Rab C. Nesbitt
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|Rab C. Nesbitt|
|Created by||Ian Pattison|
Elaine C. Smith
Andrew Fairlie 1988-2008
|Theme music composer||David McNiven|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||64 (including 5 specials) (as of 9 November 2011) (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Govan, Glasgow, United Kingdom|
|Running time||48x 30 minutes
2x 40 minutes
1x 45 minutes
1x 50 minutes
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|First shown in||First run:
21 December 1988 –
18 June 1999
23 December 2008 – present
|Preceded by||Naked Video|
Rab C. Nesbitt is a Scottish sitcom which began in 1988. Produced by BBC Scotland, it stars Gregor Fisher as an alcoholic Glaswegian who seeks unemployment as a lifestyle choice. Rab C. Nesbitt was originally a recurring character in the BBC2 sketch series Naked Video (1986–1990).
The pilot, made for BBC Scotland in 1988, a Christmas special entitled Rab C Nesbitt's Seasonal Greet, repeated on the network the following year. The first series began on 27 September 1990 and continued for seven more, ending on 18 June 1999 and returning with a one-off special on 23 December 2008.
A ninth series of six episodes began airing on 21 January 2010. The special sees several important developments, which carry on into the series: Gash now has a daughter, Peaches; Mary and Ella have set up in business together as cleaners (and Jamesie, Rab and sometimes Gash all work for their company, House Mice); and Rab himself has converted to Christianity and given up alcohol.
Ian Pattison created and wrote all 59 episodes and Colin Gilbert produced and directed all 59 episodes. They approached darker topics than usually encountered in sitcoms (although almost always in a blackly comedic manner rather than a serious one). Such topics ranged from alcoholism to Neo Nazis to STDs. Often several normally unapproachable subjects were used in the same episode. The series is also known for its uncompromising use of Glaswegian accents and dialect, and its technique of breaking the fourth wall by frequently having Rab address the viewer directly.
The series has featured Norman Lovett, Peter Mullan, Rikki Fulton, Anita Dobson, Timothy Spall, Stanley Baxter, Kevin McNally, Clive Russell, Jerry Sadowitz, Viv Lumsden, Sylvester McCoy, Russell Hunter and then unknowns David Tennant, Ashley Jensen, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Karen Dunbar, Jane McCarry and Paul Riley.
Elaine C. Smith confirmed on her Twitter page on October 10, 2013 that a Christmas Special has just been completed.
Cast and characters
The Nesbitt family
- Robert "Rab" C. Nesbitt portrayed by Gregor Fisher: alcoholic without denial, deadbeat, self-styled "street philosopher" and "sensitive big bastard", although "sensitive by Govan standards. Described by his wife Mary as not "an unemployed person" but "the original unemployed person", Rab is very rarely seen in anything other than a pinstripe suit in very poor condition, rotting plimsolls, a filthy headband and a string vest. He has two sons, Gash and Burney. Rab has four brothers, all dead; Rab only survived because he was the only one out of the five who was able to understand the benefits form. He claims to have been talented as a teenager, but never went anywhere with it due to Govan-dwellers being scared of talent when they saw it and tried "tae batter it tae death wi' empty wine bottles". At some point before the 2008 Christmas Special "Clean" he managed to clean up his act, giving up alcohol, helping around the house, discovering religion, and presiding over a temperance group; so far he has only relapsed on-screen twice.
- Mary "Mary Doll" Nesbitt portrayed by Elaine C. Smith: Rab's long-suffering wife, more functional and aspirational than her husband. Claims that on the day she was born it was a toss-up whether she or the dog's litter would end up at the bottom of the river Clyde in a sack (Burney: "She won. There's nae bloody justice, eh?").Currently runs a successful house-cleaning business with Ella called "The House Mice".
- Gash Nesbitt portrayed by Andrew Fairlie (1988–2008) then Iain Robertson (2010-): The Nesbitts' elder son. Described by his father as "so anal-retentive he's still shitein rusks." Has dabbled with Christianity, hard drugs, Hare Krishna, Scottish nationalism, and ram-raiding BT shops in his efforts to find himself.
- Burney Nesbitt portrayed by Eric Cullen (1988–1996): the couple's younger son (the first three series only). Briefly dabbled with neo-Nazism. Was also discovered to be gifted at painting, although gave up on this avenue when he realised it wasn't getting him sex. Actor Eric Cullen left the programme following series 3 due to personal problems to be replaced by David McKay's Screech. Cullen died in 1996, and in the 2008 Christmas special it is revealed that Burney died in a 'ramming' accident.
- Screech Nesbitt portrayed by David McKay: Rab's nephew (replaces Cullen in the fourth, fifth, and six series). Actor David McKay earlier portrayed Young Young McGurn's son Bimbo in "That's Entertainment".
- Gash Nesbitt Sr portrayed by Sylvester McCoy: Rab's brother, who he named his son after. Gash Sr. was once highly intelligent but very sensitive, and developed mental illness either following or coinciding with a period of particularly intense ill treatment by Rab B. Nesbitt, their father. Gash is usually a resident of a special home, yet managed to escape (or merely unconsciously wandered away) to be briefly taken in by the rest of the Nesbitt family during the episode "Father".
