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Jack and Victor have broken out of Chewin' The Fat and now have their own six part series on BBC One Scotland. These Glaswegian patter merchants may be long in the tooth but they're Still Game for all kinds of carry-on. Written by
David Nisbet <email@example.com>
All of the cigarette packets behind Navid's counter in the convenience store were empty, and most of the liquor bottles were filled with colored fruit juices. The foodstuffs in the set however were real although some of it was past the expiration date. See more »
The fourth series of Still Game recently finished on BBC2. This was the first time it had been shown nationwide and, thankfully, the unthinkable didn't happen. The slang. the swearing, the banter and the accents were all present and correct. You've got to hand it to the BBC for choosing not to tone down the dialect, if they'd been allowed to anglicise Still Game it just wouldn't be the same. I recently met the show's creators Ford Kiernon and Greg Hemphill at a book-signing and when they were quizzed over the possibility of Still Game being toned down, Kiernon replied, "Naw, they can get it up them!". Rapturous applause followed.
You wouldn't think this programme was now in its fourth series, it still feels as sharp and fresh as it did back in 2002. While most programmes, like Ford and Greg's own Chewin' The Fat for example, tend to go downhill after a couple of runs, Still Game seems to improve with each series. Admittedly most of the laughs consist of old people swearing at each other but the excellent cast deliver their put-downs with gusto. The two leads, Kiernon in particular, make very convincing pensioners; little touches like shuffling slightly and muttering under their breath work well.
The supporting cast are excellent as well. Jane McCarry, who plays "nosey old cow" Isa, sounds frighteningly like an old woman and her double act with Paul Riley's Winston is uproarious. Gavin Mitchell as Bobby the barman and Mark Cox as tight-fisted Tam are also excellent. But the absolute standout is Sanjeev Kohli as the acid-tongued shopkeeper Navid, Still Game's ultimate scene-stealer. Scottish dialect delivered in an Indian accent is funny in a way you've never heard and his horrific remarks to his wife Mena (whose face is always hidden) are comedy gold.
Along with being consistently hilarious, Still Game is occasionally very touching; Jack memories of his late wife and Victor's strained relationship with his son are bring a real pathos and humanity to the proceedings. These moments are quiet and understated, giving Still Game a maturity that Chewin' The Fat lacked.
Whether or not the folks down south got it or not is still unclear, some dreadful reviews would suggest not, but who gives a toss as Scotland once again has a sitcom it can really be proud of. Easily a match for Rab C Nesbitt, Still Game is a hilarious, bittersweet and thoughtful look at life through the eyes of the elderly - and a real celebration of Scottish, particularly Glasgow, culture. Long live Still Game!
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