There is a good chance that unless you live and Scotland (and even if you do) that you will not have heard of Scot Squad. Yes another TV show based on the police but at least this one was a comedy and dealt with the sillier side of things rather than the usual someone got murdered lets go on a manhunt for five episodes sort of thing.
I’ve always found it an odd situation that a city like Glasgow which naturally possesses some of the funniest regular people in the UK has never been able to convert that into UK wide successes in comedy shows. One can only assume that ignorant people (I’m sure you can guess which ones) can’t understand the accent, although it is probably more accurate to describe it as not wanting to understand the accent.
Anyway enough of that and back to the show; I was surprised to see so few of the regulars in Scot Squad. If you’re familiar with Scottish comedy then you know what I mean, there is a small group of actors who tend to be in every single Scottish produced TV show and inevitably the shows end up having the same sort of feeling. Scot Squad decided wisely to take an alternative route and hired mainly unknown or hardly known actors to take the reins, and it worked perfectly.
Scot Squad was in essence a sketch show with the actors generally split into twos (with some exceptions) and staying with their partner from episode to episode. The sketches were made even better by the fact that it was a scripted improvisation show, which always gives a show a more natural flow and feel to it.
Stand out performances came from Bobby (the weird guy that likes going to the police station a bit too much), PC McKirdie (the wee fat traffic cop who probably gave the most real performance in the show [also happens to be the wrestler Grado and generally hilarious]) and for me the standout star of the series was Ken Beattie the fat ginger voluntary police officer (one of the few actors I had seen in other things and he always delivers, the guy is quality). I think the two weakest characters were the Chief of police and the call centre girl and I largely think that is the case because they didn’t have the chemistry which the other characters were able to have with their partners. They were always stuck in a one on one with the camera and it is always harder to be funny on your own as you can’t play off the reactions of another character (for example how PC Singh played the straight man to PC McKirdie). That for me is what makes James Allenby-Kirk’s (Ken Beattie) performance all the better. He too was on his own with no one to play off of yet managed to deliver every single week, usually delivering the best laughs as well. Who knows what it was exactly about him that made him so funny and likable; maybe it was that he was too nice a guy and gullible and only wanted to do the right thing, maybe it’s that he kept finding himself in situations where he was being abused by the public, maybe it’s that people just like laughing at fat ginger people (sad but true) or maybe it’s all of the above, all I know is that he was pretty immense in this show.
I’ve singled out Ken Beattie for special praise but I really do believe that the cast as a whole did very well; Bobby doesn’t really work without Officer Karen being there, the combo of the by the books and everyman traffic cops, the two city cops banter is good and the two country cops manage to make their mundane shift sufferable with PC McIntosh’s stories of life in the fast lane. Scot Squad was a classic example of a good ensemble comedy.
Scot Squad deserves another series because it is the best comedy to come out of Scotland since Still Game (unless I’m forgetting something) and quite frankly Scotland isn’t producing enough of our own TV shows and who the fuck knows why that is? Yes it could be hit and miss with some of the segments (not uncommon when a show jumps everywhere) but with a young generally unknown cast the show can only grow and get better.
Tell me what you thought of Scot Squad then by leaving a comment and sharing your mutual love for Grado and the wee ginger guy with me. You can also find more of my pure quality content by joining bm23reviews on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the read.