- Isa Nesbitt Anna Welsh (older) & Ann-Louise Ross (younger): Rab's mother, a typical Govan housewife, described as being so self-conscious she would put a dish-towel over her knees while watching television because she thought Trevor McDonald could see up her skirt. Rab is shown to have been very close to her, as he describes her as "one of the finest human beings ever to walk this Earth". She died during a gallstone operation in Series 4.
- Robert "Rab" B. Nesbitt portrayed by Ronnie Letham: Rab's cantankerous father, described by Gash Sr. as "a monster, a vile, cruel, unpredictable sadist". He blamed his failure on his family and frequently accused his children of holding him back and ruining his life. His moods reduced his wife Isa to a nervous wreck. His preferred victim was his gifted but sensitive son Gash, whom he ultimately drove to insanity through humiliation and abuse. He died from a heart attack when Rab C. finally stood up to him.
The Cotter family
- James Aaron "Jamesie" Cotter portrayed by Tony Roper: Rab's longtime friend, as well as chronic serial philanderer and self-described 'scumbag'. Jamesie is always seen with his trademark shabby sports jacket and bottle of Irn-Bru. On one occasion he has been described by his wife as "a slippery-lookin' article, about 93-year-old, wearing crusty jeans, with the eyes of an unemployed rapist". On several occasions he has played the part of the devil on Rab's shoulder, urging him to take up drinking again in "Clean", the 2008 Christmas special. His attitude towards women (he is very keen on having sexual relations with any number of women but refuses to trust them) is implied to have stemmed from a traumatic relationship with his cancer-ridden mother; he spent much of his childhood tending to her, receiving little but abuse in return.
- Ella Cotter portrayed by Barbara Rafferty: Jamesie's fiery wife, with her red beehive haircut and leopard skin coat. Seems to loathe her husband and frequently considers murdering him. In the meantime she enjoys torturing him on occasion, notably breaking his shoulder with a crowbar and scratching his sunburnt chest. She has stabbed him at least once. Ironically, she is every bit as promiscuous as Jamesie. She does a house-cleaning business with Mary called The House Mice.
The Two Ways Inn regulars
- Andra portrayed by Brian Pettifer: one of Rab's best friends, described more than once as looking "like a Ninja Turtle". Married to a woman called Bobbie who he is so repulsed by that he dry heaves when thinking about sleeping with her.
- Dodie portrayed by Alex Norton/Iain McColl: another of Rab's best friends. Is implied to be fond of unconventional methods of intoxication (e.g. sniffing shoe polish).
- Dougie portrayed by Charlie Sim: The barman of the Two Ways Inn.
- Norrie portrayed by John Kazek: The barman of the Two Ways Inn. Norrie takes over the running of the pub after Dougie gives up the job.
In series nine, the Two Ways Inn is replaced by The Giblet. The Giblet is Bells Lounge/Bar on Govan Road next junction to Southcroft St.
- Camille portrayed by Cora Bisset: The barmaid in series nine. During the episode "Passion" she was the object of both Gash and Jamesie's affections.
Recurring cast members
- Phoebe portrayed by Sara Corper / Sarah Crowden: An extremely middle-class English woman, married to Hugh.
- Hugh/"Shug" portrayed by Sean Scanlan: A relative of the Nesbitts, Hugh feigns Englishness or at least pretends to be a middle-class Scot due to Scottish cultural cringe and the distaste displayed at anything working-class and/or Scottish on the part of his wife Phoebe
- Bridie portrayed by Nicola Park: Gash's on-off girlfriend, with whom he has a daughter, Peaches.
- Peaches portrayed by Rachael Crossan: Gash and Bridie's daughter, upon whom all the Nesbitts dote.
Notable one-time characters
- John William Pure Mad Mental Intae Yoor Body Simpson Craig Gemmell Chib The Bam Rib-Racker No Real Young Rebel Ya Bas St. John McGurn aka Young Young McGurn portrayed by Maurice Roëves from 'That's Entertainment': a local "psychotic, with cannibalistic tendencies" who regularly threatens to eat people who displease him. McGurn's family burgle and vandalise local houses with impunity. Unfortunately for Jamesie Cotter, he chose to "whap the meat oop" McGurn's daughter Tracey, a fact that very nearly got him eaten himself.In spite of the fact that "no decent human being could hope to strike up a rapport with him" he seems to be quite agreeable towards Rab, entrusting him with his darkest secret: he is a cannibal with false teeth. He commits suicide by jumping from the terrace of a tower block, killing a police inspector, two social workers and a psychologist in the process.
- Preacher portrayed by Peter Capaldi from 'Seasonal Greet'.
- Old Shep from 'That's Entertainment': Rab's pet canary which he trains to attack people's groins. Rab is shown to be very fond of his pet and refers to him as a "pit bull canary". Shep was killed during Young Young McGurn's suicidal dive from a tower block, and was given a Viking funeral, with an empty beer can as the boat and part of a Corn Flakes box as a sail.
