Together with The Royle Family, the northern sitcom is a countercultural classic that still speaks to our times
“No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity!” So sings fictional pub landlord, Ken Dixon, in the first episode of Early Doors, vigorously channelling Whitney Houston while fishing fag ends from the men’s urinals.
Broadcast two decades ago, this slow-burning northern comedy became a cult classic that left a hooked audience wanting more. Taking place entirely within the confines of a rough-and-ready Stockport pub, the show combined mordant wit with directorial warmth towards Ken’s flawed but redeemable regulars in The Grapes. Only two series, comprising 12 episodes, were made. It was always a mystery that more series were not commissioned, though a successful stage sequel sold out theatres across the country.