Still Game

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Still Game
Still Game Title Card.png
Still Game title card (2002-Present), showing Victor McDade (left) and Jack Jarvis
Genre Sitcom
Created by Greg Hemphill
Ford Kiernan
Developed by Greg Hemphill
Ford Kiernan
Directed by Michael Hines
Starring Greg Hemphill
Ford Kiernan
Paul Riley
Jane McCarry
Mark Cox
Sanjeev Kohli
Gavin Mitchell
Theme music composer Frank Chacksfield, Cuban Boys
Country of origin Scotland
Original language(s) Scots, English
No. of seasons 6 + 1 Live Show
No. of episodes 45 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Greg Hemphill
Ford Kiernan
Producer(s) Colin Gilbert
Michael Hines
Ewan Angus
Location(s) Glasgow, Scotland
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) The Comedy Unit
Effingee Productions
BBC Scotland
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
(originally BBC One Scotland)
Chronology
Related shows Chewin' the Fat
External links
Website

Still Game is a Scottish sitcom, produced by The Comedy Unit with the BBC. It was created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who play the lead characters, two Glaswegian pensioners, named Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade respectively. The characters were originally from Ford and Greg's previous show Chewin the Fat.

Following its debut on 1 September 2002 forty-four episodes of Still Game were aired, including Christmas and Hogmanay specials. The first three series were broadcast only on BBC One Scotland, though five episodes compiled from the first two series were later broadcast throughout the UK on BBC Two in January–February 2004. All subsequent episodes received UK-wide broadcasts on BBC Two. The show enjoyed higher ratings than its neighbours on the BBC Two Comedy Zone and received wide critical acclaim.

History[edit]

The stage play of Still Game

Still Game started as a stage play featuring three characters: Jack Jarvis, Victor McDade, and Winston Ingram. Due to a broken lift, the three men are stranded in Victor's flat and discuss a variety of subjects ranging from death to sex. The stage play toured Scotland, England, Ireland and Canada before returning to Glasgow, where it was filmed and released on video and DVD.

A small number of revisions accompanied Still Game's transition from stage to television. Gavin Mitchell, who originally played Winston (and was replaced by Paul Riley for later performances), played the part of Boabby the Barman in the series. Characters mentioned in passing were later fleshed out into supporting characters.

In 1998 Jack and Victor appeared in a number of skits in a tongue-in-cheek documentary about Scottish pop music called Och Around the Clock. In these they are shown to be watching while sitting in Victor's flat. As with the Muppet characters Statler and Waldorf, their skits centred on the duo's disparaging comments about the performers.

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 counterparts in the series. By the time Still Game became a show in its own right Winston's physical appearance had changed significantly, but he was still played by Paul Riley. As the show evolved, supporting characters assumed greater prominence. Jack and Victor made their final appearance on Chewin' the Fat in the 2002 Hogmanay Special.

The sixth series of Still Game ended on BBC Two on 23 August 2007. A Christmas special was aired on BBC One Scotland on 23 December and for the rest of the UK on BBC Two on 28 December. There was also a Hogmanay special called "Hootenanny" aired on BBC One Scotland, later aired to the rest of the UK on 2 January 2008.

Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill and Paul Riley's company Effingee Productions is thought to have split up after Riley walked away to go it alone after being refused more control over the future of the company by Kiernan. Hemphill stated that he didn't want a "boardroom battle".[1]

On October 15, 2013, the Daily Record ran a front page story that the show would be returning. On October 23, 2013, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill announced details of live shows at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow at a press conference. They were scheduled to perform four shows beginning in September 2014, but due to high demand it was extended to 16 then 21 shows.[2]

The 21 shows at The Hydro ran from September 19, 2014 until October 10, 2014, played to 210,000 fans and made £6 million in ticket sales.[3]

In November 2014, a special sketch featuring Jack and Victor visiting the set of River City was made for Children in Need.

Series summaries[edit]

For the show's first three series the broadcast of Still Game was limited to BBC One Scotland. The show was then moved to BBC Two for the fourth series and shown throughout the UK. On 28 December 2005 the first Christmas special was shown on BBC One, the first national broadcast of the show on the channel. A fifth series of the show started filming in February 2006 and was shown the following June on BBC Two. As of 2006 series three had not been shown nationally, and only five episodes from the first two series were shown on national BBC Two from 17 January to 14 February 2004. Series 2 was shown nationally from 10 July 2008. This meant it was listed as a new series in TV listings, even though it is not for Scottish viewers.

In the first three series the episode titles were all Glaswegian dialect words that were related to the episode. Starting from season four the episodes were titled using standard English so that general audiences could understand them.

