WITH new titles added weekly, it’s quite easy to miss TV shows and films available on Netflix. Though the internet streaming service’s content is famously hit-or-miss, some of its best stuff is distinctively Scottish. Emma O’Neill selects her highlights, including Armando Iannucci’s The Thick Of It and the James McAvoy-starring Filth
Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade are held dear to many Scots. Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill perfectly portray the lives of pensioners living in Glasgow. The characters, originally appearing in BBC Scotland’s show Chewin’ the Fat, are joined by a whole host of characters, including nosey neighbour Isa (Jane McCarry) and corner shop owner Navid (Sanjeev Kohli). One of Scotland’s favourite shows has also enjoyed a successful run on stage last year.
The Thick of It
Thought it’s set in London, it features Peter Capaldi as the sweariest Scot in Westminster, Malcolm Tucker, a highly aggressive and controlling media “enforcer”. Shot in a fly-on-the-wall style with handheld cameras, the show has become such a successful parody of British politics that it has occasionally ended up setting the agenda at the House of Commons: “omnishambles”, a neologism first heard on The Thick Of It, was later used by former Labour leader Ed Miliband as a barb against David Cameron, and is now recognised by the Oxford Dictionary of English.
Gary: Tank Commander
The BAFTA award-winning show is one of the most quotable to have ever come out of Scotland. The show was written and created by Greg McHugh, who also plays the titular character of Gary McLintoch, a corporal in the fictional 104th Royal Tank Regiment. While each episode is filmed in a sitcom format, the show is interspersed with docu-style interviews with Gary, giving his innermost thoughts and feelings on various topics – including if soldiers should be paid the same as Greggs bakery workers.
The controversial Scottish comedian has two of his live stand up shows on Netflix. His pessimistic sense of humour often sees him as a guest on British comedy panel shows, but Boyle is at his nihilistic best in his unfiltered, hour-long format.
The Decoy Bride
This romantic comedy takes place on the small (and fictional) island of Hegg, in the Outer Hebrides. Staring David Tennant as James Arber, he plays a writer set to marry Hollywood actress Lara Tyler (Alice Eve). Plans for the secret ceremony go wrong when the paparazzi discover the event, so local girl Katie Nic Aodh agrees to be the bride during a fake ceremony to throw off the trail.
The Railway Man
Railway Man is based on the biography of Scottish writer Eric Lomax (played by Colin Firth), who was captured during WWII and sent to a Japanese POW camp, where he was forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. Subject to extreme torture, including beatings and waterboarding, the veteran struggles to move past the trauma and must confront demons from his past to move on with his life.
This is another great Scottish film based on a novel of the same title by Irving Welsh. The film stars James McAvoy as Bruce Robertson, a detective sergeant in Edinburgh. Suffering from borderline personality disorder, Robertson uses his position to manipulate those around him, meanwhile indulging in drugs, alcohol and “the games” - plots in which he has set up his coworkers. A dark crime-comedy everyone has to see.
What We Did On Our Holiday
Visiting his terminally ill father, Gordie (Billy Connolly) for his birthday in the Highlands, Doug McLeod (David Tennant) makes the trip with his estranged wife, Abi (Rosamund Pike) and their three children. Not wanting to upset Gordie in his final months, Doug and Abi keep up the pretence of their marriage with much difficulty. Add in some sibling rivalry, and you’ve got a wonderful comedy-drama.