The High Life, 1994

Something from North of the border.  The High Life was a theatrical sitcom that ran for 6 episodes in 1994, after a pilot episode as part of the BBC2 anthology series ‘Comic Asides’

Written by Forbes Masson and Alan Cumming, two Scottish actors and writers who had met at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.  Both had enjoyed success with several solo projects before collaborating together on The High Life.

The series became notable for being was interspersed with surrealism, childish humour, sarcasm and theatrical song and dance numbers and will be best remembered for it’s catchphrase “oh deary me!”

Despite it’s success it only ran for one series due to Cumming’s increasingly successful film career in Hollywood.  In a later interview co-writer Forbes Masson claimed that a second series was written, but not acted upon.


The series follows the cabin crew at the fictional airline, Air Scotia, flying out of Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport. The crew consisted of the camp, alcohol-loving, narcissistic and vindictive steward, Sebastian; his sex-obsessed colleague Steve; their up-tight, antagonistic chief stewardess, Shona Spurtle; and the eccentric pilot, Captain Hilary Duff.

Sebastian and Steve long to be promoted to long-haul flights and see exotic locations, instead of their current short-haul trips with their superior Shona, whom they described as ‘Hitler in tights’, ‘Mussolini in Micromesh’ and ‘Goebbels in a Gossard’. The deranged pilot is Captain Duff, who frequently needs to be reminded who he is, where the cockpit is and where he is flying to.







Alan Cumming – Sebastian Flight
Forbes Masson – Steve McCracken
Siobhan Redmond – Shona Spurtle
Patrick Ryecart – Captain Hilary Duff


Channel: BBC2
Created and Written By: Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson
Produced By: Tony Dow
Original Transmission Dates: 9th January 1994 (Pilot), 6th January – 10th February 1995 (series)

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