Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, the duo behind hit BBC sitcom Still Game, have announced plans to revive their double act of Jack and Victor for four stage shows at The Hydro in Glasgow next year.
Although neither actors were involved in a version of the show at Ayr’s Gaiety Theatre recently, they said that it was that adaptation which had persuaded them to play the bickering pensioners again.
Still Game was a huge success for BBC Scotland between 2002 and 2007, enjoying higher ratings than other UK-wide shows. But after six series, and Christmas and Hogmanay specials, Kiernan and Hemphill were said to had a bitter split behind the scenes and have not worked together since.
While four shows have been confirmed for next September and October, it is understood a number of other dates have been held in reserve in case there is demand for more.
Kiernan, 51, and Hemphill, 43, insisted they had been speaking regularly as they live near each other in the city and their children go to the same school – but had feared they would never work together again.
Talking to The Scotsman, the pair laughed off questions about who had made the first move to “kiss and make up”, instead insisting that they had been inspired by separate visits to see Sonic Boom Theatre Company’s adaptation of Still Game, which they had earlier given approval to.
Kiernan said: “I went to see it at the Gaiety in Ayr. I was standing outside and a guy and his wife came up and he said to me: ‘What are you doing out here? Should you not be in there?’ When I told him I had only come to see it he said to his wife: ‘Seven and a half quid and they are not even ****** in it’ and then they left. I did phone Greg to tell him about it.
“We have been talking for about a year about getting back together and doing something. This is the first opportunity we’ve had. But we weren’t in contact with one another (before then), we weren’t talking, but that’s another story.
“Apart from anything else, we owe this to the amount of people who have asked: ‘Are you bringing it back, when are you bringing it back?’”
Hemphill, who starred in an adaptation of The Wicker Man at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, added:
“We both saw the stage show – Ford saw it in Ayr and I saw it at the Tron in Glasgow – and we were talking about it and saying that it felt kind of strange going to see it. It was quite a nice catalyst.
“It was kind of niggling us and we were thinking: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to do it again and be pals again?’
“We had a very productive chat. We’re very excited about it. It feels nice, it feels good.
“We’re hoping to bring Still Game back on TV in some form. The horrible blocker stopping it has been removed. This is kind of like a resurrection of some sort.
“Whether it is a series or specials I don’t know. It will be up to them. The main thing is this is the start of Still Game again, rather than just us coming back to do these shows.”
Kiernan and Hemphill are due to meet BBC Scotland chiefs next week with the hope of persuading them to commission a new series or a festival special.
However any possible TV return for Still Game will come after the live shows at the Hydro, where they will appear from September 30 – October 3 next year. Tickets, priced £30 and £45, go on sale on Friday.