Fàilte…Those who have read my post Pub psychology with Rab C Nesbitt, will have expected me to be excited about the return of my favourite Scottish waster to our TV screens. Despite looking forward to the show, I actually missed the first bloody episode of the new series. An early onset of senility perhaps but thank heavens for modern technology and the BBC iPlayer!
Like John Fleming (see here) at the Huffington Post; I have also been surprised how the long-running Scots produced Rab C. NesbittTV series gained the popularity it did in England, given the extremely Scottish dialogue. That said, I have to admit to being one of the faithful and devoted followers of Gregor Fisher‘s comic slant on life in Glasgow. It may have been something of a stereotypical and contrived view about one of the roughest and most deprived areas of Scotland, but many found it was a comical one.
But as Gregor pointed out when interviewed recently, perhaps he’s been ‘Sprinkled with fairy dust’? During the interview he was asked why he thought Rab had endured…
Because there’s nothing more attractive than the little guy surviving to fight another day. With his warts, his flaws, the bad breath, the alcoholism, Nesbitt is not a person you’d want to share a seat on the bus with. Nevertheless, when you’re in the comfort of your living room, watching him on the television, you can glory in his little victories and his survival, his lust for life. He has some long nights of the soul but he always gets through them, there’s always something to recommend he keeps going, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Not just the Scottish, but the British, we like that.
You can read the full interview at Chortle.co.uk – ‘Sprinkled with fairy dust’ however; it would appear many of today’s TV critics weren’t that enamoured with the new series. In the Irish Herald review entitled Rab has lost his bite the suggestion was made that “it might be time for him to hang up his scruffy headband, frayed pinstripe suit and grubby string vest.” This was enforced by the comment; ” To use a phrase beloved of Glaswegians, it was pure sh**e.”
The element of disdain in The Herald article (and others), may well stem from an editorial restriction on Rab’s honesty and directness, a quality envied by Gregor and I suspect numerous other people, me included. The editorial PC pencil of the BBC probably has a great deal to answer for.
I found myself saying things that wouldn’t have come out of his mouth for the sake of not offending anyone. And in essence, sometimes comedy is offence, it is cruel, that’s the nature of the beast…(Gregor Fisher)
Many of the things that once made us laugh are now frowned upon, for the fear of upsetting someone. Perhaps our mostly enforced inability to laugh at a situation or set of circumstances, is the reason why as a society, we have become so anal about so many things?
Perhaps the ‘new’ rendition of Rab didn’t actually meet my full expectations, memories viewed through rose-tinted spectacles and all that however, as Gregor pointed out… “This is a one day at a time business, always has been”. Let’s see how the humour pans out in the remaining episodes? In the mean time, here’s wishing my wee scraggy string vested hero (and his doppelgänger) Sláinte!
- Why Rab C Nesbitt is still a vested interest (independent.co.uk)
- My TV hero: Gregor Fisher on Spike Milligan (guardian.co.uk)