Monday, 29 July 2013

Theme Time : Roddy Frame - Early Doors

Craig Cash is one half of a writing partnership, with Caroline Aherne, responsible for the sitcom The Royle Family. It's a programme whose popularity continues to be inexplicable for me, I cannot understand how a handful of jokes have managed to keep the show going for its initial two series run between 1998-2000, let alone the revival from 2006 to present day thanks to a string of Christmas specials.

However, following a fall out with Aherne in the early 00s, Cash got together with his long time friend and newcomer to TV, Phil Mealey and created what I believe to be a genuinely great sitcom - Early Doors, which ran for two series on BBC2 between 2003-2004.

Like The Royle Family, this sitcom was also set in Manchester and concentrated on one setting; The Grapes pub, which is run by Ken (the brilliant John Henshaw) Each episode focuses on the everyday, nothing in particular activities of the various locals who walk through the door for a pint and a catch up. An impressive cast including Cash and Mealey themselves, Christine Bottomley, a pre Hollywood James McAvoy, Maxine Peake, Mark Benton, Lee Ingleby and Mike Leigh regular Peter Wight to name but a few bring these characters to life voicing the dry northern wit that colours each script.

The theme tune was by former Aztec Camera frontman Roddy Frame. Both Cash and Mealey were fans of Frame and were listening to his 2002 album Surf when they heard the track Small World and requested it for the show, Frame happily agreed and the rest is sitcom history

For me it's a shame that The Royle Family gets all the plaudits when Early Doors was consistently funnier. It's tenure alone means it is somewhat overlooked compared to its older longer running sibling. But Early Doors remained small and perfectly formed.

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