth season premiered on the brand new BBC Scotland channel, with the final episode airing on March 28, 2019. The cast also performed several live shows as a last farewell to their characters in the autumn of 2019.

Two tropes, prick!

  • 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. In the series, he has a brother named Walter, and two children, Margaret and Brian, who both seem to be alive and well.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Pensioner problems abound.
  • The Alcoholic: Pete The Jakey
    • Winston also qualifies, albeit to a far lesser extent than Pete as he is a functional addict. His alcoholism is referred to in the episode Small Change, when Navid describes Winston as having either two moods: despondent or rage.
  • The Alleged Car: The removal van in "Flittin", which combusts shortly after Jack's belongings are loaded onto it.
  • Anti-Hero: Winston is often a Type I, though he sometimes crosses over into Type III areas. He can 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.
  • Appliance Defenestration:
    • In a rare case of this not breaking the window, Big Innes lands Isa's cooker square in the skip on street level from her high-rise flat in "Big Yin".
    • Also, the refrigerator dropped on the red car Jack buys and drives Victor around in (two seconds after he's sold it to Tam).
  • 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.
  • 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!
    • Played straight in the post-credits scene in "Scones" when Jack and Victor ram a broom up the backside of Isa's Jerkass husband Harry after finding him stuck in the window of the gents toilets of the Clansman after his attempt to abandon Isa again.
  • Author Appeal: Repeated references to Canada, where Greg Hemphill was raised.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Happens twice in the TV series, Winston and Boabby both wake up next to Edith, the incredibly ugly woman. Isa is also on the receiving end of this in the Hydro Live Show.
  • Behind the Black: In one episode, Winston is interested to hear about what Jack and Victor have been involved in, then casually notes that Isa seems interested too. They're confused, until the camera cuts back to Jack and Victor, revealing Isa leaning between them.
  • 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 usually subtitled - so the audience know what she's really saying, even when the rest of the characters are in the dark. And even when she isn't subtitled, it's always apparent from Navid's response what she was saying.
  • Black Comedy: Gallows humour abounds on account of the ages of the characters.
    • "Cauld" in particular runs almost entirely on this, as the plot concerns the pensioners trying to get through a bad Winter, Jack and Victor finding their friend dead in his flat, and the Clansman regulars running "hypothermia sweepstakes."
    • The Stinger for "Gairden" has the Neds from earlier in the episode invade the rooftop garden, only for their dog to leap off the top of Osprey Heights when the leader throws a walking stick off the edge. The camera just lingers on Jack, Victor and Winston staring at the Neds, until Jack's eye twitches at the distant thud. Winston, however, makes a "there it is" guesture with his hand.
  • Black Widow: The residents of Craiglang suspect Wullie Reid's girlfriend of being this.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Jack, Victor and Isa wind up in one when their homes are being demolished. While the head nurse initially acts nice, talking the place up, once they're there it soon turns into a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest parody - the food's terrible, the staff abusive and controlling, they're not allowed out, and they aren't allowed to watch TV.
  • 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: Two. The first episode features a B-plot about Winston’s grandson, Joe, preparing for a boxing match. He loses. Badly. The fourth episode of the sixth series, "Seconds Out" has Boabby and Stevie enter the ring to settle an argument over a woman they're both interested in. Unfortunately for them, the Love Interest in question happens to be the daughter of Lightweight World Champion, Jim Watt, who knocks the two out in one punch each after they made a number of lewd remarks about her before they realised who she was.
  • Brand X: "Spire" stores briefly buy out Navid's shop.
  • Brawn Hilda: Peggy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the Hogmanay flashback episode, the cast drop out of character, face the camera and wish the viewers a happy new year.
  • British Brevity: Forty-four episodes from six series, a Christmas Special (British form) and two Hogmanay specials, before a three-season revival.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Boabby The Barman, who can never get one up on Jack and Victor (or anyone else). It doesn't help that his name 'Boabby' is Glasgow slang for penis either.
      Boabby: (as Jack and Victor walk into the Clansman) Hey! Look! It's Lambert and Butler!
      Jack: Shut it Boabby. You're the only fag in here
      • Or another gem:
        Boabby: Look who it is: Batman and Robin!
