22nd December 1988

First episode of Rab C Nesbitt broadcast

The character of Rab C Nesbitt first appeared in the BBC’s Naked Video sketch show, and was spun out to a full series of its own, after a pilot broadcast in 1988. Played by Gregor Fisher, Nesbitt is an unemployed alcoholic from Glasgow, and his first full length programme was a 40-minute Christmas special in 1988. This was effectively a trial which, proving successful, led to a full series being commissioned.

“Highlight of the week”

“Undoubtedly the highlight of the week, and don’t dare miss it, is Gregor Fisher’s tour-de-force as Rab C Nesbitt, the opinionated Glasgow philosopher,” advised the Aberdeen Press and Journal on 17 December 1988, reviewing the week’s upcoming television. “In a post-news slot on BBC… Nesbitt explains why Christmas makes him feel no-well. Ian Pattison has written the script and 40 minutes is not enough for brilliant characterisation like this. Top marks to both men.”

It would be another two years until the first full series of Rab C Nesbitt would appear on screens. On 4 October 1990, The Stage ran a column marking its return, saying that “although the character… was amusing as a quirky feature of Naked Video, one wonders how long he can sustain the laughs in a six-part series… I’m sure that in this year of Glasgow being the European city of Culture, many cultural Glaswegians will not be well impressed with this portrayal of their fellow city dwellers.”

Ten series were commissioned in total, comprising 66 episodes, including specials.



Other events that occured in December

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