Early D0ors, Series One, Episode Six.
One of the few things coming from the north of England that I can actually stomach, ‘Early Doors’ was a comedy set in a pub which aired on the BBC for two series in the middle of this decade. I liked the show because it showcased the every man, the underdogs and the underachievers in a subdued and tasteful manner, all the while making me laugh out loud every thirty seconds.
A day out for the inhabitants of the pub (which includes the classic laddish traits of strippers, horse racing and alcohol) is never shown, instead we see the characters get ready in the pub in the morning consuming beer, full English breakfasts and cigarettes, and also them coming back at night, consuming more beer, crisps, and executive cigars.
It’s not the baudiness, or the sing-songs which really make this episode live long in the memory years after it first aired. Instead it’s the understated, often unassuming sense of sadness that envelopes Early Doors, and threatens to consume it whole at points.
Whether it’s the landlord Ken fretting about whether his adopted daughter will love her new found surrogate father more than him, or Joe wondering when the best time is to tell his best mate Duffy that Duffy’s wife is cheating on him, the bad news threatens to entomb the group, but never does due to the strong sense of humour and camaraderie that keeps everyone together, and presumably keeps them all from topping themselves.
I find it hard, and often irrelvant to write about popular culture, be it a play, a CD or a Wagon Wheel biscuit, because I feel that all that is needed to be said can be found in the theatre, or in the music, or even in the delicious crumbly biscuit, and that any attempt to place something above its station (‘World Class!! Breaking the mould!!!) usually ends up as mindless hyperbole, but I just feel that everyone needs to see this episode.
It requires no previous viewings of the show (although that of course will help) but from the classic opening credits one can immerse themselves into the show without any effort at all. If you’ve ever sat in a pub with your mates drinking and smoking into oblivion you’ll relate to this, hell if you’ve ever experienced talking to anybody you will relate to this in many different ways.
In thirty minutes you’re guided through a mixture of genuine laughs, pangs of sadness, and probably extreme hunger as you view a farms worth of sausages, eggs and bacon get ploughed down by middle aged men eating like they’ll never eat again. Add in the water in your eyes creeping down your tear-ducts at the episode climaxes, and you’ve got the perfect television, and memories that will last you a lifetime. To the regiment…