        Victor: We'll accept that as long as you go Catwoman ya pussy.
      • Later:
        Boabby: Look who it is: Rod Hull & Emu.
        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.
      • Other times, they simply explain in detail why Boabby's patter is garbage, and give him advice on how to do better while acknowledging that he won't...because he's a prick.
    • Winston to an extent, as well. Paul Riley (the actor who plays him) has stated that some of Winston's most ridiculous moments were written just to wind him up!
  • 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 is a straight whisky downed in one go to boot.
  • 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!
    • From "Cauld", Jack's observation of his deceased friend's phone not working.
      Jack: He must have died, then they cut his phone aff...cause he didnae pay his bill...cause he couldnae...cause he was deid.
    • From "Doacters," Tam's description of Winston's reading material.
      Tam: The Prague Heist, eh? That's about a heist in Prague.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Two pints, prick!" (Jack and Victor to Boabby)
    • "That's plenty." (Victor, when someone—usually Jack or Isa—is rambling on too much)
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • In the theatre version Jack and Victor had characteristics that were later applied to Winston and Tam respectively, with Jack being a much bigger Jerkass while Victor was more of The Scrooge. They also were not depicted as the Heterosexual Life-Partners that they would end up being.
    • Jack's habits of rambling and using malapropisms are not as prominent in the early episodes.
    • In Series 2's "Scran," Jack and Victor witness a man buying a gay porn magazine ("Big Cocks") at Navid's store, and make no effort to conceal their outrage and disgust. Later on, though, they seem to have a much more live-and-let-live attitude towards homosexuality, even managing to laugh it off fairly easily after they are Mistaken for Gay by most of Craiglang in "Hatch," from Series 4.
    • Tam was always portrayed as being miserly and unapologetically greedy, but beginning with "Cairds," his actions became self-serving to a truly amoral degree, which in turn meant that he was more frequently depicted as The Friend No One Likes.
    • An early episode suggests that Isa has a crush on Victor; for much of the rest of the series, her Belligerent Sexual Tension is with Winston.
    • In earlier series, a common plot for Winston was his many attempts to make money dishonestly. This was largely toned down as the show went on, but is given a Continuity Nod in "Aff."
    • Several early episodes show Tam being willing to part with money if it'll further a scheme to save money in the long run, in later episodes he'd instead try to find ways to cheat his way around having to do so.
    • Tam is depicted as a relatively late adopter of Winston's "free leccie" in "Cauld", when later episodes, such as "Hyper", would have him practically foaming at the mouth at the idea of getting something free.
  • 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. The later Hydro show retains the TV language, although Jack is interrupted when he's about to drop one.
  • 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 and, eventually, a young adult.
  • 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.
    • Isa misunderstands a quote when it looks like she got fired by Navid in "Hyper."
    Isa: He said "Et tu, Isa?" But I never ate two o' anythin'...
  • Comically Small Bribe: Jack and Victor try to bribe a housing officer with two £1 coins and a fiver.
    • Tam, as to be expected, runs on this.
  • 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.
    • Worse, it is strongly implied in the show that Craiglang isn't even the worst bit of Glasgow - Winston, for instance, whilst hating Craiglang, is horrified when the Housing Association try to move him to Deanhill ("Do I look like a junkie?") and Cravenwood ("Do I get a free shotgun with that, son?").
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nearly everybody, but Jack, Victor, Winston and Navid stand out.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Isa's flat is broken into during the power blackout in "Lights Out". Later, she ends up with blue ink on her face because she thought it was a good idea to check if Jack's door was locked in the pitch-black night. When Jack and Victor point out that they reasonably thought she was a burglar, she argues that they should've known it was her, because it was her.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Played with for Winston and Winnie, his eventual girlfriend/wife. Winston himself is technically disabled, due to only having one leg, but Winnie is a wheelchair user.
  • Distant Finale: After the older characters Fading Away, the final scene of the series is a now aged Boabby, still serving at the Clansman.
  • 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.
  • Drunk on Milk: Navid gets completely wasted on some orange juice.
