Gregor Fisher. who plays the walking Self-lnflicted Wound. Rab C. Nesbitt. talks to Ross D. Parsons about the forthcoming BBC2 series. starring the Glaswegian Renaissance man.
‘You haven't asked the big question yet. The Independent. the Daily [iv/Mess they've all asked me.‘ (iregor Fisher. aka Rab C. Nesbitt. smiled wearily. expecting the inevitable. but I knew what the question was. and we both knew the answer. Of course the TV punters outside Scotland will be able to understand Rah — the ﬂoating wreck of a pavement philosopher (created for Fisher by writer lan l’attison). The ground has been well prepared by generations of itinerant preachers spreading the words of Nesbitt on the London Underground. Euston Station and throughout the drinking world. So if they don't follow all the words. they’ll at least have seen the precedents.
A folk hero for our times. Rab couldn‘t give a ﬂying fig for fashion or social mores. He first ambled into the public gaze lambasting passing cameras in BBC Scotland’s .N’uked Video series. l-lis references boasted the hard-won titles. nutter and header. and he is a self-confessed waster. However. in the new six-part series on BBCZ. he emerges as quite a fatnin man. his only idiosyncracies being a tendency to harangue bus qUCUes and do the occasional disappearing act.
The question (iregor Fisher referred to is a constant bugbear of the national press: that Scottish accents are unintelligible to southern ears. London journalists have expressed concern that in those tnore sheltered parts of Britain. where the sight of a Glaswegian in a string vest. battered pin-stripe and a bandage are a rarity. audiences won‘t be able to follow Rab on BBCZ.
It's a view that Fisher. as eloquent as Nesbitt — it better dressed — was able to refute. Even though. as he pointed out. I hadn’t asked him. Although I did ask if they had been under pressure to tone Rab‘s rantings down fora networked show. ‘We obviously have a commitment to that audience but on the othe. hand it’s important not to dilute the character to the extent where he is unrecognisable. He should be real. he should be honest. that‘s the attraction of him.‘
‘My English friends. my fright/idly. frightjidly English friends tell me that they miss one or two things but they know exactly what's going on. I could say that was the case for me and The Boys From the Blackstuff. but that‘s life. that's real
| ordinary working-class human beings. l-‘ait
life. You don't go waltzing down the stteet in Atlanta. (ieorgia and say “lixcusc me but would you mind awfully moderating vour accent. l can‘t quite understand what you’re saving." We haven't said sod the rest ot the world. because that would be just stupid. bttt we‘y e guttestt lavas we think is practical with it.’
Ncsbitt'snatural garrulity is the basis ofthe character‘s appeal and the impetus tor the series. "l‘he main thing is that he can say a lot ot things that maybe a lot of people think. about s;t\ . the city ol'culturc. 'l‘hen maybe a lot of punters think that‘s rather good because he's say in: \\ hztt they feel. lt‘sonlyone person's opinion and it‘s not 7 always right. depending on what he‘s shooting his mouth offabout at the time. let's face it. the re aren't too many thingson tellv these davs. as regards comedy shows. that feature real. or its real as you can be for the purposes of comedy .
cut nigh he‘s one ol(ilasgow's more eccentric cit i/ctts and he has opinions on any subject under the sun. from the price of tea to what the Pope should be saying.‘ But then. as (iregor Fisher points out. the inhabitants of(ilasgow bars are not known for their reluctance to talk. Small—minded viewers who worry about the language or believe that l‘ishcr is somehow giving the West of Scotland a bad name merely irritate him and badly miss the point ofthe characterisation. l lowevcr. there are inumerable plaudits frotu people he has met countering these petty arguments that have occasionally appeared in print. ‘lt‘s just a piece of entertainment. a piece otl \'. People shouldn‘t try and read too much into it. like when the .loan Burniesofthis world sav “I‘d like to take that bloody bandage and wrap it round his neck." I just think. what asilly woman that is -what a silly woman.‘ . Rub (I .Vevhitt (If/M ‘3) 'Iilturs .37. 9pm.
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