- Alistair Braidwood
I’ve written elsewhere about the apparent renaissance of Scottish comedy after what can generously be described as a low point (see No longer gemme? & In praise of: Absolutely). I didn’t want to tempt fate by recommending BBC’s Burnistoun until I could be sure that something that started out well wouldn’t follow the all too regular pattern of tailing off in quality as the series progressed. Nae danger.
Produced by the much maligned, and often rightly so, Comedy Unit, Burnistoun is the world of Robert Florence and Iain Connell. These two have been working together for some time on easily forgotten shows such as the Gregor Fisher and Billy Boyd vehicle Empty, the situation ‘comedy’ Legit and The Karen Dunbar Show as well as the more successful Chewin’ the Fat. Florence was also involved with the short-lived but fondly remembered gaming review show Videogaiden.
It seems that Florence and Connell had been given the time to write enough strong material to fill six episodes, something that has obviously not always been the case with Comedy Unit productions. Burnistoun manages to be both new and familiar. As with all sketch shows it has some misses, although to be fair it has a higher than normal hit rate. I can only hope that it will get another series, but at least Scotland is slowly gathering a sizeable group of comedy writers who write what they consider funny, not to some generic idea of what Scottish comedy is meant to be. You can still catch the full series here if you’re quick, but by the time you read this it should all be up on YouTube. Below are a few of my favourite sketches: