Winston is one of the main supporting characters in the TV series, Still Game. He is played by Scottish actor Paul Riley. Winston's age is not revealed during the series but it is safe to assume that he is around 70-75 years of age. In "Big Yin" he gets a job in Food Fare, because he was "too fond of the pub and the bookies", however, this job only lasted until the end of the episode.
Winston was born on 18th September 1932 (as stated on his application form in the episode "Big Yin". He has been good friends with Jack and Victor since they were in their early-twenties. At this time, the three men had conflicting relationships with the same girl, named Jenny Turnbull. This would come back to haunt Winston in later life, as he feared he may have fathered an illegitimate child with Jenny. To Winston's relief, the father of the child was actually Pete McCormack, better known as "Pete the Jakey".
At some point in his life, Winston was married. Although the name of Winston's wife was never mentioned in the show, the stage show revealed her name to be Cissy. Also, Cissy was mentioned to have died in the stage show and described himself in the first series as "happily divorced". Winston and his wife had two children, a daughter named Margaret and a son named Brian. Winston also has two grandsons named Joe and Thomas.
Winston worked most of his days at Yarrows, a major shipbuilding firm based in the Scotstoun district of Glasgow. He describes his job as a "Clyde fitter", a position he maintained for 35 years. Whilst working at Yarrows, Winston was struck down with food poisoning, due to eating bad stew cooked by Vince Gallagher, who was the most unhygienic chef ever. Winston recalls how he was ill for nine days with vomiting and diarrhoea. He would never forgive Vince for this. Eventually, Winston retired from Yarrows, due to his age.
Life as a pensionerEdit
In Series One, Winston was still living in Craiglang. His two best friends are Jack and Victor, although he seems to have a strong relationship with Tam, more so than any of the other characters in the series. Together with Jack and Victor; they form the main three characters in the series.
Winston, when out, is nearly always in either the Clansman or in the bookies, and has run-ins with both Boaby the barman and Stevie the bookie. Winston has been put out the Clansman a few times during the series and almost barred a few times aswell, some of these incidents include throwing his false leg at Boaby in temper, for arguing with Boaby the barman over whether or not a pint glass was clean or not, for playing cards and generally being abusive toward Boaby. He has had a long standing rivalry with the bookie Stevie Reid over the series and says about Stevie "you hate it when I win and you love it when I lose" to which Stevie replies: "that's right". This rivalry culminates when in an episode of series three, Winston puts on an accumulator and ends up winning £32,500, after Winston hears the result of his final bet he rushes down to the bookies to claim his winnings only to find Stevie has done "a runner" with all the cash. The rivalry flairs up again in series five when Stevie returns to Craiglang under the name "Frankie" and claims to be Stevie's brother.
Run-ins with DHSSEdit
He has also had various run-ins with "the social" in bids to get more money. A year before the events of Series One, Winston had a knee injury and was in hospital. While Winston's knee was still bad, he qualified for invalidity benefit. However, when Winston's knee had recovered, he still continued to claim benefits. The DHSS cut his pension money until the overpayments were recuperated. Winston fell into poverty, until he won £500 from a free tin of cat food.
In Series Two, Winston had a home help worker, named Mrs. Begg, while having a sore knee. Mrs Begg was highly suspicious of Winston, and warned him that if she found out he was trying it on, he would be off the register. Shortly afterwards, Winston was caught by Mrs. Begg dancing in the bookies. He begged her not to report him, but she did and he was no longer allowed to have home help. However, Winston later caught Mrs. Begg having an affair with Bert Findlay, and she agreed to be his home help again, in order to cover up what happened.
Examples of Winston's previous attempts of claiming with the DHSS include: getting compensation because "two big men came in, tied him up and stole his cooker and fireplace", incontinence due to a motorcycle accident etc. When he goes to get extra benefits because of his bad foot, the benefits officer does not believe him and dismisses it as another attempt at getting money he is not entitled to, he then shows whats left of his foot to the worker who quickly changes her attitude upon seeing it.
As previously mentioned, Winston has a bad foot in Series Three. This stemmed from his years as a heavy smoker, telling a doctor that he smoked eighty cigarettes a day. Towards the end of that episode, we see Winston on a hospital bed humourously saying to a doctor "Now doctor, give it to me straight, I can take it, I'm a man. Are they going to have to hack it off?", to which he is replied "Yes", much to Winston's astonishment. After Winston's foot is amputated, he is given a prosthetic leg by the NHS. However, when he goes to the hospital, the only foot they have is for a woman and takes it, much to the amusement of everyone at the pub.