  • 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 Chewin' the Fat sketches show Jack and Victor looking and acting noticeably differently and living in different locations, while Victor has family in Canada instead of Jack. Going back to their first appearance in Pulp Video, Jack and Victor themselves had different names (Archie and Finlay) and Winston (played by Gavin Mitchell, who would later play Boabby) was portrayed as a frail, much older man with memory issues.
      • The original theatre version has this trope out the wazoo: Stage!Jack has a beard, Stage!Victor shares many characteristics with Show!Tam, Stage!Jack is more like Show!Winston, and Stage!Winston is a more idealistic character, and everyone curses a lot more. Stage!Jack is also a proud veteran of the British Army, whilst in the show the two characters have no military experience beyond the 18 months of peacetime National Service common to their generation.
        Jack: Away you ya fuckin' bastard! We're sat hear eating rich tea and you're stuffin yer fuckin' hole wi' madeira cake!
    • The layout of the Clansman changed considerably when filming moved from a real pub to a specially created set.
    • The pilot has several differences from the other episodes:
      • John, Victor's son, is referred to as Jamie.
      • Jack is said to be 74, which changes to 72 later on.
      • Victor wears a flat cap similar to Jack's (although in white rather than grey), which was replaced with a trilby for the rest of the show.
    • A scene in "Faimly," the show's second episode, has Victor break the fourth wall by saying "welcome" directly at the camera; this seldom happened afterwards (with the exception of the end of "The Party").
    • Fergie the Ned gets called Derek in an early appearance.
    • Several lines in the first series suggest that Boabby is married and has a daughter; in later episodes he's single and childless.
    • The first series may be more accurately described as a comedy-drama, as it deals with such topics as familial abandonment and approaching death in a fairly serious way ("Cauld" in particular is quite bleak). Starting with the second series, however, the show became more lighthearted as it increasingly focused on the quirks and comedic hijinks of the main cast.
  • Easily Forgiven: Tam, especially by Boabby when it comes to his many attempts to scam him into giving a free pint. He doesn't get barred from The Clansman until "Dead Leg", in the final season.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In season 8, episode 5, "Pie", Tam befriends an elderly woman whose daughter (according to Tam) he went to school with. The woman is extremely wealthy, but not on good terms with her daughter. Tam being Tam, all the other characters assume he's trying to befriend her to get his hands on her money. In the end, it turns out he did convince her to change her will - and leave everything to the Cat Protection League, because the daughter, Cathy, drove over Tam's cat on her bicycle when they were children.
  • 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. Until the series finale, "Over The Hill".
  • Fading Away: The series ends with all of the main characters except Boabby and Mick fading from existence.
  • Fat Bastard: Peggy was initially this.
  • Faking the Dead: Tam in the two-part "Dead Leg", so he can give his life insurance money to Winston for surgery to save his remaining leg.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In one episode, Tam seemingly actually pays for a pint, while asking Boabby if he intends on going on holiday, while talking about how his last holiday introduced him to the Euro. Boabby admits he's never seen one, and Tam tells him to check his till, he's just handed him some.
  • Floorfilling Song and Dance: Jack and Victor manage to lift the mood at a dull party by putting on "Beautiful Sunday" by Daniel Boone, which naturally leads to everyone getting up to do The Slosh.
  • Four-Man Band:
Only Sane ManVictor
The Smart GuyJack
The Casanova WannabeTam
The Butt-MonkeyWinston
  • 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:
    • Boabby.
    • Tam and Isa also get this treatment, the former for his tight-fisted greed and the latter for her gossiping and nosiness.
  • The Fundamentalist: Navid (an Indian 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, even managing to get themselves Mistaken for Gay (and not for the last time).
  • The Gambling Addict: Winston is the worst, but Jack, Victor, Tam, and Eric are all shown to be fond of a stop in the bookie's.
  • Glasgow: Both the setting and where the primary filming locations are.
  • Grand Finale: "Over The Hill."
  • 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 Man: Basically all the male characters are this to some extent.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Winston, particularly when there's any indication that his attempts to cheat the system aren't going to work.
  • 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 the fact that 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.
  • The Hermit: Archie in "Oot", who hasn't left his house since 1966, and is reintroduced to the modern world by Jack and Victor after his house is marked for demolition.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jack and Victor. Tam and Winston also count.
