Still Game

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television

Still Game

Still Game title card
Genre Sitcom
Running time 30 minutes
Starring Greg Hemphill,
Ford Kiernan
Country of origin Scotland
Original channel BBC Two
(originally BBC One Scotland)
Original run September 1, 2002–present
Official website
IMDb profile summary

Still Game is a Scottish sitcom, a spin-off from the sketch show series Chewin' the Fat. Originally beginning as a stage play, it was created by Chewin' The Fat's Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who also play the lead characters. Since it debuted on September 1st, 2002, Still Game has shown thirty four episodes, including the Christmas special.

The title refers to the antics of two Glaswegian pensioners named Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade. Set in Craiglang, a fictional district of Glasgow, the show follows the lives of Jack, Victor and their various friends. The show started its first series being broadcast on BBC One Scotland; the further two series followed suit. It was not until the fourth series that Still Game was given a national broadcast on BBC Two. Since then, the show has gained favourable critical reviews and attracted many fans.


Still Game was originally a stage play featuring the characters of Jack Jarvis, Victor McDade and Winston Ingram; the three were retained for the show. In this version, due to a broken lift, the three old men are stranded in Victor's flat, where they 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 VHS.

Many changes occurred when the play made its transition to television. Gavin Mitchell, who originally played Winston (and was replaced with Paul Riley for later performances), now plays the part of Boaby the Barman in the television series. Later television characters Tam Mullen and Isa Drennan are also mentioned in the play but with differences to their counterparts. Notably, Winston refers to his home help catching him dancing in the bookies, a scene that would later be re-used for series two of the show.

In 1998, characters Jack and Victor appeared in a tongue-in-cheek documentary about Scottish pop music called Och Around the Clock, presented by Dougie Vipond. They appeared in a number of skits spread throughout the show, in which they were shown to be watching the show in Victor's flat. In a similar manner to the Muppet characters of Statler and Waldorf, the skit centred on them making disparaging comments about the performers.

The characters were then featured in Kiernan and Hemphill's sketch show Chewin' the Fat. Nearly every episode of Chewin' The Fat featured Jack, Victor, Tam and Winston singing in the pub, usually accompanied with another sketch featuring just Jack and Victor. By the time Still Game was thought of as its own show, Winston's appearance had been drastically changed but was still played by Paul Riley. As the show progressed into later series, characters such as Winston, Isa and the local shopkeeper, Navid Harrid have become more popular.



  • Ford Kiernan as Jack Jarvis
  • Greg Hemphill as Victor McDade
  • Paul Riley as Winston Ingram
  • Gavin Mitchell as Boaby the Barman
  • Sanjeev Kohli as Navid Harrid
  • Mark Cox as Tam Mullen
  • Jane McCarry as Isa Drennan

Guest stars

  • Sylvester McCoy as Archie, a recluse in the episode "Oot".
  • Billy Boyd as a young man in the train station in the episode "Faimly".
  • Celia Imrie as Mrs Begg, a woman who worked as Winston's home help in the episode "Wummin'".
  • Tom Urie as Martin, who argued with his mother over Snowball cakes in the episode "Brief".
  • Clive Russell played the part of "Big Innes", an old of Jack and Victor's who helps to sort out the local hooligans as a favour to them. He featured in the episode "Big Yin".
  • Brian Pettifer as Bert Findley, a depressed widower in the episode "Wummin'".
  • Robbie Coltrane as Davie, a disturbed Dial-A-Bus driver in the episode "Dial-A-Bus".
  • John McCririck as himself in the episode "Drama", appearing on Winston's television.
  • Bill Torrance as himself, presenting a mock-up edition of BBC Scotland's long-running gardening programme Beechgrove Garden. This featured in the episode "Hard Nuts".
  • Dorothy Paul as Molly, Frances' sister who develops a crush on Tam. She appeared in the series finale ("Saucy") of series five.

Filming locations

Although Still Game is set in the fictional Craiglang, Glasgow has been used for filming purposes, specifically the Maryhill area. The Forth and Clyde Canal and its locks are used in background shots, as are the high-rise tower blocks. For the first three series of the show, a real pub ("The Gimlet") 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 tore the building down, causing the fourth series production team to build an exterior in a set in Dumbarton, the same lot where River City is filmed.

Finport, as mentioned and seen in the fifth series, was actually 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 pub scene is set in the Royal Oak pub in Largs, while the bed and breakfast, where Jack and Victor stay the night in, is located in the north end of Largs promenade. In the scene where Jack and Victor find Winston, a wide panning shot reveals the famous Nardini ice-cream building and the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Millport.

Series summaries

For the show's first two 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 Great Britain. On December 28 2005, Still Game's 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, the first three series have not been shown nationally.

