Skip to content

“Player” is a new sitcom about a game dev in Dundee in the 80’s

Yes, all of what you just read in the title above is true. It’s a real thing.

I spoke with Raymond Fiel, the creator of Player which has a pilot coming to BBC Radio Scotland soon. Here’s what he told me about the show.

Player is a new sitcom pilot commissioned by BBC Radio Scotland written by Raymond Friel and produced by TVANDNOTTV.

 What is Player about?

 A young man from Dundee who struggles with his sexuality after playing Ms Pacman for the first time.


No. It is 1988. Anything is possible. Even in Dundee. Casey is 20 and dreams of turning his bedroom hobby into something massive – he designs video games and has seen the future… But first he has to convince his parents that he isn’t wasting his life and should get a job with some security instead. Like in Woolworths.

Really? Yes.

Why did you want to make a sitcom about a videogame programmer in the 80s?

Unlike today where major game releases have similar budgets to summer blockbuster films (GTA 5 cost $265 million dollars to produce and the recent Destiny $500 million) in the 80s it wasn’t so much a cottage industry as a bedroom one – many of the games were coded by mavericks working in the family home while juggling school, college or dead-end jobs. It’s such an interesting time, at the point when videogames were seen as at best niche and at worst a passing fad.

So the setting is crucial and not just a poor excuse to use tons of classic music from the 80s?

In the history of videogames this was the Wild West of ideas as without an established framework the coders could only rely on their instincts and imagination. While this can have spectacularly good results (the huge hit Lemmings being one) it can also result in incredibly bad decision making, Drugged-Out Hippy for example, which later became the disastrous Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll that was rumoured to be banned even before it was released (it never was) and which ultimately led to the collapse of Sensible Software. So it’s actually a very good excuse to use lots of great music and not a poor one.

The perception of gamers in the 80 was one of sad and pathetic teenage boys who can’t get a girlfriend and so retreat to a digital world where they can play God as in reality their lives were utterly meaningless and irrelevant. Care to comment?

It’s always best to write what you know isn’t it?

Thank you for your time and I hope you find your glasses soon.

Player is on BBC RADIO SCOTLAND on the 22nd September at 1.32pm (and available to download via BBC Radio Player from the 22nd until the 28th September).

You can listen to a wee bit of Player right now. Just click the link here: Player

Published inFeatures