TV review: Still Game, BBC One (3 stars)

TV review: Still Game, BBC One

Craiglang crew return for a cosy opener to series eight of the Scots sitcom

While time might wait for no man or woman, the majority of Still Game's key cast are ever so steadily catching up on their own character's senior-citizen status. Assuming Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill can keep their minds in gear and scriptwriting skills sharp for another 20-odd years, it would be an undiluted blast to see them playing an age-appropriate Jack and Victor. Whether the pair will retain a passion to keep churning out storylines for their Craiglang crew for two further decades is another matter.

Having perhaps decided that Still Game will not be changing the world or revolutionising the sitcom genre any time soon, this opening episode of series eight suggests that Kiernan and Hemphill are pitching the show at an audience which is perfectly relaxed in having Tam, Isa, Navid and co running (or in Winston's case, hobbling) on the spot. They might continue to toss out coarse insults by the jar-load, but Still Game is now the televisual equivalent of a cosy pair of baffies (pipe optional).

Plot-wise, 'Fly Fishing' features Isa trying to work out whether a surprise birthday party is being arranged for her, Winston looking for new digs after an asbestos scare in his flat, and Boaby transforming The Clansman into an overpriced, family-friendly establishment. As for that episode title, disclosing its true meaning would reveal far too much.

Despite this genial if largely safe and bellylaugh-empty series opener, the half-hour still has a surprise or two up its cardy: while the long-running gag of never seeing (but definitely hearing) Meena carries on unabated, one much-discussed body part finally gets an actual airing in a bold final shot. Let's hope that the upcoming inclusions of a grim undertaker played by Bruce Morton and Craig Ferguson as an old pal of Isa's gives the new series a flu jab in the arm.

Episodes watched: one of six.

Still Game starts on BBC One, Thu 8 Mar, 9.30pm.

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