Greg Hemphill talks about ending Still Game and his plans for the future
After 17 years and nine full series, Scottish comedy Still Game has finally come to an end.
Created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, the series followed Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, two Glaswegian pensioners who spend their days getting into all kinds of scrapes and hi-jinks in the fictional Craiglang area of Glasgow.
With the series now in the rearview mirror, but a live tour still to come, we spoke to Hemphill about the show's wrap-up and plans for the future...
The series – and the show - is finally over. It got pretty emotional at the end there, didn't it?! How was it for the cast and crew when you were shooting those final scenes?
"It was very emotional. Ben Lomond is such an incredibly beautiful spot, there was a lot of silence, reflection and contemplation."
You still have the live shows coming up, what sort of thing can we expect from the live show this time around?
"It will be a chance for the cast and the audience to have one last adventure together. Still Game fans are amazing, so the prospect of getting them all together under one roof is always special. We want to put on an amazing show for them."
When you first created these characters, were they inspired by anyone in particular?
"Inspiration came from my Grandfather Sammy and Ford’s Uncle Barney. Two amazing characters who were full of mischief."
Were there any other Scottish comedies you were inspired by when you were starting out? Or did you get inspiration from elsewhere?
"We loved shows with humour and warmth like Cheers and The Simpsons."
17 years is a long, long time for any show to run, even with the gap in between – what do put that longevity down to?
"I can honestly say that if it had not been for fans of the show we never would have brought it back. Collectively, over seven years, the message from them got through to us that we needed to bring the series and Jack and Victor back. It was incredible."
"As for longevity, they are wonderful characters to inhabit and portray and whatever affection the audience has for them, the cast has it too."
What have been your favourite moments from the show over the years? Is it possible for you to pick a favourite episode?
"My favourite episode was “Drama, which is the first in season five. But I have many favourite moments from so many episodes – things as simple as little facial expressions that one of the cast does!"
What do you think is the funniest gag you've ever written for the show?
"I think it would have to be the visual gag of Winston’s leg flying out the window, resulting in him losing over 30k!"
You guys are pretty well established by now, are there any new emerging talents in Scotland that you're really excited about?
"There are so many! The wrestler Grado is fantastic in Scot Squad and Two Doors Down, Rachel Jackson is doing brilliant things, and I love Gaye Telfer Stevens and Louise McCarthy in The Dolls."
"I think the new BBC Scotland channel is going to be a wonderful place to discover and hone new talent, it’s an exciting time!"
What are you up to next, after the live shows wrap up? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
"We have a few things in development and are excited to see if any of them take root. But we are currently living the message at the end of Still Game. Life goes on..."
The final season of Still Game will be released into hmv stores on Monday (April 8th).