  • 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.
    • Occurs to a mostly oblivious Boabby when Tam finds an embarrassing tape of his - by the time Tam unintentionally lets slip that he knows about it, everyone in the Clansman has seen it, and it's unintentionally broadcast on a large screen outside a department store.
  • Hypocritical Humor: From the play:
    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…
    • From the TV show:
      • In "Scran," Isa talks to Vince the snack bar owner about his business going down the tubes. When Vince demands to know what's going on, Isa replies with "Oh, you won't catch me gossiping!" Aye right, Isa!
      • In "Dial-a-bus," Isa comments about Davie the driver being so quiet: "He's normally so gabby. Gab. Gab. Gab. You cannae shut him up." Jack and Victor give her the appropriate expressions.
      • In "Gairden," Isa confronts Winston about appearing like a half wit in front of Arthur and Jeannie who told her about the new park which Winston ordered her to keep quiet about. Winston comments about Isa being "raging." A bit rich coming from the hot-headed man who physically restrained her earlier in that same episode just to keep her quiet... twice.
  • Identical Stranger: The owner of the bar that Boabby visits in "Dial-A-Bus" looks a lot like him, and there are two regulars who are deadringers for Jack and Victor.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: A large portion the episode titles are written in Glaswegian slang/accents.
    • This was dropped after Series 3 when it began to be broadcast outside of Scotland.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Tam's penny-pinching can often reach this level.
  • Insistent Terminology: Chris the Postie never refers to his employers as anything other than "Her Majesty's Post".
    • Jack will always give his full name as "Jack Jarvis, Esquire".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Boabby the barman. He can be rather sarcastic to the locals, but he clearly cares about them. In particular, he's noticeably nicer to Isa than most of the pensioners, and doesn't like people taking advantage of her. And in series 7, it is revealed that Boabby also provided a cooked breakfast for Pete the Jakey every day for 20 years. He ends up winning a community service award for this.
    • In "Who's The Daddy", Boabby states that he's been behind the bar of The Clansman since he was 18 years old, and has been looking out for the regulars every day of that, which Jack and Victor seem to agree with. He's also willing to go along with their scheme to prove Tam isn't actually dead in "Dead Leg".
    • When Jack fakes a bad fall (so Victor can show off what they've learned from first-aid classes), Boabby's immediate reaction is to rush to help him.
    • Jack and Victor, towards Isa. While they usually can't stand her gossiping ways and will often try to avoid being in a lift with her, they're the first to defend and try to comfort her if something bad happens to her, as seen in "Scones", "Hyper" and "Lights Out".
  • Joke and Receive: In "Lights Out", Jack and Victor attempt to use a radio to find out why the power's been cut. After it only delivers one line about the situation, Victor sarcastically asks to know how, why and when. Cue Isa peeking through the letterbox delivering a full report.
    Victor: Jesus, Jack. You get more information through your letterbox than you do oot that tranny.
    • In the same episode, as Jack and Victor discuss Shug describing how Craiglang will fall into anarchy and chaos as they walk home, Victor comments that "We've still got the police." Right as he says this, a burning police van rolls into view behind them.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The aircraft that flies Jack and Victor to Toronto in "Hoaliday" is operated by the well known airline "Airbus A340", because the production team just used stock footage from Airbus's brochure for its one exterior shot.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Isa's usually absent husband Harry Drennan is treated as this in the episodes which focus on him in some way. It's clear every main male character despises him for abandoning Isa and being a Disappeared Dad to their son Colin. Winston is particularly vocal about his hatred for the man in the episode "Scones".
    • Winston's Arch-Enemy, Stevie the bookie, is also this when he flees Craiglang after Winston cleans him out. He continues to be in this after his return, when Winston and Tam uncover his Impersonation Gambit of being his supposed brother Frankie.
    • Played for Laughs with I.D Sheathing, the new Undertaker in Craiglang, due to his politeness and a series of unfortunate coincidences.
  • Laborious Laziness: Tam admits in "Over The Hill" to having a complex system of figuring out what day a date will be based on where Christmas Day falls that year, purely so he could justify not having bought a new calendar since 1981. When he demonstrates, it fails.
