The High Life

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Friday 9:30 PM Jan 06, 1995 on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

Steve's impending thirtieth birthday has him feeling disenchanted with his complete lack of any career progression so when Sebastian spots an advert for two flight attendents to switch to long haul flights they apply. Before they can do so they have to get a reference from Shona who, having encountered her convict father on board a flight, is having troubles of her own. Will Steve and Sebastian be able to impress the "inspector incognito" aboard the flight or will Sebastian's caustic remarks and bad attitude let the pair down?moreless

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (2)

      • The dustjacket of "Dinnae be Feart - Grab Life by the Nuts" doesn't indicate an author or even a publishing house.

      • Shona is referred to as "Miss Spurtle" by Pam despite her name badge only saying "Shona" and her not giving Pam her name in conversation.

    • QUOTES (14)

      • Sebastian: Oh, that'll be how you're grumpy, eh? 'Coz you've entered your fourth decade.
        Steve: That's it. Mock away, mock away.
        Sebastian: Auch, come on, Steve. It's only a number.
        Steve: A very big number. It's the post-feminist, pre-life crisis. It's a watershed. When you get to this age, you start thinking, should I settle down, get married, have kids, start wearing comfy leisure gear, go caravanning? Or should I fuel the fire that roars burny, burny, deep within me?

      • Steve: As it says in this book, "today is the first day of the rest of your life, and who knows, today might be the day when everything starts to change for the better.
        Sebastian: Aye, and shite doesnae stink.

      • Steve: Aye, knowing your sweat's 100% proof.
        Sebastian: Meaning? Meaning??
        Steve: Meaning, you are an alkie, you are a dipso, you are a lush.
        Sebastian: I have been known to indulge in the occasional drink, yes.
        Steve:Ah, define "occasional".
        Sebastian: Once, every couple of hours.

      • Sebastian: This new deodorant I'm wearing is PISH! It's supposed to be made out of plant extracts. Aye, nettles more like. It's nippy as fudd. And do you know what Steve? There's great globules of sweat running all the way round to my back and right down to the shuck of my arse.
        Steve: Sebastian. It's 5.30am. It's a little early to be discussing the intricacies of your overactive glands.
        Sebastian: Oh! Well! At least my overactive glands are in my oxsters and not in my pants.

      • Shona: Sebastian - is there a problem up your end?
        Sebastian: Give me a mirror and a torch and I'll check!

      • Inspector: So, less of your lip or I'll have you in under charges of harrassing an officer in plain clothes.
        Shona: In very plain clothes.

      • Steve: Just goes to show you that gardening isn't the safe pursuit we're all led to believe, eh?
        Incognito Inspector: Especially when your garden is a window box on the ninth floor.

      • Shona: But - can I be blunt?
        Sebastian: If I can be Philby.
        Steve: And I can be Burgess.
        Sebastian and Steve: Oh - dearie me!

      • Shona: Ohhh - I forgot. I'd like to say that you don't look a day over twenty five!
        Steve: Aw - thanks Shona.
        Shona: Ah-ah - I'd like to but I can't 'cos it'd be a dreadful lie - you look ganting!

      • Shona: Natter not for I have something special to tells you.
        Sebastian: You are a man?
        Shona: No!
        Steve: You're a woman?
        Shona: No! Ooooh! Less of the gender gibes you carroty little dwarf!

      • Sebastian: Who will we ask for a second?
        Steve: It'll have to be Shona.
        Sebastian: Who - Hitler in tights?

      • Steve: My colleague and I would like to fill up your vacancies.
        Sebastian: Oooh, saucy!

      • Captain Duff: Morning U-hur-ah, morning Chekov.

      • Sebastian: My Doctor said it was healthy for me to sweat a lot!
        Steve: Knowing your sweat is 100% proof!

    • NOTES (6)

      • Alan Cumming and Siobhan first appeared together in a production of Macbeth in 1985. Alan played Malcolm and Siobhan played Lady MacDuff.

      • During the opening credits dance sequence, Alan Cumming can be seen placing his finger over his top lip like Hitler, as opposed to saluting. He was fresh from performing in Cabaret in the West End.

      • Air Scotia, we learn, is based at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport and Sebastian, Steve and Shona have been working together for nine years at this point.

      • The book Steve is reading in this episode is "Dinnae be Feart - Grab Life By The Nuts".

      • The word "feart" is Scots for "feared" or "scared".

      • This is the first episode in which the theme tune is played. The lyrics are as follows:

        If you're feeling kinda tedious
        If life is seriously mediocre
        Here's how to get that adrenaline flowin'
        Just step aboard a Boeing, going up ahh! (Highhhhhh)

        We're living the High Life
        We're living it wellllll
        We're livin' the High Life
        We're livin' things swellllll

        We're up in the sky
        We're flyin' so high - oh my oh my
        We're livin' the hiiiiighh liiiiiiiffee
        The High Life!

    • ALLUSIONS (4)

      • In Shona flashback scene, we hear her skipping to "Shang-A-Lang"

        This is a hit from Scottish band Bay City Rollers, popular in the early 1970s.

      • Captain Duff plays the song "The Hokey-Cokey" during the flight.

        This is a traditional party participation dance.

      • Shona: Can I be blunt?
        Sebastian: If I can be Philby
        Steve: And I can be Burgess

        Blunt, Philby, Burgess and Maclean were the infamous British double-agents during World War II who passed British intelligence to the KGB. They had all met at Cambridge University and so became known as the "Cambridge Spies".

      • Captain Duff: Morning U-hur-ah, morning Chekov... Scotty tells us that there are some Klingons approaching us at warp factor six

        Captain Duff appears to believe himself to be the Vulcan character, Spock, from "Star Trek". This is because he's been to a Star Trek convention and is "a little confused". Steve and Sebastian get rid of him by pretending to be calling him from the bridge although Duff confides in Steve (believing him to be Uhura) that even though he's "half man, half Vulcan" he still finds "her" to be very attractive.

    • 10:00 pm