- Peter The Warlock portrayed by Peter Mullan from 'Life Has Meaning': a Devil worshipper who, after feeling insulted by Rab, places a hex on him, resulting in a dart embedding itself into Rab's cranium. Owns a cloak allegedly once owned by Aleister Crowley (but is most often seen naked) as well as a dog with a unicorn-like horn. Last seen sprinting naked down the street pursued by a furious, pitchfork wielding, Rab. Some have speculated that the character was based on Peter J Carroll.
- Davina portrayed by David Tennant: a transsexual barmaid who, despite highly speculated gender, holds the affection of everyone.
- The Dosser portrayed by Russell Hunter from 'Ethics': A tramp who attempts to kill himself by jumping into the River Clyde within sight of Rab, who rescues him. The Dosser then blackmails Rab into taking care of him by threatening to commit suicide if he doesn't. In the end, Rab hires a hitman to get rid of him but attempts to call him off when he discovers that the whole thing is a scam.
- The Hitman portrayed by Freddie Boardley from 'Ethics': A hitman hired by Rab to do away with the tramp who is conning him. Appears to have made his career choice by reasons of enjoyment rather than necessity, as when Rab asks him to desist from the murder but keep the money he responds "keep the money, I'll just dae the malky anyway!" In response Rab hits him over the head with a trashcan cover, and he falls into the river, sinking from sight; this prompts Rab to say "An' I always thought shite floated."
- Dabbo portrayed by Kevin Bridges is seen living in a lift after he is kicked out of his house for keeping a dolphin in a bathtub. The dolphin had bit his hand off so he decided to get a dog, a (Jack Russell). Jamesie pays him 50p to watch his bed which he was planning to give to an immigrant living in a flat but when he comes back Dabbo and the bed and all of his possessions he had in the lift are gone. He is last seen by Ella coming down the street with the bed.
- The Heebie Jeebie voiced by Russell Hunter from 'Drink': is a pink elephant that only Rab can see (Cotter can see it at the end of the episode) it trys to convince him not to give up drinking.
- Chingford Steel portrayed by Richard E. Grant is the government minister for work who Mary takes hostage and was made to dress up like Rab and make a ransom video in Scottish accent. He was later freed.
The programme was first broadcast on 27 September 1990 and ran for eight series, finishing on 18 June 1999. The show returned for a Christmas special on 23 December 2008, which received a good critical response and high audience figures, leading to a 9th series being commissioned by the BBC for broadcast in 2010. Filming commenced in February 2010. 
A 10th series of Rab C Nesbitt aired on 5 October 2011. A Christmas special was also aired on BBC Two in December 2013.
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with List of Rab C. Nesbitt episodes. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2011.|
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|1||6||1990||5 July 2004||1|
|Series one began airing on 27 September 1990 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|2||6||1992||18 October 2004||1|
|Series two began airing on 14 May 1992 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|3||6||1993||28 May 2005||1|
|Series three began airing on 23 November 1993 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|4||6||1994||1 August 2005||1|
|Series four began airing on 19 September 1994 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|5||6||1996||4 December 2006||1|
|Series five began airing on 5 January 1996 and featured a total of 6 episodes.|
|6||6||1997||15 October 2007||1|
|Series six began airing on 1 August 1997 and featured a total of 6 episodes.|
|7||6||1998||15 October 2007||1|
|Series seven began airing on 21 August 1998 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|8||6||1999||15 October 2007||1|
|Series eight began airing on 14 May 1999 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|9||6||2010||1 March 2010||1|
|Series nine began airing on 21 January 2010 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
|10||6||2011||12 December 2011||1|
|Series ten began airing on 5 October 2011 and featured a total of 6 episodes|
In addition to the ten series, the Christmas specials "A Seasonal Greet" and "Clean", the two other feature length specials "Fitba" and "Home".
Series one to eight of Rab C. Nesbitt has been released in both VHS and DVD format, in addition to this, several VHS were released, with each series being split into two parts, with three episodes on each video, and a complete DVD of series one to eight, which includes the specials "Seasonal Greet", "Fitba", "Home", "More" and the 2008 special "Clean" are included. Series nine was released as a single edition on DVD and Series ten was released in late 2011.
A live Rab C. Nesbitt show has been released along with a novel entitled A Stranger Here Myself, written as Rab's autobiography, and two script books.
- 'Rab C Nesbitt' to return on BBC Two Digital Spy, 23 August 2008
- Gregor Fisher on Rab C Nesbitt - The Telegraph, 15 January 2010
- Rab C. writer on show's return -The Sun, 19 January 2010
- Rab C. Nesbitt at BBC Online Comedy Guide
- Rab C. Nesbitt at BBC Programmes
- Rab C. Nesbitt at Phill.co.uk
- Rab C. Nesbitt at the BFI's Screenonline
- Rab C. Nesbitt at The Comedy Unit
- Rab C. Nesbitt at the Internet Movie Database
- Rab C. Nesbitt at the British Comedy Guide