    • In "Hyper", Tam's reasoning for not replacing a barely functioning and extremely hazardous toaster that only ever burns things: spend ages trying to scrape the burnt sections off until it's edible. It electrocutes him.
  • Large Ham: Robbie Coltrane in a guest role as a mentally imbalanced bus driver.
  • 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. Also applies to the rest of the show when compared to the first series.
  • Local Hangout: The Clansman, Navid’s shop and occasionally the bookies and the Rendezvous Cafe.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Boabby's "Oh, look who it is! Half of famous duo and Other half of famous duo!" whenever Jack and Victor walk into the Clansman for the first time in the episode.
    • Played With in one episode where he instead names them two halves of a single name, mistaking it for the names of a duo.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: In the play, Victor has a hoover filled with £7000 in £20 notes.
  • 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.
  • My Local: The Clansman, which gets renamed Jenny's at the end of Series 4 (although the locals continue to call it the Clansman, and the name change appears to have been retconned in the revival).
  • Mythology Gag: The way Wullie is found "dead" in "Waddin'" was lifted directly out of a song sung by Jack and Victor during a Chewin' The Fat sketch, with 19 bottles of milk on his doorstep, newspapers in his letterbox and mail on his doorstep unread.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted when the news of Harry Drennan'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 of the North Ayrshire coastal towns, primarily Largs, Millport, and Saltcoats - where it was filmed.
  • 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. She also has to be the one telling everyone else.
  • Off the Wagon: Pete in the series 6 episode, "Recipe". Ultimately costs him a fortune.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted—there are several minor characters called Wullie:
    • Wullie Napier, an old friend whom Jack and Victor find dead in his flat.
    • Wullie MacIntosh, a frail man with a large birthmark who constantly forgets to return things he's borrowed. And the man with the same name as him whom the pensioners mistake him for when reading the obituaries.
    • Wullie Reid, a Dirty Old Man who has flings with far younger women.
    • The name Frankie is used twice: "Manky" Frankie, the disgusting bum who lives on a lower floor of Osprey Heights, and Frankie the Bookie, who is really Stevie the Bookie in disguise.
  • Only Sane Man: Boabby appears to be the closest to this, as he's often the one pointing out the holes in the pensioners' schemes and logic.
    • Navid often takes this role for Jack, Victor and Isa.
    • Jack and Victor regularly trade the role between them.
  • O.O.C. 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, again involving Tam, in the final episode of series 6 when Jack is in the hospital having surgery. Tam not only puts money forward for drinks for everybody in the tavern, but when Boabby tells him to put his money away, he flatly refuses to.
    • Tam's reason for faking his death in "Dead Leg" is this: he wants Winston to take his life insurance to save his remaining leg, as an apology for his earlier insensitivity that broke their friendship.
      • At the Clansman after Tam's fake funeral, Boabby quietly offers free drinks on the house, citing it as being in memory of him. "His final freebie."
  • 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: "Boabby," which is a Glaswegian variation of "Bobby," is also a Scottish slang term for penis. (Basically the Scottish equivalent of a "Willie" or "Dick".)
  • Raging Stiffie: In one episode Victor gets this courtesy of the young bride who had to sit on his lap when Jack had to drive the bride's whole family to church (in a fancy car he's "borrowed" as a fake chauffeur).
    • Another episode has Jack randomly and suddenly discuss waking up with one. While Victor is trying to eat a chocolate eclair.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Jack is the red to Victor's blue.
    • Winston can also probably be considered the red to Tam's blue.
  • Retcon: The Hogmanay special "The Party," while widely considered to be one of the best episodes of the series, contradicts several previously established timelines.
    • Most notably, the episode shows both Navid and Isa being introduced to Jack and Victor at the 1975 Hogmanay party, but in "Big Yin," it's implied that Navid arrived in Craiglang less than 15 years ago, while a flashback in "Who's The Daddy" shows Isa hanging around with Jack and Victor as young adults in the 1950s.
  • Revival: Brought back for a stage run in 2014, with three new series being broadcast starting in 2016.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: Inverted, going from stage to screen. Then played straight with the more recent live shows.
  • The Scrooge: Tam, sometimes to the point of Laborious Laziness.
