Bernie’s Still Game Journey
A blog from Bernie Hunter, who talks about her connection with the hit comedy series 'Still Game', how she came to set up a Still Game fan page with 7,000 followers, and playing the part of a heckler in the final series.
“A dream come true"
Over the past 17 years, I have grown to love the comedy 'Still Game', from becoming a young fan to appearing in an episode and everything in between. Throughout this blog, I will be giving you an insight into my experience of being involved with one of the most loved shows ever. I want to share my story with the aim of helping other people who have additional support needs, to get the message out there that anything is possible.
Let's go back to when it all began, I started watching Still Game at a young age (really too young-shh!). There was just something about this show that grabbed my attention, the classic humour had a big impact but apart from that, I have always felt a connection with the show as I can relate to the language and the characters too. We all know someone who is like Isa, Jack or Victor! The writing is great too, Still Game can make you laugh one minute and cry the next, it is a comedy sitcom with emotion attached to it too which I love.
Still Game made its debut in 2002 and ran for six series’ until 2007. The show took a seven-year break before making a come-back with a live show, in 2014. I have always been a big fan, during the break, Still Game never really stopped for me and this was when I realised how much love I had for the show.
The hit comedy announced the new live shows in 2014, I was delighted to hear that my favourite show was making a return so I had to get tickets. I was lucky enough to meet the cast after the performance to get autographs and pictures, everyone was so kind. At the time, I didn't quite realise that this was my first step to becoming involved with the show.
Still Game returned to TV screens after a nine-year break with series 7, in 2016. I wanted to do something special to welcome the series back so I set up 'The Still Game Fan Club' on Facebook. I had just completed a computing course, at college where I studied photo editing so the fan club was the perfect opportunity to use my new skills. The fan club has been a big success with over 7,000 fans joining the group, I love running it!
Last summer, it was announced that the show would be coming to an end after series 9. During the filming of the final series, Still Game wanted to thank me for running the fan club so I was invited onto the set to be an 'extra'. On the 31st of August 2018, I went to the filming location where I met Paul Riley who plays Winston, he was the only character who was going to be in the scene and we chatted for a bit. A little later Paul came back with a signed card for me and I got a picture with him, he put his Winston jacket and bunnet on me-classic!
I went back to my car for a bit because we still had two hours before the filming started then something special happened, Michael Hines who is the director of the show, came to see me. I thought that he was coming to say hello but no, he came to ask me if I would like to say a line, in the scene that I was going to be a ‘extra’ in. I was offered to play the part of a 'heckler'. The scene was Winston opening a community centre and I was to shout out a put down to Winston. I agreed to do the part straight away... the line was “Get aff the stage, ya fat b******!"
I have Cerebral Palsy which affects my speech so I use a AAC device to communicate and it wasn't any different when it came to saying my line in Still Game, the crew didn't see my disability and this meant a lot to me. The crew were amazing at giving me time to programme different lines into my device which I really appreciated.
Appearing in the first episode of series 9 was very surreal for me as I have been on a journey with the show, it was an absolute honour to get to be a part of the final ever series. I will be grateful to all of the cast and crew forever, people say dreams don't come true, well mine sure did!
Well that’s it, I went to the filming as an 'extra' and came back with an appearance, in the show. I'm not an actress but I do know that getting into the acting industry isn't easy, for anyone. I was very lucky to get the opportunity by chance. My advice to anyone who is starting out in acting is to just go for it, keep asking and eventually someone will believe in you.
Thanks to everyone at Still Game, the wonderful memories will stay with me forever!