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

Note: Each series is not set one year after the previous one. Like The Simpsons, the events of Still Game are 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
1st September - 7th October 2003
BBC One Scotland
Series 2
March 29th - May 24th 2003
BBC One Scotland
Series 3
January 17th - February 21st 2004
BBC One Scotland
Series 4
July 22nd - August 26th 2005
2005 Xmas special
December 28th 2005
Series 5
June 19th - July 24th 2006
Series 6

Series 1 (2002)

In the first episode ("Flittin'"), we see Jack escaping his neighbours from hell to relocate to a flat near Victor. The second episode ("Faimly") sees Victor awaiting a visit from his son, John who stays in Johannesburg. Disturbed by a garbled answer machine message from him, Jack and Victor set out to discover what it says and when he's due to arrive. The third episode ("Cauld") shows the residents of Craiglang experiencing one of the coldest winters in years but are helped, in the end, by Winston who gives them a sly solution to their problem. In the next episode ("Courtin'"), Jack develops a crush on Barbara, the woman from the charity shop, leaving Victor feeling left out due to his friend's new romance. It's the wedding of the year in the fifth episode ("Waddin'") and both Jack and Victor still haven't received an invite; they decide to do something about it. In the last of the first series ("Scones"), Jack and Victor are tired of their friend, Tam Mullen being lucky all the time and attempt to win a competition involving scones. This leads to them creating jingles of their own, complete with their own humour.

Series 2 (2003)

The second series begins ("Gairden") with the residents of Craiglang being terrorised by the local hooligans ( Neds) but the pensioners have had enough and decide to make their own haven they can escape to. The second episode ("Wummin'") sees Jack and Victor trying to help their friend Bert Findley after the loss of his wife. Winston is also having troubles with a suspicious home help (guest star Celia Imrie). The third in the series ("Doacters") involves Jack and Victor experimenting with a new " yankee pill" to try and make them feel young again. Meanwhile both Tam and Winston are smitten with the new librarian, Frances. In the next episode ("Brief") Victor buys a new car, hoping it will give him the freedom he always wanted but it ends up that he is the one being taken for a ride. The next two episodes ("Tappin'" and "Scran", respectively) involves a money-lender in Craiglang and Jack and Victor taking control of Navid's shop. The seventh episode ("Shooglies") revolves around Jack and Victor celebrating their sixtieth year as friends. The eighth ("Buntin'") involves Craiglang's suspicion about the local alcoholic (Pete the Jakey) acquiring a job at the council's new "facility". The series finale ("Dug") sees Jack making arrangements to visit his daughter, Fiona in Canada. Asked to come, Victor initially refuses but in the end, goes with his friend on the holiday.

Series 3 (2004)

Series three kicks off ("Hoaliday") with Jack and Victor arriving in Canada to visit Fiona. Just like in Scotland, the two get up to more mischief than the usual pensioners. The second episode ("Swottin'") sees Jack and Victor back home and on the hunt for more adventures; in this case, enrolling in a night class for first-aid. The next episode ("Cairds") involves the pensioners of Craiglang attempting to win back a crippled man's electric scooter from Tam. The fourth episode ("Big Yin") guest stars Clive Russell as Jack and Victor's old friend, "Big Innes". He hopes to rid the town of hooligans; that is, if he can stay away from Midori long enough. "Oot" sees a recluse being tempted out of his home due to it being demolished. Scared by the inventions over the years, Jack and Victor try to encourage him into a new world. The third series ends with "Aff". Isa is told by a psychic in the pub that she will be ran over by a silver car. Terrified at the notion, the episode follows her struggle with destiny.

Series 4 (2005)

"Kill Wullie" starts the fourth series of Still Game, showing Jack and Victor's friend of the title dating a younger woman. Rumours abound in Craiglang that his mistress is trying to bump him off. The second episode ("Wireless") involves the two friends taking up the local hospital's radio station and gaining quite a fanbase in the process. "Dial-A-Bus", the third episode, sends Jack and Victor on a crazed bus journey driven by Davie, guest star Robbie Coltrane. The fourth episode ("Ring") sees Tam wedding Frances, his sweetheart from the second series. As always in Craiglang, things never go to plan. The penultimate episode of series four, "Hatch" involves Jack and Victor trying to stop neighbour Isa's constant prying. In the series finale ("Who's The Daddy?"), Jack, Victor and Winston fear they may have fathered a child in their teenage years.

2005 Christmas Special

In the 2005 Christmas special, "Cold Turkey", Jack and Victor fear for their Christmas dinner after being nasty to Isa and Winston gets to grips with his.

