Saturday, 2 February 2013


Great Night Out is a comedy-drama series currently showing on ITV1 at 9 pm on Friday nights, which focuses on the lives of four mid-thirties blokes purportedly living in Stockport. Much of the action seems to centre around copious consumption of pints of smooth bitter in the pub, although surely working-class men of that age would be much more likely to be drinking Carling.

Many of the exterior scenes were actually shot in Edgeley in Stockport, but the featured pub, the Admiral Lord Nelson, is actually the Queen’s Arms nearly 200 miles away in Battersea, London, which indeed as can be seen from the picture is a pub of very distinctly “London” appearance.

Some of the best TV moments of recent decades have come from comedy-drama series such as Auf Wiedersehen Pet, but unfortunately this one, while the concept is promising, is actually utterly dreadful, with cardboard characters and unlikely, contrived situations that just do not ring true on any level. Despite the interest of looking for familiar locations, I’ve now given up on it.

Probably the best pub-centred TV show I have ever seen was Early Doors, which had a couple of series on BBC2 in 2003 and 2004. This also had a strong Stockport flavour, with many local street names featuring. Although a sitcom, it was actually like a mildly exaggerated version of real pub life, which perhaps is why some critics found it rather slow-paced. One of the cast was Christine Bottomley who also features as Julie in Great Night Out.


  1. The show is shit but it is far from the shittist thing on telly. It is a load of rehashed jokes you have seen before, some done with a modicum of wit. Mrs Browns boys is far worse for rehashed old crap. Next week the lads do a rehash of carry on camping so stick with it.

    When the BBC by my sitcom "beer warriors" TV will look up. It's about a beer club and I have asked the character of Mudgie to be played by Britain's answer to Brad Pitt.

    Oh and Craig Cash used to work at a stockport radio station. imagine fm used to broadcast near the Pineapple and George pubs. Early Doors was inspired by grotty boozers in Stockport.

  2. Colin Firth would be fine to play me.

    It would be interesting to speculate which actors would be best for other members of the local beard club, although maybe best not committed to print. Lee Boardman might do a good fist of that Alex K bloke if he shaved his beard off.

  3. Think of it like a comedy contempary game of thrones. It's about the war of old man pong V craft through the characters of Dickie and Clarkey. The character of Mudge has gone through a number of changes. At one point he was like the Peter Dinklage character. A drunk whoring dwarf, but is evolving into an Obi Wan Kenobi that hates kids and loves smoking.

  4. 'Early Doors' was wonderfully observed. Craig Cash is well known but Phil Mealy is also one of the writers for The Royle Family. Was it really nearly 10 years ago?

  5. World of Pub is the one the you want to be watching. Massively under-rated.

  6. Early Doors wonderfully observed? Ummm, In some ways. It captured a certain grotty pub and clientele that had already ceased to exist long before the show aired. Not unlike a lot of drama or comedy it does not have to be contemporary.

    However the appeal is in the pathos. The characters are by and large thick losers. Craig Cash has an effective way of portraying these types affectionately and with sympathy. A lot of comedy is cruel but that isn't the perspective employed. Hence you laugh along with them rather than at them and never feel you are mocking the afflicted. Derek is the same thing on Ch4 now.

  7. Cookie

    Early Doors was more like a docu-drama than a comedy. Now, it would seem dated, but let me assure you that 10 years ago it was the mirror image of a pub on my manor.

  8. Agreed - that was exactly how pubs were. And, where it still exists, the vault or tap-room can be a great source of humour.

  9. I have been in pubs like the early doors one, when I first started boozing. Not doubting it once existed. But like early Corrie was never contemporary Manchester even in the 60's, it was based on Salford of the 40's of Tony Warren's youth.

    The pubs of Early Doors had ceased to exist by the time Early Doors first aired. Part of the appeal was nostalgia from episode 1.

    As for the type of pub it portrayed, you could see that had little appeal both by going in one and from the show. Whilst it was painted with warmth and affection if in real life you encounted one and the sorts that drank in them you would not give it or them the time of day. You would think "Good God, what a shit hole"

    I have both series on DVD and love the show, but it was a look through rose coloured glasses at a past that had already gone for reasons you could understand and won't really be missed.


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