thu 20/07/2017

Two Doors Down, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

Two Doors Down, BBC Two

Two Doors Down, BBC Two

Gentle suburban comedy about neighbours

Beth (third from left) and Cathy (fourth from right) are the standout characters

With a slightly changed cast and set-up from its Hogmanay-themed pilot, screened on New Year’s Eve 2015, this was the first of a six-part sitcom (written by Simon Carlyle and Gregor Sharp) about the residents of a street in suburban Glasgow.

At its centre are Beth and Eric (Arabella Weir and Alex Norton), a middle-aged couple whose son, Ian (Jamie Quinn), has just decided to leave home and move in with his boyfriend, Jaz, but has yet to tell them. Two doors down live Cathy (Doon Mackichan, acting up a storm) and Colin (Jonathan Watson), while two doors down the other way are Christine and her teenage daughter, the monosyllabic Sophie.

This being sitcomland, nobody is allowed to be entirely normal or boring in a normal way – everyone has a quirk. So Beth is anxious, long-suffering and leaves food in the freezer long past its sell-by date, Eric can’t stop eating, Cathy and Colin are money-obsessed and can’t say anything without bigging themselves up or putting someone else down, while the ever ailing Christine (Elaine C Smith) is a martyr to her waterworks and interested in people’s stories only if they are about accidents or about ill health – so she gets along famously with Jaz (Harki Bhambra), currently off work with stress. Only Ian and Sophie (Sharon Rooney) seem relatively emotional tic-free, but give it time.

The comedy in last night’s opener came from Eric leaving the freezer door open after a secret midnight feast. The food – all of it out of date, much of it unidentifiable – had to be eaten before it spoiled, so Beth asked the neighbours around. Much wine was drunk, and little of the food consumed, as they chatted, voiced quiet insults and embarrassed their loved ones. Eric had been put on a diet by Beth so could only eat sprouts, which really don’t agree with Sophie, as Christine loudly informed the group. "I can hear her through the wall," she said.

Nothing much happened, and the jokes were gently amusing – even if some belong to another age in which being gay is remarkable, and others bear a whiff of pre-use. “You didn’t tell me Ian’s er…  was, was, was…. English!”  If I were being unkind I would say Four Doors Down owes an awful lot to both Abigail’s Party and The Royle Family, as well as socially awkward characters from any number of sketch shows, with equally broadly defined characters – only without the bits that make you laugh out loud.

But it does have two fantastic (and very different) performances at its heart. Mackichan eats the screen up whenever she’s on it, while Weir’s passive-aggressive agreeableness is nicely nuanced. Worth sticking with to see how the characters gel, and if Beth has a meltdown or Cathy gets her comeuppance.

This being sitcomland, nobody is allowed to be entirely normal

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

In the words of one of the cast - "shite"... embarrasing script, pooly edited and wildly overacted...... "shite"

Total rubbish the plots are thin the comedy is non exsistent tonights episode 15/4/2016 was the worst yet please bring back Still Game

love it, laugh out loud every time

 

This series is the definition of hit and miss. Some moments are genuinely funny, and you may even end up having a chuckle at how ridiculous it is sometimes. But far, far too often it's just awkward, sad and each episode makes you want to scream "Get a fucking grip!" at these characters. Not to mention it is quite literally, the exact same scenario every episode. Let me summarize: Some event happens, everyone goes over to Beth and Eric's house, they make too much noise and act like dicks and Beth freaks out. When this was a New Year's Eve skit, it worked. You know why? Because in that scenario, it's justified to have all your neighbours round. In this series, virtually NONE of it is. I'd be shocked if this gets another series, it's utterly dire.

There's a general lack of good laugh out loud comedy on TVthis is not high brow stuff - but makes me chuckle or laugh out loud - I think most people can relate to the characters - we will all know  someone like them - in my opinion if you don't like something switch it off - don't moan and analysis the hell out of it - ! That neither funny or smart -

 

yeh ive been struggling to fined this funny atol .I guess still game as far as humour goes is hard to beat 

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters