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Real Clansman bars see funny side of Still Game prank calls… and one even has a Boaby the barman!

Robert McArdle manages the Clansman bar in Dunoon (James Williamson)
Robert McArdle manages the Clansman bar in Dunoon (James Williamson)

IT’s the kind of daft situation that would have Jack and Victor guffawing into their hauf-and-haufs.

Scottish pubs are being inundated by prank calls inspired by sit-com Still Game – and the show’s very own Odd Couple would definitely see the funny side.

It seems fans of the BBC comedy are regularly phoning real-life pubs called The Clansman – the name of Still Game’s fictional boozer.

There are six bars in Scotland that bear the same title as Craiglang’s famous boozer.

One of them, in Dunoon, even has a barman called Boaby, just like the TV version!

And as filming for Still Game gets under way ahead of a hotly-anticipated new series, they’re bracing themselves for interest in their pubs to soar.

Robert McArdle, 54, has managed The Clansman in Dunoon for the last 20 years.

During that time his customers would always call him Robert.

However, the arrival of Still Game in 2002 changed all that.

Gavin Mitchell, who plays Boaby the barman, visited the Dunoon pub
Gavin Mitchell, who plays Boaby the barman, visited the Dunoon pub

Before long people started to shorten his name to “Boaby” in a blatant reference to the popular show.

People also started making prank calls to the bar pretending to be characters from the comedy or asking to speak to them.

Robert, for his part, has taken it all in good humour.

He said: “People phone us and ask if Jack and Victor are in the bar.

“We also get people taking photos outside the bar because of the name.

“Word has spread and we get a lot of tourists coming down to see it.

“When I tell them my name is Robert they say ‘Boaby the barman’.”

The pub has even had a visit from the actual Boaby the barman after actor Gavin Mitchell, who plays Boaby in Still Game, swung by.

Robert, who said he’s a fan of Still Game, explained: “He was doing a show at the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon.

“Someone told him there was a pub called The Clansman.

“He came in and got a photo behind the bar pouring pints. We keep the photo on the wall in the pub now.

“I was on holiday in Turkey at the time. I was furious that I’d missed him.”

The Clansman, Dunoon (James Williamson)
The Clansman, Dunoon (James Williamson)

And Robert’s pub isn’t the only Clansman in Scotland.

Bars with the same name can be found in Fraserburgh, Kilmarnock, Airdrie, Plean and Leslie.

Kerry Garvie, bar manager of The Clansman in Caldercruix, Airdrie, said her late brother Lawrence, who used to own the bar, looked like Boaby the barman in his younger days.

She also said the bar gets its fair share of prank calls because of Still Game.

She said: “When the Still Game live show was on we started getting calls from someone saying they were Jack and asking if we were in Craiglang.

“As you’d expect, the phone calls always came from a withheld number.”

And it isn’t just the staff at the bar who think the pub’s name is too good to be true.

Kerry said: “When my brother Lawrence was running the bar he was making calls to get a quote for a new sign and one of the guy’s he called hung up on him when he said the name of the bar.

“I think the guy thought he was winding him up.”

Kerry said her dad, who was also called Lawrence, loved the show and that he owned all the box-sets for it.

Staff in the pub even planned to put on a Still Game pantomime one Christmas but Kerry said they had to ditch the idea when punters started arguing about who would play who.

She said: “I love Still Game. All of us do.”


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