The Cinematique’s Top 10 Still Game episodes

A year ago, I was recommended a Scottish programme that I had never heard of or seen before. That programme was the golden-oldies sitcom Still Game, a witty series about a group of cranky pensioners living in the rough Scottish town of Craiglang.

Created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, this hidden gem of a sitcom ran between 2002 and 2007 and consisted of six series and four Christmas (or Hogmany) specials.

But almost a decade since their last appearance on the small screen, old friends Jack Jarvis (Kiernan) and Victor McDade (Hemphill) are finally making their long-awaited television return with an upcoming seventh series that premieres tomorrow on BBC One.

In preparation for its comeback, I have compiled my Top 10 (“that’s plenty!”) favourite episodes of Still Game which consists of some wee memorable moments involving a ring, a giant, a psychotic bus driver, some American pills and more.

So sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of Midori as the countdown for my number one episode begins:

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Cauld (Series 1), Courtin (Series 1), Waddin (Series 1), Gairden (Series 2), Scran (Series 2), Shooglies (Series 2), Dug (Series 2), Hoaliday (Series 3), Aff (Series 3), Kill Wullie (Series 4), Hatch (Series 4), Smoke on the Water (Series 5), Hard Nuts (Series 5), Hot Seat (Series 6), Fly Society (Series 6).


#10 – Wummin (Series 2, Episode 1)

The countdown begins with this opener to Series 2 as Jack and Victor try to help their recently-widowed friend Bert (Brian Pettifer) when it becomes clear that he is unable to look after himself. Unfortunately this culminates with them having to move a pot of pish that he has hidden under his bed in a scene highly regarded as one of the funniest Still Game moments.

The episode also ties in well with Winston’s subplot as the fiery pensioner gets some home help from the strict Mrs Begg (played by renowned British actress Celia Imrie) but has to lie about having a dodgy leg (which would come back to haunt him). That ‘dodgy leg’ is also humorously referenced in the episode’s cracking post-credits scene as Jack, Victor and Winston come up with a rude musical tribute to Mrs Begg.


#9 – A Fresh Lick (Series 5, Episode 2)

Jack and Victor’s offer to redecorate Isa’s flat inevitably leads to trouble in this top notch episode. The duo convince her to jib off original choice Chris the Postie but things go awry during a visit to the DIY store and in the actual flat itself. These antics are cringe-inducing (never trust Victor with a power tool!) though their mishaps are resolved in a convenient way thanks to Chris.

Meanwhile, Tam stumbles across a videotape belonging to Boaby that shows the Clansman barman taking part in his own porno many years ago. As expected, the male Craiglang regulars get to watch the tape but Boaby finds out and is left humiliated when Shug accidentally plays the footage on a giant screen outside the local shopping centre! Oooer….


#8 – Big Yin (Series 3, Episode 4)

A fun inclusion to the list sees Craiglang overrun by neds (Scottish chavs) which leads to Jack and Victor taking action by contacting their old friend Big Innes. Played by established Scottish actor Clive Russell (recently seen as the Blackfish in Game of Thrones), Innes is a giant of a man who has the ability to eat entire boxes of cereal and large steaks yet he can also block Isa’s toilet with his excrement! However his weakness for Midori causes concern for Jack and Victor as the pair desperately try to hide the liqueur from their tall friend.

We also get to see Winston working in a supermarket though the job proves frustrating for him as he deals with ridicule from his younger colleagues. It’s a daft but enjoyable episode that inevitably leads to Innes creating havoc in the climax!

Word to the wise, never leave Midori when a big bloke is around!


#7 – Lights Out (Series 6, Episode 3)

Even in its sixth series, Still Game managed to maintain its strong consistency particularly in this satisfying episode. When a truck crashes into the electric sub-station, the people of Craiglang are left without power which leads to mass panic. Worst still, a burglar is going around stealing from their homes with Isa’s flat amongst those being targeted. Aided by the help of their big-eared friend Shug (Paul Young), Jack and Victor decide to protect themselves with a turkey basker filled with blue ink which results in poor Isa getting accidentally sprayed.

The best part of the episode is saved for the final few minutes as a couple of burglars dressed as policemen steal the pensioner’s belongings and attempt to flee in the lift. Fortunately, the crowd-pleasing payoff comes from Winston as he takes the pair out with the old snooker ball in a sock.

Round of applause for Mr Ingram!


#6 – Hogmany Special: The Party (Series 5, Episode 7)

The origins of our old heroes are explored brilliantly in the classic Hogmany special set between past and present. Here we have Jack, Victor, Winston and Isa getting themselves ready to celebrate Hogmany only for their lift to break down. Realising that they may struggle for help (plus Winston REALLY needs to go for a pish!), the group reminisce about their first Hogmany together which leads to a flashback that takes place in the 1970s.

