Hamish Macbeth, or why you should love the English language if you didn’t already

“Aye, tempis fairly fugits.”
Lachlan McCrae (Hamish Macbeth: The Great Lochdubh Salt Robbery)

lochdubh

From left to right: TV John, Lachie Jr., and Lachie’s father Lachlan McCrae, he of the fugiting tempis.

I’m rewatching one of my favourite shows under the pretense of introducing it to J. And, although the show is 90% quotable one-liners, this particular philosophical musing had us both in stitches.

Inevitably, every year or two (going on fifteen years now) I find myself rewatching what is possibly the most glorious piece of television known to man: Hamish Macbeth. Loosely centered around the titular character, a laidback, sarcastic policeman in the very, very small (fictional) Scottish town of Lochdubh, Hamish Macbeth ran for three seasons between 1995 and 1997. If it were a person, people would say that it “had a flair for the dramatic,” if they were being kind, and “it’s off its rocker,” if they weren’t. Its loopier moments aside, Hamish Macbeth is home to some of the deftest writing ever done for television – or any other medium. But be warned: between the thick accents, odd bits of Gaelic, and mile-a-minute, in-joke-laden dialogue, this is not a show you can put on in the background while you do the dishes (not to mention the non-verbal interactions are some of the show’s best).

hamish

Macbeth and Jock, the least imposing police dog there has ever been.

However, give Hamish the attention it deserves and you will be rewarded with some of the most glorious sentences ever produced in the English language, a life-long love of Robert Carlyle, and an seemingly inexplicable tendency to laugh hysterically whenever you see three sheep abreast.

For the curious, it’s on youtube. Enjoy the fabulous 90s intro – so much tartan, so little time.

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