The local bi-elections take place once again in Govan. Much to the irritation of the string vested philosopher.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Elaine C. Smith ...
Tony Roper ...
Eric Cullen ...
Andrew Fairlie ...
Kenny Ireland ...
Gavin Clark
Juliet Cadzow ...
Gift Shop Assistant
Jake D'Arcy ...
Hosie, Hugh
James Balloon McSwaggerty
Simon David ...
Iain McColl ...
Claire Nielson ...
Gift Shop Customer
John Shedden ...
Returning Officer
Charlie Sim ...


Rab wakes up from sleeping in a coffin to find Govan in the grip of by-election fever and all the candidates want his vote. Slimy old school-mate and Labour hopeful Gavin Clark sees the opportunity to grab a few votes by pretending to go back to his roots - not that it does him much good on the night. Mary, however, has a far more pressing problem when she discovers a rat in her kitchen. Written by don @ minifie-1

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4 October 1990 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

The Scotsman Who Voted Tory
7 January 2016 | by (Wallyford, East Lothian, Scotland) – See all my reviews

The second episode of the first series of 'Rab C. Nesbitt', the sitcom which took the viewing nation by storm.

A by-election is fast approaching in Govan, with the local S.N.P and Labour parties striving to gain power. One member of the Labour party, Gavin Clark, a first-class slimeball, tries to return to his old roots in order to tease more votes, but it is not as easy as he reckoned it to be.

Walking home from yet another binge, Rab is accosted by a weedy little man named Hugh Hosie ( the late Jake D'Arcy ), a spiv who sells doormats on the street from the boot of his car, who is canvassing on behalf of the Conservative party and pleads with Rab to vote for him ( many may remember at that time that the Tories had the lowest percentage of votes in Scotland ). Desperate to garner a vote, he offers Rab a free doormat in exchange for his vote. After an inner struggle, Rab relents, leading him to lament to the audience - ''why do I feel there is something symbolic about being bought off with a doormat?''.

At home, Mary panics on catching sight of a giant rat scuttling around in the kitchen, which is later crushed by Rab with a frying pan. Rab blames the high rat infestation on the 'trendies' moving into Govan following the decision by the European Union to elect Glasgow as 'the European City Of Culture. Later on, walking along the River Clyde, Rab bumps into Gavin Clark, who he recognises as an old school friend. Rab suggests that he accompany him to the pub to catch up with his old school mates. Initially, Gavin is reluctant but changes his mind when he realises that it may be his passport to Westminster...

The second episode is just as good as the first. By now, viewers knew just what to expect from the lovable rogue that was Rab. 'Rat' boasts many witty lines, such as Rab trying to rebuff Hosie whilst he tries to wheedle a vote out of him - ''The secret of the ballot box is between me and my conscience. That's if I happen to be conscious at the time, of course!''. The late Kenny Ireland's Gavin Clark is a truly nasty piece of work. Listen to the way he rounds on Rab upon seeing him for the first time ( ''some of us have to work, some of us have to fight by-elections and some of us have to carry the flaming torch of pragmatic socialism through p**s-stinking low-life dunnies and with only a measly half-hour for lunch!'' ). Try and imagine Alan B'Stard from 'The New Statesman' as a Labour M.P and you should get an idea what the character is like.

Hugh Hosie appeared once more in the series two instalment 'Life Has Meaning' but after that was never seen again. Juliet Cadzow plays the gift shop proprietor who Rab has a run-in with and Claire Neilsen plays the snooty customer, both of which appeared with Gregor alongside Rikki Fulton in the long running 'Scotch & Wry'. My late friend David McNiven ( who was also the show's musical composer ) plays Clatty McCuttcheon, a down-and-out penny whistle player who has one eye and one leg, who according to Dougie at the Two Ways, 'spins more yarns than Taiwan'.

Funniest moment - the aforementioned scene in which Rab squashes the rat with a frying pan after he makes the discovery that the rodent has eaten his dinner! Second funniest moment - Enraged at seeing a caricature of himself hanging up in the gift shop window, Rab takes the dead rat from his pocket, bites its head off and spits it onto the shop window, where it sticks. The proprietor screams in terror!

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