The events of Still Game take place in a floating timeline where the characters remain the same age from series to series. One of the most prominent examples of this is that Victor reveals that he is 74 years old in "Scran", an episode of the second series, but it is not until the fifth series ("Smoke On The Water") that he celebrates his 75th birthday.

Series Still Game Airdates Channel
Series 1
1 September 2002 – 7 October 2002
BBC One Scotland
Series 2
29 March 2003 – 24 May 2003
10 July 2008 – 4 September 2008
BBC One Scotland
BBC Two
Series 3
17 June 2004 – 21 July 2004
BBC One Scotland
Series 4
22 July 2005 – 26 August 2005
BBC Two
2005 Christmas Special
28 December 2005
BBC One
Series 5
19 June 2006 – 24 July 2006
BBC Two
2006 Hogmanay Special
31 December 2006
1 January 2007
BBC One Scotland
BBC Two
Series 6
12 July 2007 – 23 August 2007
BBC Two
BBC One Scotland (Repeats)
2007 Christmas Special
23 December 2007
28 December 2007
BBC One Scotland
BBC Two
2007 Hogmanay Special
31 December 2007
2 January 2008
BBC One Scotland
BBC Two
2014 Live at the Hydro
7 November 2014
BBC One Scotland

Cast[edit]

Filming locations[edit]

Although Still Game is set in the fictional Craiglang area of Glasgow, the Maryhill district of the city is one of the most common filming locations. The first episode was set in the South Nitshill area of Glasgow where Jack lived before; they moved to the high rise flats.(South Nitshill was demolished shortly after filming and is now a Persimmons Homes development). The shops featured in the series can be found in the Townhead area of Glasgow. The Forth and Clyde Canal and its locks are used in background shots, along with the high-rise tower blocks and the one in which Jack and Victor live called "Osprey Heights". For the first three series of the show, a real pub ("The Gimlet") in Ruchill was used to film the exterior shots of the pub Jenny's, previously The Clansman. However, between series three and four, the owner of the pub had the building demolished, causing the fourth series production team to build an exterior in a set in the Glasgow North Media park, Maryhill. An outdoor market in Possilpark was used in the episode "Cauld" when the character Winston buys several electric heaters. The bingo scene in "Courtin" was filmed in the Gala bingo in Possilpark and was a scene that coincidentally brought 2 old friends together, as Paul Riley (Winston) and the Gala bingo caller used in filming Joe Houston, used to be friends when they were both young lads. Scene interiors (Jack and Victor's flats, hallways and the interior of Navid's shop) are specially constructed sets, built within a warehouse complex, now a Maryhill industrial estate (and called Craigmont Studios). Scenes from several episodes were also filmed in the Knightswood area of Glasgow, including exterior scenes in the episode 'Courtin', and the golf course scenes in the episode 'Tappin'.

Finport, as mentioned and seen in the fifth series, was filmed on location in Largs and Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, both of which were once popular seaside resorts with Glaswegians. The shots of the promenade and the sea wall is that of Saltcoats' harbour area. The café that Jack and Victor walk past is The Melbourne Café in Saltcoats. The pub scene is set in the Royal Oak pub in Largs, while the bed and breakfast where Jack and Victor stay the night is located at the north end of Largs promenade. In the scene where Jack and Victor arrive on the bus from the right in Finport this leads from the sea, there is no road there. In the scene where Jack and Victor find Winston, a wide panning shot reveals the famous Nardini's ice-cream building and the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Millport.

Ardgowan House, a late 18th-century mansion at Inverkip, Inverclyde, was used as the setting for Blair Tunnoch in the episode "Fly Society". Jack and Victor buy tickets for a meal and evening at the theatre from Tam who won them in a radio quiz. During the pre-theatre meal they meet two apparently sophisticated, attractive ladies, played by Una McLean and Jeannie Fisher, whom they try to impress with tales of overseas adventures and wealth. The women invite them to a country house party at Blair Tunnoch.

The area where Jack and Victor are sitting during the court recess in the episode 'Recipe' of Season 6 is the Main Lounge of The Crookston Hotel in Glasgow. The interior shots of the bakery in the same episode 'Recipe' were filmed at Pars Foods Limited in Balmore Industrial Estate Glasgow. Filming also took place at the Tunnocks factory in Uddingston.

The bar used during the Hogmanay Special in 2007, Hootenanny, was The Red Hoose in Dunipace, chosen by producers for its old world qualities.

Naveed's shop interior was in Hillington industrial estate.

