Well, all good things must come to an end, and this rule is no exception for one of Scotland’s best loved comedies. The cast of the BBC Scotland’s Still Game have announced that the upcoming ninth series of the show will be its last.
Stars of the show Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill (who play the lead characters Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade) have said that they felt that the time was right for Still Game to retire, describing the finale of the show as a “must see.”
The world of Still Game, Jack and Victor, and the fictional Glasgow scheme Craiglang have been a part of Scotland’s heart for years. It began life as a stage show, about three pensioners stuck in a flat after a lift breaks down. The characters of Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade made a return in Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill’s comedy sketch show, Chewin’ The Fat, before the characters stole the spotlight with Still Game.
Still Game’s success was down to the characters. Every member of the Craiglang community brought something to the show’s storylines to make them all the better, and even more hilarious. Jack and Victor the infamous silver-tongued patter merchants, Isa the gossiper, Tam the ever-tight-fisted sponger, Winston with his constant schemes and war with Stevie the Bookie, and Boabby, the black-hearted barman fae the Clansman. Even recurring characters such as Pete the Jakey (played by the late Jake D’Arcy), Auld Eric, Shug with his superior hearing, and the well worded Methadone Mick. They say People Make Glasgow, well, it truly is the people that make Craiglang.
These characters have a place in our hearts because they are actually quite a believable bunch. If you walk into a random pub in a Glasgow scheme, you will definitely hear a flow of quick patter, an endless stream of gossip, someone that shares Winston’s crude humour and scheming ways, some of the regulars who have a casual enough relationship with the bar staff to constantly wind them up and not get themselves barred, and, we all have that pal who always manages to get out of buying the next round . . . but don’t get me started on that. Even just look around your own friend groups, you may be able to see all of this.
The characters are inspired from reality, and they are believable, which makes them lovable, I still remember sitting in a jazz club in Greenock – don’t ask me why – and I was sitting talking to these two old pensioners. The way that they spoke, the constant flow of high quality patter, and just the way that they were overall, I swear I could’ve been talking to a real life (Greenock version of) Jack and Victor.
Still Game is relatable, we can see parts of it in our own lives and that’s what makes it even funnier for some. For the fans of Still Game, Craiglang is a community, and we are all a part of that.
Still Game played a huge part in the lives of its fans, so much so that it has been passed on down through the generations. Every Halloween fan page posts pictures of children as young as 4 years old dressed as Jack, Victor, and Isa. Parents remember the humour well across Scotland, and across the generations, people remember the antics.
Still Game is for everyone, and that’s why it’s great. Television, especially some sitcoms, have always been great for tackling social issues, but as we enter an era of political division and uncertainty, Still Game seems to unite us. Still Game avoids polarising topics like politics and religion, so it doesn’t matter what your deeply held political views are, or what football team you support, everyone can unite and enjoy Still Game regardless. To put it one way, you can’t just pluck some political point out of thin air and expect that to pass as patter.
Still Game has become part of everyday life for some of us, quotes from the show make their way into our daily conversations. If someone is dragging out a conversation don’t be afraid to hit them with a quick, “THAT’S PLENTY!” Knock on someone’s door and demand that they open the door, for you are a fake gas company employee with counterfeit credentials. I can still remember a parent shaking their head at me for saying to a delivery driver, “Thanking you.”
Higher History classes were dominated by Still Game jokes and references, getting someone’s attention by beckoning “HERE YOU!” And memories of a quiz teams rather extravagant reaction to beating another team, although we should’ve won because we knew who the second man on the moon was, and if someone decides to make an incorrect statement, put on your best Craiglang voice and tell them, “NAW IT ISNAE.”
Besides, if any Still Game fan doesn’t get up and do the slosh when Beautiful Sunday is played at a party then I’ll be disappointed, because as far as I’m concerned, that scene is iconic.
Although it is sad to see Still Game go, there are some who are taking this as a bittersweet farewell, Still Game is loved to a level that if the show were to do what has happened with some sitcoms and end up using recycled humour and unoriginal plots with a lack of imagination, then it’s farewell would be more painful. Instead the show is bowing out with grace.
Still Game is ending, I’ll be going to the shop, Navid’s not Hyperdales, stocking up on pineappleade and curly wurlies, then get myself some beefy bakes and will enjoy the final act of a beloved icon.
So now that it’s last orders at The Clansman, I know what I’ll be having, TWO PINTS PRICK!