Working as a PensionerEdit
Due to being "too fond of the pub and the bookies", Winston has found himself working on several occasions. In the second series episode "Scran", Jack and Victor were looking after Navid's shop, while Navid was away in India. Winston asked for a job, and was accepted. Winston suggested that Jack and Victor provide hot food for the locals, in order to drive business away from his old enemy, Vince, who had recently set up a snack van to provide for the builders at the nearby site. In the third series episode "Big Yin", Winston applies for a job at Food Fare. Winston is accepted, but soon founds himself being bullied by a much younger employee named Kevin; who was very arrogant and ageist towards Winston. Winston's job only lasts until the end of the episode, where he had enough and punched Kevin in the face. In the sixth series episode "Seconds Out", Winston gets a job as a pizza delivery man. Winston takes this job seriously, and refuses to give Jack and Victor a free pizza.
Move to FinportEdit
In series five, Winston decides he has had enough of Craiglang and wants to move to the seaside town of Finport (based on and filmed in Saltcoats). At first he is ridiculed by Jack and Victor who do not think he is being serious, however it turns out that they are actually concerned for him, as they don't feel that Finport is the answer. Later on when Winston is leaving, everyone at the Clansman throws him a small leaving party and gives him a gift, except for Tam who when Winston gets to after thanking everyone for the gifts he says "Tam.... thanks for watching everyone else give me a present" replies: "Not a problem, Winston". Initially, Winston's time in Finport appears to be happy, however when Jack and Victor go to visit him; the true nature of Finport is revealed. The town is quiet with the shops mostly shut, or overly expensive. For example, it costed about £4.80 for two Bacardi and diet lemonades from the run-down B&B Jack and Victor end up spending the night at after day one of their quest to find Winston. At night, it is apparently a dangerous place with one resident saying "When darkness comes, Finport belongs to the young team". When Jack and Victor eventually meet up with Winston, he is very reluctant to show them his home. However, later on, the pair follow him back home much to Winston's dismay. Winston then tells them that the house he was offered unbeknownst to him was sheltered housing and he rejected the offer. In the end, Winston decides to return to Craiglang.
Quest to CharacteristicsEdit
Winston is smaller than Victor, but taller than Jack. He has a pot belly, a red face, grey hair and wears glasses. Winston wears a prosthetic leg, due to having it amputated due to his smoking habit. Unlike Jack and Victor, Winston tends to be less smartly dressed. He rarely wears a tie, and he prefers to wear joggers rather than smart trousers. Winston is usually seen wearing a bunnet.
Winston can be aggressive from time to time. Usually, this is against people whom he hates, like Stevie the Bookie, although he has been known to lose his temper with his friends as well. Despite his temper, Winston is generally a friendly man. Winston genuinely cares about the welfare of his friends. Winston can be dishonest when it comes to money. He can be a crook sometimes, such as when he rigged his electricity meter in order to get free electricity. Winston is a funny man, who likes to give his friends a good laugh. He can be sarcastic when people are being nosey with him.
As a consequence of his 80-a-day smoking habit, Winston's leg became infected, and had to be amputated. Winston considers himself to be lucky, as it could have ended up with lung cancer. Besides his leg, Winston has so far not been affected in other ways from his smoking. Apart from losing his leg, Winston keeps reasonably well. Winston is overweight, although he claims that he has earned his "beer belly", because he is a pensioner who has worked all his days to loaf around.
Winston was married to Cissy for many years until her death. Winston never talks about his wife and it appears as if he doesn't mourn her, as he likes living on his own. Winston enjoys romancing with other women and doesn't feel guilty about betraying his late wife's memory, unlike Jack Jarvis. Winston and Cissy had two children together, a son named Brian and a daughter named Margaret.
In the stage show which preceded the series, Winston refers numerous times to his brother who lives in Nevada, much to Jack and Victor's dismay. At the end of the show the 3 friends decide to book flights to visit him. However, he is never mentioned in the series proper.
In Series 7, his brother Walter is introduced, he is shown to be funnier and more popular than Winston, but it was later revealed that he only visited because their Aunt Lily passed away, expecting money, showing himself to be selfish and self caring.
Winston's relationship with his son is unknown, as he only mentioned him once in the series. His relationship with his daughter Margaret, is somewhat good. Winston loves his daughter, but he doesn't like his grandson Thomas. Winston almost refused to look after Thomas while Margaret was on holiday, but relented when Margaret pleaded with Winston that she desperately needed the holiday. In the stage show he mentions a son who died in a road accident in the 1960s, resulting in a huge insurance payout which was squandered at the bookies.