  • Secret Identity: When Boabby is away, Winston pretends to be "Harvie Gallagher," the supposed owner of the Clansman, to trick the temp into giving out free drinks.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Methadone Mick of all characters.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Happens a few times:
    • The dog that leapt off the roof in the post-credits scene for "Gairden" lands with a faint one.
    • Isa breaks her ankle after being hit by the "silver car" she was warned about.
    • When waiting to get his new leg in "Kill Wullie", Winston is harassed by an annoying man who broke his wrist and won't believe that he lost his leg by smoking too much. When its Winston's turn, he makes sure the door slams on the man's broken wrist as he passes.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Winston and Stevie the bookie
  • 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 later Hydro show also had Tam reading about A pensioner who kept £7000 in a hoover.
    • "Down and Out" has several to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The nursing home manager is a toned-down Expy of Nurse Ratched, and Victor is Genre Savvy enough to spot it. Later, Navid escapes by throwing a sink through a window.
  • Similar Squad: In "Dial-a-Bus", Boaby visits a countryside pub called the Huntsman, where a similar-looking barman engages in identical banter with similar-looking regulars, who unlike Jack and Victor take it in good part. Embarassed by the contrast between this place and the Clansman, he claims to be a lawyer.
  • A Simple Plan: Most of the characters' schemes.
  • Slice of Life: Scottish senior citizen life, mostly.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Winston borrows a tarantula from Methadone Mick's friend to feel better about not having a dog like Jack and Victor. Hilarity Ensues. And then Isa sabotages Peggy's cake by making sure the tarantula gets baked in it.
  • The Stinger: Every episode ends with a brief gag or wrap-up. The finale is the sole exception.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: “Flittin” ends with a removal van exploding. With all of Jack’s possessions inside.
  • The Tag: Every episode.
  • Take Our Word for It: Winston's bad foot in "Aff", which horrifies and sickens his friends and the doctor notes has obviously had no circulation.
  • Take That!: Numerous. A notable one in the whisky 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.
    (Gilligan Cut to Jack and Victor at the back of the tour)
    Jack: Clark Gable was a wanker!
    Victor: Aye, I know, wi' the stupit ears...arsehole.
    Jack: Like a taxi wi' it's dairs stuck open...prick.
  • 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 theme (an extract from Cuban Boys' version of "Cuban Boy", which in turn samples Frank Chacksfield's version) was changed to a generic latin-esque piece for the DVD release for copyright reasons. This version also appears on the Netflix version of the original series. The 2016 revival uses a practically identical arrangement of "Cuban Boy", but in a new, BBC-owned, recording - presumably so that it can be used on the DVDs as well.
  • There Is Only One Bed: The first episode ends with Jack sharing Victor’s bed.
  • 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.
    Tam: Godfather 1 or 2
    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!
    Tam: Jaws?
    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)
  • Truth in Television: Alcoholism, old age isolation, poverty and violence are all very much a reality in Glasgow.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Winston is this in "Courtin" when he tells the story of why he was barred from the Clansman.
  • Violent Glaswegian: The Neds. Peggy McAlpine probably counts as well, as does Mark (the aggressive candidate for quiz-master).
    • 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, Winston and Tam. They could bicker for Scotland.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Word-for-word in The Stinger of "The Undrinkables", when it is revealed that the bootleg hooch causing temporary blindness in the residents of Craiglang is being brewed by Navid and Meena, strict Muslims who aren't allowed to drink alcohol and are therefore unable to test what they've made.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Winston's grandson, Joe, appears in the first episode but is never seen or mentioned again.
    • Pete's long-lost son is never seen or mentioned again after his single appearance in series four.
    • Tam and Frances' child is unmentioned and unseen in the last three seasons.
      • Similarly, Tam has a young grandson who only appears in one scene and is never acknowledged again.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The 2006 Hogmanay special is mainly a flashback to the first Hogmanay party held at Osprey Heights, way back in 1975.


Video Example(s):


The Slosh

Jack and Victor liven up a dull function by getting everyone to dance The Slosh (to the usual tune of Daniel Boone's "Beautiful Sunday").

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FloorfillingSongAndDance

Media sources: