In the last couple of years, a majority of family and friends have noticed my growing love for old pensioners, flat caps and all-thing Scottish.
A lot of that has been down to the brilliant Glasgow-based sitcom Still Game which has become a firm favourite of mine from the moment Jack Jarvis began choking on a wedding ring.
The hilarious and poignant show has been a major success for the BBC over the past eight series but as is the case with most things in life, all good things must (sadly) come to an end.
It was confirmed last night by both the BBC and series creators Ford Kiernan (Jack Jarvis) and Greg Hemphill (Victor McDade) that Still Game will officially end with a ninth run of six episodes which will air next year.
Both men issued statements about the news with Greg saying:
“Still Game is a story 21 years in the making. We’ve had an amazing run but one of our hopes when we brought the show back was that we would get the opportunity to finish Jack, Victor and the gang’s journey.
We feel that time is upon us. We hope you will join us later in the year to see how the story ends!”
Ford himself said:
“I can’t believe 21 years have passed in what, for us, has been an outstanding experience of collaboration, storytelling and performing. But above all being fortunate to entertain people and make them smile. So when the last episode airs we hope your memories of our little gang will be fond ones.”
The Still Game story began back in 1997 when old pals Jack and Victor appeared in their own stage show. The characters then featured in a number of sketches for the hit Scottish sketch series Chewin’ the Fat (1999-2002) which was also created by Ford and Greg.
Still Game then premiered its first series in 2002 which saw Jack, Victor and their friends get up to various escapades in the dreary Scottish town of Craiglang. The show ran for six series and four Hogmany specials before initially ending in 2007. Following the success of the 2014 stage show, the sitcom was revived in 2016 to huge excitement and acclaim with its seventh and eighth series as well as a second live show.
The returning cast for the final episodes will include Paul Riley (Winston Ingram), Jane McCarry (Isa Drennan), Mark Cox (Tam Mullen), Sanjeev Kohli (Navid Harrid) and Gavin Mitchell (Boaby the Barman).
Fans will also be hoping to see appearances from other beloved characters like Scott Reid (Methadone Mick), Paul Young (Shug), Shamshad Akhtar (Meena Harrid), Maureen Carr (Edith), Lynne McCallum (Peggy McAlphine), Jamie Quinn (Fergie), Kate Donnelly (Frances Mullen), Marj Hogarth (Fiona) and Matt Costello (Stevie the Bookie).
Memorable guest stars on the show have included Billy Boyd (Bearded Man), Celia Imrie (Mrs Begg), David Hayman (Vince), Clive Russell (Big Innes), Sylvester McCoy (Archie), Robbie Coltrane (Davie the Bus Driver), Jim Watt (as himself), Lorraine Kelly (as herself), Kevin Whately (Cameron Hastie), Ronnie Ancona (Mrs Fletcher) and Craig Ferguson (Callum Coburn).
Filming begins on Series 9 next month in Glasgow with the final episodes airing on the BBC in early 2019.
Though it will be tough to say goodbye to my wee auld pals, I have faith that Ford, Greg and director Michael Hines can bring this wonderful series to a satisfying end. After all, “When life hands you melons, make melonade.”