Influential sketch show spun off from a long running Scottish radio show. It introduced the world to Glaswegian street philosopher Rab C. Nesbitt and The Baldy Man. Harry Enfield, Steve Coogan and Rik Mayall all wrote for the show.
'Pure Dead Brilliant!' is Prestwick Airport, in Ayrshire's, corporate logo that greets new arrivals into Scotland....and I detest it. Given Ayrshire's links with Robert Burns, and Scotland's contribution to arts, literature, engineering, medicine and law is that the best they could come up with? This means little or nothing to most Scots (let alone anyone else) under 40... but in its heyday it was synonymous with City Lights, a successful 1980s comedy set in Glasgow, and it was repeated endlessly in playgrounds, pubs and work places across Scotland.
The late Gerard Kelly was Willie Melvin, a put upon bank clerk by day, an aspiring writer by night. I sometimes wondered if there were similarities (albeit loose) between Willie and Tony Hancock, another dreamy striver who was constantly thwarted by unwanted intervention and advice from his friends...or his own incompetence and bad luck.
City Lights had a colourful cast of eccentric characters; petty fly man Chancer and his dimwitted henchman Tam; the long suffering fiancé Janice, who wanted commitment from Willie, not words; the smary boss, Mr McLelland, and his sycophantic aide Brian; most of the Glasgow patter was supplied by Mum, who was quick to puncture Willie's pretentions. Elaine C Smith's daft mate will be forever associated with the catchphrase.
Surrounding Willie was the rapdily changing city of Glasgow, a year away from 1988's Garden Festival, The European City of Culture and 'Smiles Better'.
This is a gem if series from a fruitful era of Scottish comedy (think Rab C Nesbitt, Naked Video or Absolutely) and if it were to get a good release that would a fitting tribute to Gerard Kelly and Iain McColl...it would be pure, dead, brilliant in fact!
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