Still Game stars promise ‘different vibe’ at live show from emotional finale

Victor (Greg Hemphill), Jack (Ford Kiernan) in Still Game. Photographer: Alan Peebles/BBC
Victor (Greg Hemphill), Jack (Ford Kiernan) in Still Game. Photographer: Alan Peebles/BBC
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Still Game stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill have vowed to stage a huge “retirement party” for Jack and Victor when they take their final bow at the Hydro in Glasgow – with classic characters from Chewin’ the Fat set to help give them a send-off.

They pair have promised to cheer up fans they left in tears at the emotional finale of the series as they insisted they had not “killed-off” the much-loved pensioners.

The stars of Still Game. Picture: Paul Chappels.

The stars of Still Game. Picture: Paul Chappels.

The final TV episode saw Jack and Victor fade away as they set off up Ben Lomond, while a closing segment saw most of the other main characters in the series gradually disappear from view.

Kiernan and Hemphill said fellow cast members Paul Riley, Jane McCarry, Mark Cox, Sanjeev Kohli and Gavin Mitchell were only sent scripts just before rehearsals began this week for the 15-show run, which starts on 27 September.

Intriguingly, they have revealed it will pick up exactly where the final TV episode left off, when an noticeably older Boabby the Barman is seen on his own in The Clansman pub.

The pair, who launched Still Game three years after Jack and Victor’s debut on sketch show Chewin’ the Fat in 1999, say the third and final Hydro show will also have a “very different vibe” from the TV finale.

Hemphill said: “There were a couple of tragedies in seeing an older Boabby. He didn’t have his old pals anymore, because he was that age and was still in The Clansman. It isn’t open to interpretation where everybody else is in that final scene. They’re all gone.

“But Jack and Victor absolutely weren’t killed off. We ended all the characters’ stories. That’s different. We get defensive when people ask if we killed them off. They lived their lives to the full.”

Kiernan said: “When everybody faded out in the last scenes we were pointing out that time passes and that this is what happens when you go.

“When we did a screening in Glasgow and I came outside for a smoke and there was a lassie who was in absolute bits. She was really cut up about it. I felt absolutely atrocious. If people were sitting with glum faces at the thought of parting company with Jack and Victor this is an opportunity to see them again and see what happened to them. But it’ll be a real night out at the theatre.”

Hemphill hinted there would be an “existential” link between Jack and Victor’s TV farewell and the new live show.

He added: “The ending of the TV show was very sad. I watched it a few months ago when I was on holiday when it came on the TV. My eyes filled up and my wife was the same. We had to put it off. The live show picks up with older Boabby, but it’s funny, it’s not sad. We don’t want people sitting there greeting. We did that with the TV show. We’re going for a very different vibe. It’s going to be like a retirement party. If you’re a fan of Chewin’ the Fat you’ll want to buy a ticket, as some old pals will be seeing off Jack and Victor.

“This will definitely be the last show. These characters have been amazing to us, but we don’t want to do therock star thing of having six retirements.”

Kiernan said: “The way to look at it is the live show is what you’d have seen if you were going to the Hydro the week after the last TV episode. Imagine if your elderly parents decided to go a retirement village but were so well thought of that a few people came to wave them off.”