Early Doors: One of the best British comedies of the 2000s yet still highly underrated

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
5 Min Read

Calling all comedy aficionados! Prepare yourselves for a hidden comedic treasure that has been lurking in the shadows for far too long. “Early Doors,” a BBC sitcom penned by the brilliant minds of Craig Cash and Phil Mealey, is undoubtedly one of the finest British comedies of the 2000s, yet it has sadly remained largely underappreciated. But fear not, for this comedic gem has made a triumphant return, and you can now bask in its hilarity on BBC iPlayer.

Before we delve into why “Early Doors” is a must-watch, let’s take a moment to celebrate its impressive 8.4/10 rating on IMDB. A score like that is a testament to its quality, but it’s baffling how this comedic marvel has managed to fly under the radar for so long. Perhaps it’s because the show only ran for two series, comprising just twelve episodes. Nevertheless, this comedy classic deserves its moment in the spotlight.

Set in the heart of Stockport, “Early Doors” revolves around the daily life at The Grapes, a cosy pub where love, loneliness, and blocked urinals intertwine in a delightful mix of Northern humour. The series boasts a fantastic ensemble cast, each bringing their own unique charm to the table. From the sarcastic yet kind-hearted landlord, Ken (played brilliantly by John Henshaw), to the ever-entertaining dynamic duo of Joe and Duffy, portrayed by the show’s creators themselves, Craig Cash and Phil Mealey, “Early Doors” is a masterclass in character-driven comedy.

Policemen Phil and Nige will have you in stitches

Now, let’s talk about the comedy twosome of “Early Doors” – the local policemen, Phil and Nige, portrayed by James Quinn and Peter Wight, respectively. These two law enforcement officers are far from your typical cops, and their bumbling misadventures will have you in stitches. From their shady dealings to recreational drug use, Phil and Nige constantly find themselves in comical predicaments. Their parting expression, “Crime can’t crack itself,” has become their trademark catchphrase.

In one memorable scene, Phil and Nige demonstrate their knack for getting into hilarious trouble. They arrive at The Grapes, police radios crackling in the background with what sounds like a random police message. But in true “Early Doors” fashion, it’s a cheeky hidden message spelt out phonetically – a profanity or swear word, adding to the show’s irreverent charm.

“Early Doors” is a love letter to everyday life, infused with wit, warmth, and a delightful cast of characters that will capture your heart. The show’s simple yet effective formula of setting every scene within the cosy confines of The Grapes gives it an authentic and intimate atmosphere, drawing viewers into the lives of its endearing regulars.

Throughout the series, you’ll encounter unforgettable characters like the intellectually challenged yet madly-in-love couple, Eddie and Joan Bell, portrayed by Mark Benton and Lorraine Cheshire. Their interactions with Ken, often revolving around the topic of temporary traffic lights nearby, are comedic gold.

And let’s not forget the attractive, lovely natured barmaid, Tanya, played by Susan Cookson, who becomes the love interest of none other than the lovable but crooked pub landlord himself, Ken. Their on-screen chemistry is a joy to behold, and Tanya’s charm will leave you rooting for her and Ken.

“Early Doors” celebrates the beauty of the ordinary, bringing laughter and joy to the small moments in life that often go unnoticed. It’s an irresistible blend of Northern humour, endearing characters, and expertly crafted comedy that will leave you yearning for more.

So, fellow comedy enthusiasts, do yourself a favour and indulge in the comedic brilliance of “Early Doors” on BBC iPlayer. It’s time for this underrated gem to take its rightful place among the best British comedies of all time. Prepare for belly laughs, heartfelt moments, and a newfound appreciation for the beauty of the ordinary. Let “Early Doors” brighten your day and prove that great comedy never goes out of style!

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