MUSSELBURGH actor James Martin says he is "available for work" if offered a part in another series of Still Game which is due to be aired on BBC1 later this year.

The 86-year-old, who is a strong supporter of The Hollies Day Centre, told the Courier that he had not officially heard if he would be once again star as his character 'Eric' in the popular sitcom.

But he added: "I am available for work."

Mr Martin was back in action for the new series of Still Game, which was screened last year after an absence of around nine years.

The show was created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who play the lead characters, Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, two Glaswegian pensioners.

The characters also appeared in the pair’s previous television show Chewin’ the Fat, which aired in Scotland from January 1999 until June 2000.

Following its debut in 2002, some 44 episodes of Still Game were aired, including Christmas and Hogmanay specials.

Mr Martin was originally cast in the sitcom, having worked with the director Michael Hines, when Mr Martin starred as the grandfather in Barmy Aunt Boomerang with Toyah Wilcox, who played a ghost.

One of the three children featured in the comedy series was Hollywood actor Richard Madden, best known for portraying Robb Stark in the HBO series Game of Thrones and Prince Kit in Disney’s Cinderella.

Mr Martin has also appeared in the Glasgow crime series Taggart, where he played a murderer.

He has performed Shakespeare for the Royal Lyceum, as well as radio excerpts from the work of the Russian playwright Chekhov.

But he said he was best known for his part in Still Game.

Series eight of Still Game has been commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning, and will return as another six-part series, airing on BBC One in 2017.

The new series will see the core cast - Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Paul Riley, Jane McCarry, Mark Cox, Sanjeev Kohli and Gavin Mitchell - reprise their Still Game roles, filming at BBC Scotland’s Dumbarton Studios in a purpose-built set across the summer of 2017. The series will also film, on location, in and around Glasgow.

Comedy fans across the country celebrated the show’s return last year, which saw it go straight to BBC One network for the first time.

In Scotland, the last series of Still Game became the most watched non-sporting programme in over a decade, with weekly episodes regularly attracting over half of the total audience.

Creator, writer and star of Still Game Greg Hemphill said: "We can't wait to get started on the next batch of adventures with Jack and Victor. We have lots of surprises in store for you!"

Ford Kiernan added: "Chuffed to bits to be coming back for series eight. Greg and I have been cooking up some absolute corkers and we can’t wait to show you what they are."

Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning, is delighted Still Game will return for a new series.

He said: "It’s rare for a show to attain the status of comedy classic whilst it’s still on air. Ford and Greg are at the height of their creative powers and audiences all over the UK just adore their world with these fantastic characters.

"If previous audience figures are anything to go by, let’s hope the national grid can handle the demand."

The new series of Still Game will be a BBC Studios production for BBC One through BBC Scotland. Long-time Still Game collaborator Michael Hines returns as director, with Jacqueline Sinclair once again producing the series. Still Game series eight will be executive produced by Ewan Angus and Steven Canny.

The new series of Still Game will air on BBC One when it returns later this year.