Winston's relationship with his grandson Joe was reasonably good. Winston helped to train Joe as a boxer, even though Joe wasn't very good at boxing. Winston was defensive of Joe whenever he was mocked. After Joe was knocked out at boxing, Winston never mentions him again. It is unknown what became of this relationship. Winston's relationship with his other grandson, Thomas, was strained. Winston disliked Thomas for his bad behaviour, and was furious to be giving the job of looking after him. Winston tried his best to discipline Thomas and was touched when Thomas gave him a "tomato plant" as a present. However, Thomas continued to misbehave and Winston was nearly reporting Thomas to his parents when he ate cookies containing cannabis. It turned out that the "tomato plant" was actually a marijuana plant, used to bake the cookies. Since Winston was stoned, Thomas was off the hook.
Jack and VictorEdit
Jack and Victor are Winston's two best friends. He has known them since they were in their early twenties. Over the years, the three men have enjoyed each other's company, although they are prone to arguing and winding each other up. Winston is sometimes the one who helps sort out fights between Jack and Victor. Winston felt left out when they wouldn't invite them on their 60th anniversary day out, and insulted them. Jack and Victor ended up forgiving Winston.
Winston tends to have a strong relationship with Tam, more so than any other characters of the series. Tam can be seen as Winston's 'double act' partner. Winston's strong relationship with Tam is shown in a few episodes, in an earlier episode he and Tam are shown playing golf together. Winston is also the only one who seems to be willing (or perhaps capable) of being Tams best man at his wedding and ultimately ends up being his best man at the 5th choice. However, Winston can be irritated, like everyone else, of Tam's selfish and tight attitude. Winston is not above threatening Tam when he goes too far with his selfishness. In the episode "Hyper", Tam seems to have a personality change due to dangerously putting his finger in a working toaster and proceeds to buy Winston gifts and meals etc, however later on Winston feels bad having taken advantage of Tams accident.
The relationship between Winston and Isa is interesting. Winston is said to "hate" Isa, which is true to a certain extent, as he can't stand her gossiping. However, Winston genuinely cares for Isa, and would hate to see her hurt. When Isa's estranged husband Harry turned up, Winston was hostile towards Harry and criticised Isa for taking him back in. After Harry walked out on Isa, Winston helped to comfort her. When Harry returned again, Winston pretended to be Isa's boyfriend in order to fend off Harry, although Winston was less hostile towards Harry this time. After Harry got the message and left, Winston and Isa continued their relationship, although Winston only kept it up for the free food. Eric helped Winston to break off the relationship. Winston and Isa still remain good friends. Although there does seem to be a mutual attraction between the two, the main put off for Winston is Isa's gossiping.
Winston has known Navid since 1975, when they met at Victor's Hogmanay party. Winston taught Navid some funny Scottish sayings along with Tam. Winston is a frequent customer of Navid's shop, and they get on reasonably well together. However, Winston has been critical of Navid for being over-pricy with his goods. Winston helped Jack and Victor to talk Navid out of torching Hyperdales, in revenge for losing his shop.
Eric is another of Winston's friends. Winston tends to spend time with Eric as well as with Jack and Victor. Eric once helped Winston to get him out of a potential relationship with Isa. During the Christmas period, Winston helped Eric with his Christmas shopping, as the good stuff was going fast.
The relationship between Winston and Boaby can be difficult. Winston likes to give Boaby light-hearted abuse, which Boaby usually tolerates. However, Winston has gone too far on numerous occasions, causing Boaby to bar him. Although, Boaby does forgive Winston and appreciates him as being a regular customer. When the Clansman was set to close, Winston helped to save the pub by organising a protest. Boaby liked the effort. Before Winston left Craiglang for Finport, Boaby admitted that he thought Winston was an "arsehole", but admired him for having the guts to take a stand and make a change in his life. During his stay in Finport, Winston asked Victor "how's Boaby", which made him suspicious. When Winston returned to Craiglang, Winston greeted Boaby with a string of insults, but excused himself by saying he was away six weeks. When Boaby was involved in a feud with Stevie Reid, Winston felt that Boaby was the lesser of two evils, and wanted to see him triumph over Stevie.
Winston has several enemies in the show. Some notable examples have included:
Stevie 'the bookie' Reid is without doubt, Winston's worst enemy. Winston hates Stevie for being so arrogant and cocky and quotes: "You (Stevie) hate it when I win and you love it when I lose." As such, Winston is always hostile towards Stevie and calls him offensive names such as "bastard" and "thieving prick". The feud started in Series 3, when Winston started an accumulator in the episode drama it is show that he had a wanted poster of him