I’m behind again I know but whilst skimming through iPlayer, which you kind of have to do this year as the BBC have been on fire with some of their output and for a non-regular TV viewer it’s easy to miss something spectacular, I found the delightfully dark thriller comedy Stag.
As you might have guessed we join a bunch of guys out on a stag weekend.
The cast are a group of unlikeable middle aged guys and the groom to be’s soon to be brother-in-law. Tim, the brother-in-law, is about the only instantly likeable character. The others are loud, already drunk and don’t appreciate being dumped with a stranger.
They instantly make themselves despised by the locals in the small Scottish pub they meet in and soon even upset their guide for the weekend, the wonderful James Cosmo, who leaves them stranded in the woods.
When they start to get attacked by a hidden force all hell, and a lot of laughs, ensue.
I really enjoyed it from beginning to end. It has a great cast who just work so well together and some of the jokes are so well delivered you just never expected them. Its a strange group of characters to have together, at first it just looks like a load of posh idiots but when you actually learn about them they all have a story to tell and it isn’t quite as happy as you first thought.
The biggest shame I guess is that the killing starts very early on so some characters who had stories to tell are dead before you get a chance to hear them. In fact my three favourite characters, won’t name them to spoil them, all die in the episode. Its extremely sad. It did feel a little bit rushed in the first episode but at the same time it also maybe felt that way because the three guys that died were my favourites.
There are genuinely some really good laugh out loud moments and at times a really lovely feeling of bonding between the characters. At other times there are moments that make you groan, in the best possible way, and so far they have managed to make each death scene interesting and different.
The cast are brilliant though.
Jim Howick is the perfect lead. From the moment he wanders lost into the pub to find the boisterous party in full swing you are on his side. He isn’t like them, he’s doing his best to both fit in and keep a eye on his sisters future husband whilst at all turns of the story being shunned by Ledge (JJ Field) who doesn’t seem to want his best friend to even look in his direction. Howick manages to bring a sense of normality to the proceedings whilst the others just stumble around drunk, afraid and very ready to point the finger of blame at anyone.
One of my favourite moments is delivered by Amit Shah who brings a innocent side to the show, when talking about giants in Scotland he starts to compare them to the BFG… Without the F. Everything about that scene was just immensely funny and the pay off (what a BeeGees?) had me in stitches.
The other character that I loved was Neils, played by Pilou Asbaek. He seemed to be as completely at odds with the group as Ian is. It isn’t even just the fact he was Danish but he didn’t really seem to fit with the group, always on the outside, quick to disengage with the bickering and a real mans man. Why he ended up on a Stag night with these lot I don’t know but I will never forget him walking around with the bottom half of Wendy over his shoulders (Wendy being played by one of my British Heroes Reece Shearsmith who is as grumpy as ever but opens up in a sweet way to Ian whilst searching for Aitken. OK so I’ve just given away one death… Sorry about that!)
I know this review ended up even later then it started and we’ll be sitting down to episode 2 tonight but if my words can at least get one more person to either watch it tonight or find it on iPlayer then I feel like I’ve done my job as this is another little gem from the BBC that deserves all the love in the world.