“Spot on. Year!”
So when I say this is far and away my favourite sitcom it’s high accolade and against the grain of the general concensus that would have Only Fools And Horses as the best tv comedy show ever.
But then I always preferred the dark side. The League Of Gentlemen and other alternative comedies appealed to me faar more than a lot of the greats but don’t read me too wrong; I can take as much of George and Mildred or On The Buses as you could throw at me.
Written by Craig Cash (he of The Royle Family) and Phil Mealey, both would star in this fantastically northern comedy about the woes of back street pub landlord Ken Dixon (John Henshaw) and the regular clientele.
Ken Dixon (Landlord)
And it’s that regualar clientele that endeared me most, mainly because in the same way Little Britain made sketches based on people they had actually seen rather than invent these eccentric souls, you’d lay money that in any given pub somewhere, there are people just like Joan and Eddie!
Then there’s the ‘bill’ – a pair of coppers who drop in for freebies and cause mayhem – you couldn’t write it but Phil Mealey did and I thank him eternally.
Just like the classic Fawlty Towers, just two series and a dozen episodes were made and I’ve trimmed my DvD box set into gorgeous snippets for others to watch and enjoy.
So let’s start at the beginning, for what a very food place to start, with Ken opening up the pub and greeting Tommy, ever the first through the door…
In this second clip we meet Joe and Duffy (Craig Cash and Phil Mealey) in the now famous “This Charming Man” scene where at the end, to get the lads’ attention for the upcoming big boys beano, he says “hang on, let me just turn this shite down!”…
The overview of episode one is that Ken, sets about organising the Big Boys’ Beano, Jean and Winnie try to protect a friend’s reputation and the local police, Phil and Nige attempt to solve the off-license robbery. Melanie’s search for her real father progresses but is Ken really as pleased as he seems?
Meanwhile, temporary traffic lights and the build up of cigarette butts in the urinals cause problems in The Grapes. Introducing the antithesis of “fast” Eddie…
As we meet the characters one by one, this time it’s Ken’s mum Jean who does nowt but sit upstairs all day on her inhaler, scoffing sweets! In this scene there’s also fellow gossiper, Winnie, who’s the regular char. Jean’s read an article in the local rag about some misdemeanour by the son of a friend and only gone and photo-copied it. What kind of callous person would do that?!