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Series / The High Life

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From left to right: Sebastian Flight, Captain Duff, Shona Spurtle and Steve McCracken.

If we're feeling kind of tedious,
if life is seriously mediocre,
here's how to get that adrenaline flowing:
just step up on a boeing going high.

This Britcom followed the cabin crew of the fictional "Air Scotia" airline, based at Prestwick Airport in its pre-Ryanair days. There's the camp, ego-centric Sebastian Flight, perennially single Steve McCracken, their boss Shona "Hitler in Tights" Spurtle and a Captain who is so out of it, he makes Dougal seem normal. Add surrealism and song and dance numbers for anarchy.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Sebastian — extremely camp, but never actually says anything indicating he is gay, and is described by Steve as an "uptight celibate".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The dialogue is littered with alliteration, lampshaded by Sebastian on one occasion:
    Shona: Ah have turned a blind eye to your frequent, farcical, in-flight female fraternisations-
    Sebastian: Ye used five 'F' words then, did ye know that, Shona?
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba:
    Steve: (quoting his self-help book) "[T]oday might be the day when everything starts to change for the better.
    Sebastian: Aye, and shite doesnae stink.
  • Aside Glance: Sebastian occasionally does these towards the camera.
  • Bland-Name Product: Averted with Betterware, which is still going strong.
  • Boot Camp Episode: Birl.
  • British Brevity: Only six episodes ever made.
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  • British Rockstar: Guy Wersch is a perfect example.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    "Nothin' good ever happens tae folk from Falkirk."
  • Casanova Wannabe: Steve.
  • Catchphrase: "Ah Deary Me".
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Captain Duff. Lampshaded by Steve and Sebastian:
    Steve: That man is so surreal, he's no' real.
    Sebastian: Aye - he's Salvador Dali in epaulettes.
  • Cool Shades: Averted by Shona who wears some truly hideous sunglasses due to her apparent Hangover Sensitivity:
    Shona: Morning, Sebastian. I see travel hasn't broadened your mind - it's still as cheap and tacky as ever.
    Sebastian: No' as cheap and tacky as doing a Roy Orbison impersonation.
  • Dawson Casting: Played for Laughs when Siobhan Redmond plays seven-year-old Shona in a flashback.
  • Disappeared Dad: Shona's dad.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Steve is showing Sebastian the engagement ring he has bought for Shona. Captain Duff comes in, sees them with the ring and congratulates them on their engagement.
    • As well as Steve trying to get Sebastian out of the dog costume.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: Sebastian after failing to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Sebastian's "over-demanding bed-ridden mother" never gets a mention past episode one.
  • '80s Hair: Sebastian. Even though the show was made in The '90s. His hairdo makes him look like a member of New Kids on the Block.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Averted - the theme is all about how great working on an airline is, but all Sebastian and Steve do on the show is complain about how much their job sucks.
  • Golden Moment: Parodied at the end of Feart after Steve delivers a rather long-winded spiel about how he turned down a promotion because he would rather work with Sebastian than be successful and lonely.
    Sebastian: Oh, Steve...ya stupid mug!
  • Goshdang It To Heck: OH BURNT MUFFINS!
  • Gossipy Hens: Steve and Sebastian. A variation on the trope since Sebastian seems to be the one who pecks at Steve to get gossip rather than just passing it on.
  • Half Hour Comedy
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Sebastian at the beginning of "Birl".
  • In-Series Nickname: Sebastian has quite a few of these for Shona, including, but not limited to, "Pol Pot in Pantyhose" and "Goebbels in a Gossard".
  • Inept Talent Show Contestant
  • Innocent Innuendo: Shona, when talking about her ex, who used to work on a fish farm.
    "Every so often, if I was lucky, he gave me crabs."
  • Large Ham: During his guest spot as the Batman-style villain Vincent Stoat in "Dunk," Peter Blythe serves up massive quantities of gleeful ham, complete with Evil Laugh.
  • New Old Flame: Avril, who came back as a Tartan Terrorist.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Averted: Air Scotia's corporate motto is "Dinnae fash yerself, dae it awfy well".
  • The Remake: Episode 4 is a remake of the pilot, which was not part of the series proper, but an episode of Comic Asides.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Briefly, when Steve and Sebastian compare Hershey Bars with British chocolate.
  • Scottish English: Has some great examples of this:
    Sebastian: You're the new face of Air Scotia?
    Shona: Yes, Ah'm are!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sebastian Flight.
    • Episode 6 is an episode-long homage to Batman. The machine that shows off all of Stoat's different products is most likely a nod to The Generation Game.
    • Captain Duff can be seen reading a copy of Fear of Flying.
    • The instructor at the Air Scotia boot camp references Alive when teaching emergency landing procedures.
    • Steve and Sebastian give Shona a quick blast of All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth while playing with the passengers' dentures.
    • When Shona jogs up to the boot camp:
    • Sebastian owns a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs duvet cover.
    • Steve takes one of his off-screen dates to The Shish Mahal, which is an actual restaurant in Glasgow.
    • Steve spotted Lena Zavaroni in an Italian restaurant in Motherwell.
    • Captain Duff calls Steve "Sooty" and Sebastian "Sweep" in one episode. It's oddly appropriate in Sebastian's case.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Sebastian vs. Shona.
  • Spiritual Successor: Forbes and Cumming had previously played two very similar characters, the Kelvinside Young People's Amateur Dramatic Art Society founders Victor McIllvaney and Barry McLeish, at the Edinburgh Fringe and on various STV programmes.
  • Stealth Pun:
    Avril: Driver, take this plane to Dunoon, or the steward gets it.
  • The Talk: Steve and Sebastian narrowly avoid being given a cow-themed version of this from Captain Duff.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Shona, whilst rejecting Steve.
    "I'm an uptown, uptempo woman, you're a downtown, downbeat guy. It would never work out."
    • Sebastian probes Steve about one of his dates in the style of Summer Nights.
  • Western Terrorists: The Scottish Liberation Front.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Played with, when Sebastian is desperately trying to find out what Steve did the previous night. Then subverted when it turns out that Steve was totally wrong about what he thought he did and is rather disappointed to learn the truth.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The celebrity sprog in Dug is named "Aurora Borealis", since that was what her dad was looking at when she was conceived.


Video Example(s):


Sebastian Blackmails Shona

After Steve discovers that he and Shona didn't have sex, Sebastian spies an opportunity to make his screw-up over the inflight breakfast order go away.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / Blackmail

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