This section of the episode is a lot of fun to watch as we see Kiernan, Hemphill and the rest of the cast getting a rare opportunity to appear as their actual selves (barring the 70s makeup of course). It’s a refreshing outlook on the characters plus it’s nice to see Jack and Victor’s wives appear properly for the first time.

It’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to see a prequel but nevertheless, it’s a terrific episode that injects plenty of humour in both time periods.

#5 – Ring (Series 4, Episode 4)

The first time I ever clapped eyes on Still Game was from this riotous episode which sees Tam and his librarian fiancee Frances (Kate Donnelly) preparing to get married. Jack, Victor and co. decide to take responsibility of sorting out Tam’s stag night / wedding ceremony even if it all ends up being a cheap affair (pies from Greggs anyone?). However things are further complicated when Jack accidentally swallows the groom’s wedding ring whilst pulling off a trick.

This results in a lot of hysterical toilet humour as the pair face a race against time to get the ring to the soon-to-be newlyweds. We also get an enjoyable subplot in which Navid has to deal with his shop being converted into a Spire store though he eventually decides to stand his ground when his new employers try to get rid of Isa.

You can always bank on community spirit in Still Game!


#4 – Swottin (Series 3, Episode 2)

After being bored of sitting around at home, Jack and Victor decide to become bookworms in this exceptional episode that is strengthened by its hysterical climax. As the pair start to learn about medical training at their university, they soon begin to experience the bad habits of being a student as they choose to ditch attending lectures in favour of drinking heavily.

Meanwhile Boaby decides to organise a pub quiz at the Clansman but is left red-faced when he takes his flirtiness with the pretty quizmaster too far. The role is eventually taken by series-favourite Edith (Maureen Carr) who makes a welcoming return after her memorable appearance in the Series 1 episode ‘Courtin’.

This leads to a fantastic ending as failed students Jack and Victor are called upon to deal with a woman going into labour which results in the pair of them (along with Winston and Boaby) fainting in a matter of seconds. Hilarious stuff from an episode that also includes Navid’s epic Anne Robinson rant!


#3 – Dial-A-Bus (Series 4, Episode 3)

An exhilarating entry to the list sees four different storylines take place in an episode that features a memorable guest appearance from one Scotland’s great actors. The central plot sees Jack and Victor decide to take the lazy option of using a Dial-A-Bus to transport them to the Clansman. However driver Davie (played by Cracker and Harry Potter star Robbie Coltrane) begins to act strangely and then proceeds to go on a driving frenzy that leaves the pair and Isa in trouble.

Elsewhere Boaby goes on a rare break out in the country but doesn’t count on a scheming Winston hijacking the bar while Tam and Navid endure a hectic time at the Cash N Carry. It’s an entertaining episode that heavily involves all seven main characters but it’s Coltrane who steals the show in a role that he clearly had a lot of fun playing.

Just make sure you don’t mention doughnuts to him…..


#2 – Doacters (Series 2, Episode 3)

Just short of my number one spot is this smashing entry from Series 2 which benefits from having two terrific storylines. Firstly Jack and Victor become bored of wasting their lives away and decide to follow in the footsteps of their friend Stewart (Alec Heggie) by getting their hands on an American drug that can make them more active. Their new investment seems to work a treat especially when they decide to show off their new lease of life by dancing away to Daniel Boone’s classic song “Beautiful Sunday”, one of the more iconic moments from the sitcom.

But like always, things go wrong as proven in the final scene where they discover the drug has side-effects. The other major subplot sees Winston and Tam battle for the affections of librarian Frances by proving their passion for books. The latter eventually triumphs but Winston has his revenge in the most disgusting yet satisfying way.

A lot of people will never look at ‘War and Peace’ the same again!


#1 – Drama (Series 5, Episode 1)

A close call in the end, but my all-time favourite episode is a pure rollercoaster of nerves as Winston takes centre stage. Upon discovering that his old nemesis Stevie the Bookie (Matt Costello) is back in town with a new identity, he vows to finally get the £30,000 he deservedly won back in Series 3. His bid doesn’t get off to the best of starts when he accidentally assaults a horse but the satisfying moment when he and Tam deceive Stevie in the toilets is definitely one for us fans to savour.

However we find ourselves feeling tortured again when Winston is hounded in his mind by horse-racing expert John McCiririck into throwing all his money away. All seems lost until he ends up winning it back and making extra dosh in the process! This excitement makes us forget that Jack and Victor are involved in their own humourous subplot which sees them get up to mischief at the brewery.

In the end though, it’s Winston’s story that dominates the episode though sadly his overdue victory is then tainted in a jaw-dropping final scene that makes us sympathise yet howl with laughter at the poor old bugger’s misfortunes!

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