The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Iain Connell


The Scotts is back for a third series. It’s a mock reality TV show following a Scottish family – are you and writing partner/ co-star Robert Florence fans of reality TV?

Robert has a genuine love for it. He watches it all and suggested we use the format in some way, so I started to watch – The Kardashian­s, Real Housewives... – and it sucks you in. You realise you’ve sat and watched 20 episodes. I’ll immerse myself in it when it comes to writing the series but he’s into it all year round.

Do you use real-life incidents to inspire the plots?

It’s fictionali­sed, but sometimes a wee moment from our lives will inspire something, but rarely where someone looks at it and realises. We tend to be more abstract.

Did you have an idea of which actors you wanted for the roles? Other than for myself and Robert, no. We come up with the idea of a character rather than a specific actor to play it. The cast are quite different from the characters they play. For example, Lee Greig, who plays Darren, we knew off the wrestling where he plays a baddie. So we thought, let’s get him in to play this big gentle daftie.

You and Robert play siblings – do you have a brotherhoo­d away from the cameras?

I would say we do have that sort of relationsh­ip. We’ve known each other since we were 15 or 16 and always got on well and never fallen out. We enjoy each other’s company. It used to be, back in the day when we were writing Chewin’ The Fat, we’d be in the same room a lot more. With family life now, we come together at the start, go away and write, and then come back, so we’re a bit more separated than we used to be, but Zoom is good for working that way. We had lunch the other day to make new foolish plans for us and the world. Having such success with Burnistoun, does it make The Scotts’ success even sweeter, knowing you’ve been accepted in something completely different? Obviously there was a gap between the two, so it wasn’t a smooth transition from one to the other. The Scotts isn’t like Burnistoun, so you’re hoping people will enjoy you doing something different, as well as hopefully bring in other people. You start to find out in the street – people still recognise me from Burnistoun but more and more people talk to me about The Scotts. What do you think of getting feedback on the street like that? It gives food for thought. People only come up to you if they like the show. If they see you and don’t like the show, they tend to stay out your road. It’s usually people relating one of the characters to someone in their own life. “Did you base that on my sister, you must know my sister?” I don’t know your sister, I don’t even know you. When people see their lives in it, you feel you might be on to something.

The Scotts started as a pilot. You and Robert have done other pilots in the past. Does it come

The Scotts, BBC One Scotland, Wednesday, 10.40pm and iPlayer down to luck as to what gets picked up for a full series and what doesn’t?

You’re very much dependent on what the commission­ers like. We did a pilot called The Sunny a few years ago that we really liked but it didn’t go. It’s just one of those things. For every script filmed, there’s 50 commission­ed, so there is an element of lottery, but making a decent script in the first place increases your chances.

How do you rate Scottish TV comedy currently?

I’m not sure, I tend to work on my own thing and then emerge when I have something to show, but obviously it would be nice if there was more stuff on. It would be nice to see more sketch shows and for the younger ones to get the chance to do sketch shows. That’s always been a complaint and that conversati­on goes in a bit of a loop.

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