Fun turns to fear as friends fight for survival
Some men dread coming back from a stag weekend with a stinking hangover, shaved eyebrows or an empty bank balance, but the revellers featured in this new dark comic thriller will be lucky to come back at all. Stag (Saturday, BBC2, 9pm), a three-part series, was written and created by Jim Field Smith and George Kay, who between them have worked on The Wrong Mans, Episodes, The Tunnel and The Hour, suggesting they should have both the comedy and the thriller elements well covered. They’ve certainly managed to assemble an impressive cast - Jim Howick, Stephen Campbell Moore, JJ Feild, Reece Shearsmith, Rufus Jones, James Cosmo and Tim Key are among the familiar faces who turned up to film on location in Scotland. The weekend is already shaping up to be a nightmare for Ian, (Howick), a vegetarian secondary school teacher who doesn’t like drinking or blood sports and has little experience of dealing with people who went to private school. However, his sister Fran (Sherlock’s Amanda Abbington) is marrying Harrow-educated hedge fund manager Angus ‘Johnners’ Johnson (Campbell Moore), and Ian has been invited on the stag do by the arrogant best man Ledge (Feild), who had some spaces to fill after a few of his first choice invitees either dropped out or failed to reply to their emails. Sadly, Ian can’t really come up with a decent excuse to get out of it as he’s promised Fran he’ll keep an eye on her fiancé, so it looks like he’s going to be spending the weekend stalking deer in the Scottish Highlands, whether he likes it or not. The teacher feels out of his depth among Johnners’obnoxious friends, and it’s soon clear that while Ledge may fancy himself as the group’s Alpha male, his organisational skills leave a lot to be desired. But the relentless bullying disguised as banter and lack of equipment are soon the least of Ian’s worries, as the hunters become the prey. Someone – or something – is lurking in the trees, ready to pick off the party one at a time. As the stags realise they are fighting for the lives, friendships are tested, sordid secrets emerge, and some very unlikely alliances are forged. As Myfanwy Moore, Controller of UK Comedy Production at BBC, says:“Jim and George have created a rip roaring comedy thriller – and we're delighted that such a fabulous cast have agreed to join in on what will no doubt be a terrifyingly funny ride.
Wild times Stephen Campbell Moore and Jim Howick.