Remembering Scotland’s best-loved pensioners

Credit: Alan Peebles

Joseph Hutchison

An obituary for the finale of Still Game after 17 years on the telly.

As Jack Jarvis once said; “He who hingeth aboot getteth hee haw”. Creators of Still Game, Greg Hemphill (who happened to be the University’s Rector from 2001-2004) and Ford Kiernan, are sticking to that wise proverb with a brief one-off run of Still Game: The Final Farewell to conclude the journey of Jack and Victor. With its ending goes the most beloved show in Scotland – starting where it began, 20 years later, on the stage. And it really gave us a solid 20 years; from the Fringe, to Chewin’ The Fat, to its own show, by capturing a Glasgow that the city would recognise – jakeys, high-rises, long days in the pub. But it also showed us people with strength of character, wit, and warmth unmatched anywhere in the world. This presented a Scotland that you’d be happy to call accurate, and proud to call home. 

It will hold a special place in a Scottish generation who knew it as the most quoted show in the playground. For years you couldn’t go through a lunchtime without someone hitting out a variation of, “back aff, ya spooky bitch”, “maybe if ye dae a jobby, Martin, yer maw can wipe yer arse for ye, Martin” or “I like the PlayStation, do you like the PlayStation?” in the lunch hall. But it was culturally significant too, paving the way for Scottish comedy in its image, seen in shows such as Burnistoun and Gary: Tank Commander, showing that Scots language TV could be popular on mainstream British television and around the world. Above all, it made people happy. Maybe this would all be decried as “birthday caird pish” by Jack, but Glasgow, and indeed Scotland as a whole, will be a little bit worse with Jack and Victor not a part of it anymore.


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