Still Game’s Ford Kiernan once encouraged to be ‘egg packer’

Actor Ford Kiernan was advised to become an egg backer by a careers teacher. Picture: Robert Perry
Actor Ford Kiernan was advised to become an egg backer by a careers teacher. Picture: Robert Perry
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Still Game star Ford Kiernan has revealed how a careers teacher once recommended he become an egg packer.

The Craiglang sitcom returned to TV screens on Friday for the first time in nine years, to wide acclaim.

It was watched by more than 1.3 million fans -- more than half of Scotland’s TV viewers.

But co-writer Kiernan, who also plays evergreen pensioner Jack Jarvis opposite co-creator Greg Hemphill’s Victor McDade, revealed his dreams of making it on TV could have been dashed by the dodgy careers advice.

Kiernan, 54, also revealed he once trained as a tailor and worked in more than a dozen clothes shops, but made a catalogue of mistakes and was sacked more than once.

He said: “I had a careers teacher called Mr Gibson, who’s long gone now. I was called in to his office and he asked me what I wanted to do.

“I said ‘I would like to be a cameraman for STV’ and he asked ‘why do you want to do that?’, and I said ‘I want to meet all the stars’.

“He went ‘ah, no, going by what’s available just now, probably egg packing would be the thing you would be better at’.

“I’ve often wanted to bump in to him but never mind.

• READ MORE: Still Game returns to BBC with record audience

“I trained as a tailor for a wee while. I never saw it through because it was driving me nuts, but I got to the cutting bit.

“I worked in 14 different clothes shops, and that was ok for a while.

“It’s been an odd meander to get to this bit, I must say.”

He admitted he would have made a useless tailor, however, adding: “I stopped before I was passed out. I could tell a million stories but some of the mistakes I made as a cutter were incredible.

“I was sacked a couple of times for bad jobs.”

Kiernan, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, revealed he sat down with his family to watch Still Game’s triumphant TV return.

The new six part series started with an episode called “Gadgets”. The old codgers experimented with newfangled technology, with hilarious results.

But rather than watch the TV, Kiernan sat facing his loved ones and examined their facial expressions instead.

He said: “My wife and my daughter and a couple of pals came round and we watched it. I sat in the opposite direction of the TV to judge what their faces were doing while they were watching it.

“It went well, I’m really happy with it.

“I had seen it but only on my laptop because they send you it through once they’ve edited it. I hadn’t actually seen it on a big screen.

“Now technology has moved on a wee bit so they’re now filming it in HD so it’s a wee bit crisper and cleaner. The scrutiny is terrible because it was right up there in your grill. You can see the wrinkles -- the real wrinkles -- now.”

• READ MORE: Brian Ferguson: Still Game? BBC must do more to create new shows

The episode was the second most watched programme in Scotland this year after Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph in July.

But Kiernan said he had last minute nerves before it came on.

In the end, he needn’t have worried as fans told him it felt like Hogmanay had come early.

He added: “You get a wee bit worried that ‘have we done enough’?; ‘have we got it right again’?; and ‘how are they going to judge us’? and all that.

“Things that are about now that weren’t about years ago like Twitter and Facebook and all that, sort of lit up after it.

“A lot of people said it was as though we hadn’t been away.”

He added: “We’ve been really lucky.

“It was really weird, as not just one or two people said to me that Friday felt like New Year as all the traffic slowed up and all the pubs had it on their screens, and people were told to shut up.

“After all this time, to be back like that is just an amazing honour.”

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