Series 5 (2006)

Series five starts with ("Drama"), the episode in which Jack and Victor visit a whisky distillery. Winston also faces an old rival. The second episode, ("A Fresh Lick"), sees the pensioners putting on their decorator's overalls to redesign Isa's flat. In their usual style, the two have trouble adjusting to the job at hand. ("Smoke On The Water"), the third episode, sets Jack and Victor sail in celebration of Victor's 75th birthday. The two decide, along with Winston, to take a sail down the local river. The fourth episode ("Hard Nuts") sees Boaby the Barman's chance to be on television. Unbeknownst to him at first, the programme is "Blighty's Hardest Boozers". ("All The Best") is series five's fifth episode and the sad farewell to Winston as he leaves Craiglang for the seaside resort of Finport. The series finale, ("Saucy"), stars entertainer Dorothy Paul in a guest role as Tam's sister-in-law, Molly who he develops a crush on. Meanwhile, Jack and Victor arrange to visit Winston in Finport but when they arrive, they see his life isn't all it's said to be.

Series 6 and future series (2007-)

The Internet Movie Database currently have Still Game listed for a sixth series, scheduled to be shown in May 2007. In July, 2006, Scotland on Sunday exclusively revealed that the BBC have commissioned a new series and that it would be six episodes long, like the previous two series. When questioned about any further series (after the sixth), creator Ford Kiernan said he believed there was at least "three more series" worth of ideas for the show and that they are "not finished with Jack and Victor's story by a long shot".

In April 2006, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, in an interview with The Scotsman, revealed that Jack and Victor would be killed off at the end of the last ever series of the show. They said: "We have an ending, definitely. We know what's going to happen to them." but refused to divulge how the pair would meet their maker. In October 2006, Jane McCarry (Isa) said that they hope to do another Christmas special and another series next year (2007).

Critical response

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". 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."

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. 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". Still Game has attracted interest from known screen legends, such as Sean Connery (who even requested a role in the show). Actor Bill Nighy is also reported to be a fan, calling upon the distinct Glaswegian accent for a role. 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.

Once again, Still Game has been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award for the "Most Popular Television" category. Other contenders include Rebus and Taggart.

Errors and inconsistencies

  • In the credits of series one to three, Navid was listed as Navid Ingram; Ingram being Winston's surname. The error was removed for series four and subsequent DVD releases.
  • In the episode, "Courtin'", Jack and Victor tell the charity shop worker, Barbara, that they are from Craigbank, a real area in Glasgow. They were meant to say Craiglang, the fictional district where the show is set.
  • In the episode "Big Yin", when Jack and Victor mention "Big Innes" to Navid, they say that Innes was before Navid's time and that he lived in Craiglang up until about fifteen years ago. Yet in the episode "Oot", when Isa is giving a rundown of past events, when the year 1974 appears, there is a man obviously meant to be a young Navid.
  • In "Flittin'", Victor says that his son who lives in Johannesburg is called Jamie. He's actually called John. The names John and Jack are often used by the older generation in Scotland to address someone whose first name is James, so it could be said that Victor was correct to call his son Jamie.
  • In the episode, "Shooglies", Jack and Victor spend a day in Glasgow City Centre. When returning on the bus, they decide to pay a visit to the Glasgow Transport Museum. However, the shot of Jack and Victor getting off the bus indicates that it's actually heading from Partick into the City Centre, rather than away from it.
  • In the same episode when Jack and Victor get off the bus at the Transport Museum, you can clearly see that in the background it is a pleasant dry day but in the scene on the museum steps, it is dull and raining. The ground is also very wet looking, indicating that it has been raining for some time.
  • Series one was not aired in the same order that it was originally intended to be. This led to a continuity error in "Scones" in which Navid owns a painting of the Taj Mahal. This is the exact same as the one Winston gives to him in the following episode "Waddin'". This error was fixed in the DVD release.
  • In the very first episode ("Flittin'"), when Jack is moving house, he and Victor are sitting on Jack's sofa. Victor comments to Jack, "Seventy-four years on the planet and this is all you have amassed." It later emerges, in the episode "Scran", that Jack is infact just seventy-two years old. However, Victor could be referring to his own birthdate.


  • Just before the fifth series started filming, a pest control team had to be called in to the 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 series is made by the Comedy Unit production company who also made Chewin' the Fat and Rab C. Nesbitt.
  • In the episode "A Fresh Lick", Navid is distracted with the videotape in the back of the shop. The customer he is meant to be serving eventually says she will go to "Kohli's". This is a nod to Sanjeev Kohli, who plays the part of Navid.
  • Scotland's under-nineteen football team were noted to have watched Still Game before going on to win against the Czech Republic in the 2006 European Under-19 Football Championship.
  • The theme tune is a shortened version of a track by the Cuban Boys entitled: "Cuban Boy (Cuban Boys Go Boom! mix), which features on their debut album Blueprint from Modernisation. The full length version can be downloaded from their official website. This theme has been replaced with a different theme in the DVD release to avoid copyright restrictions. However, the DVDs of the first three series released in Scotland between 2002 and 2004 have the original theme.

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