The shots where Jack and Victor visit Barbara in her work were filmed in the Clydebank area of Glasgow. The interior of the shop was also filmed on site in a local charity shop which is still in use today.[4]

Merchandise[edit]

Official Still Game Merchandise www.stillgame.com

DVD Releases[edit]

DVD Title Discs Year No. of Ep. DVD release Notes
Region 2
Complete Series 1 1 2002 6 3 July 2006
Complete Series 2 2 2003 9 3 July 2006
Complete Series 3 1 2004 6 17 July 2006
Complete Series 4 1 2005 6 17 July 2006 Includes behind the scene's footage
Complete Series 5 1 2006 6 16 October 2006
Complete Series 6 1 2007 7 3 September 2007
Complete Specials 1 2005–2007 4 3 November 2008 Includes the specials from 2005, 2006 & 2007
Complete Series 1 - 5 6 2002–2006 33 16 October 2006
Complete Series 1 - 6 8 2002–2007 44 3 November 2008 Includes all of the specials
Still Game Live At The Hydro 1 2014 1 24 November 2014 Includes over one hour of Never Seen On TV

Critical response[edit]

Referring to the fifth series' finale, the Daily Record heralded for Still Game to be added to the ranks of the "greatest sitcoms ever". They called the episode "classic comedy" and said it was " a perfect mix of empathetic friendship, laugh-out-loud gags, real feeling in the acting and genuine warmth and chemistry between the characters".[5] The Daily Record also revealed Still Game was trouncing rivals The Catherine Tate Show and Steve Coogan's Saxondale with 300,000 and 700,000 more viewers respectively. Creator and star Ford Kiernan said of the ratings: "I am absolutely delighted. The figures have gradually increased - episode after episode."[6]

Still Game was criticised for its "reliance on expletives" by Teddy Jamieson, television critic for The Herald. He also commented that the sitcom "paints [Scotland] in broad strokes", through its use of stereotypes.[7] TV Today praised the show for being "refreshing" in the age of dying sitcoms. It said the show was funny in a "straight down the line way".[8] Still Game has attracted interest from known screen legends, such as Sean Connery (who even requested a role in the show).[9] Actor Bill Nighy is also reported to be a fan, calling upon the distinct Glaswegian accent for a role.[10] The show has won awards in both the 2004 and 2005 BAFTA Scotland awards and was named as the winner in the Best Broadcast category at the 2004 Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards.[11][12][13]

In 2006, Still Game was once again nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award for the "Most Popular Television" category. Other contenders included Rebus and Taggart.[14] Paul Riley, who plays Winston, was also awarded for his role in the show.[15]

Filming[edit]

Just before the fifth series started filming, a pest control team had to be called into the Maryhill studio set when it was discovered that rats had infested Navid's shop and were eating their way through the stock. The alarm was raised after Jane McCarry (Isa) found a dead rat on the set. The high rat population in the area was due to the proximity of the Forth and Clyde Canal.[16]

The theme music used on the TV broadcasts of the show is an excerpt from "Cuban Boy",[17] performed by The Cuban Boys, which is itself sampled from Frank Chacksfield's track of the same name from the album West of Sunset. Although it should be noted that on the DVD release of the Complete Series 1-6 (including all the specials), the opening and ending theme tune has been changed to an entirely different theme. The reason behind this is still unexplained, however licensing could be a possibility.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Evening Times". It’s game over for Scots comedy duo. Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  2. ^ Five more dates added for Still Game's Hydro show
  3. ^ Still Game pulls in £6million from 21 sell-out shows at the Hydro – paving the way for a new TV series
  4. ^ http://www.clyde-shoppingcentre.co.uk/map/storemap.aspx?UnitNo=SWS27&Shopcategory=Miscellaneous
  5. ^ "Daily Record". STILL GAME FOR A LAUGH, AND INTO THE BIG LEAGUE. Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  6. ^ "Daily Record". VICTOR IN BEEB RATINGS BATTLE. Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  7. ^ "The Herald". Grisly reality of the afterlife. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2006. 
  8. ^ "TV Today". Square eyes 24–28 July. Retrieved 4 August 2006. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Living.Scotsman.com". Still game for a laugh. Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  10. ^ "Daily Record". SKULL GAME. Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  11. ^ "BAFTA Scotland Awards". BAFTA Scotland Awards 2004 Winners. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  12. ^ "BAFTA Scotland Awards". BAFTA Scotland Awards 2005 Winners. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  13. ^ "Screenbiz.co.uk". THE SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND. Retrieved 17 August 2006. [dead link]
  14. ^ "BAFTA Scotland Awards". BAFTA Scotland Awards 2006 Winners. Retrieved 2 November 2006. 
  15. ^ "Chortle, the UK comedy guide". Game on - Still Game scoops Scottish Bafta. Retrieved 3 December 2006. 
  16. ^ "Daily Record". A FORD IN THE RIVER. Retrieved 4 August 2006. 
  17. ^ http://freespace.virgin.net/skreen.b/cuban_stillgame.htm

External links[edit]