Caraidean-I’ll Be There, Co Dhuibh

12 06 2021

There has been an impressive amount of media interest in the recent ‘reunion’ show of the hugely successful US sitcom ‘Friends’. The six main cast members got back together to reminisce about the show with chat show host James Cordon and to relive some of the most memorable moments. 

Not to be outdone, BBC Alba quickly gathered together the cast of their long running ‘Caraidean’ sitcom and plonked them in a studio on Seaforth Rd to reminisce with chat show host James GordonDiesel. It has always been rumoured that the BBC Alba version influenced the US version and that the pilot of Friends was actually done totally in Gaelic.   

The BBC Alba show revolved around 6 friends living in adjacent apartments in New Valley who seemingly spent more time in a coffee shop than they ever did working (much like any Leodhasach frequenting the Coffee Pot in the 1980’s). The coffee shop in question was called Central Perkend (and all the scenes were actually filmed in the Coffee Pot).

The six Caraidean were:

Soay Tribbiani:- A struggling actor of Hiortach/Italian descent, Soay had an occasional part in Machair as Dr Drake Ramworrier. He was played by Matt Le Fank. His famous catch phrase was ‘How ewe doin’?’

JimmyShandler Bingo:-  He works ‘in data analysis’ for the Comhairle but no one knows what the fleek he exactly does. In the US version Chandler was a master of sarcasm.In the BBC Alba version he was a master of the Catechism. Played by Ma-shiar Ferry

Ross Geilear:- A Professor of Plantology at the Lews Castle College (ie teaching Crofting), and frequently married. His first wife became a Stornoway Thespian. Played by David Gimmer.

WeeFreeBe Buffay:-  The eccentric one of the group. She sings terrible songs and is a professional Mawsuese. Played by Lisa Kuddypointrow.

Mawnica Geilear:- Brother of Ross and a cook in the Niccy school canteen. Had a long secret romance with Jimmyshandler.  Played by Courstney Lochs.

Rachael Coulegrèin:- Rachael works in high fashion as a buyer for The Fishermen’s Co-op. Had an on/off relationship with Ross. Played by Jennifer Arnol-ston.

Each episode was named after the events that took place in the show,  such as ‘The One With Marcel The Pet Guga’, ‘The One With The Church Schism’, ‘The One Where They Were On A Breakwater’ and ‘The One With The Other Church Schism’.

Crazy situations arose, lovers came and went, jobs changed and births and marriages took place, but throughout it all the six characters stayed the best of friends, bizarrely avoiding the local ‘curse of the falling out’ inherent in all aspects of Hebridean life. 

Who can forget WeeFreeBe’s ‘Smelly Cac’ song being entered in the Mod (and winning); Chanice with the annoying laugh; Ross getting stuck in his leather boiler suit; and Soay and his many. many sexual conquests (who were all played by the same actress wearing a different wig each time due to BBC Alba budget constraints). 

Very occasionally, when those BBC Alba budgets allowed, the storylines took the cast off to some exotic locations. When Ross was married to posh white settler blone Emily Woolham (played by Hellish Laxendale), a whole episode was filmed in the old RAF camp at Aird Uig, where her WIE-funded goat-hair dreamcatcher weaving business was based.

The well known theme song to the series, ‘I’ll be There Co Dhuibh’, was performed by the Rambrants with lead vocals by Bogie (who coincidentally played the occasional part of Dr Rich-cearc Burp, Mawnica’s suave and sophisticated older boyfriend).

I’ll Be There Co Dhuibh

So no one told you life was gonna be stuck in Stornoway

Your job’s a joke, you boke

You’re chust like B-O-gie

It’s like you’re always dressed in Wrangler gear

When it hasn’t been your dram, your shout, your round

For many’s a year, but

I’ll be there co dhuibh

(When the dram starts to pour)

I’ll be there co dhuibh

(Like I’ve been drunk before)

I’ll be there co dhuibh 

(‘Cause you’re there when me spew)