Two Doors Down (TV series)

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Two Doors Down
TwoDoorsDown.png
GenreSitcom
Created by
  • Simon Carlyle
  • Gregor Sharp
Directed bySimon Hynd
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes27 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locationsGlasgow, United Kingdom
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time28 minutes
Production companyBBC Scotland
Release
Original network
Original releasePilot: 31 December 2013
Series: 1 April 2016 –
present

Two Doors Down is a Scottish television sitcom, produced by BBC Studios.[1] It was created by Simon Carlyle and Gregor Sharp, and stars Arabella Weir, Alex Norton, Doon Mackichan, Jonathan Watson and Elaine C. Smith as oft-warring neighbours of each other in a suburban street in Scotland.

Following a one-off Hogmanay special broadcast nationwide on BBC One in late 2013, a full series was commissioned,[2] and began airing on BBC Two in April 2016,[1] with a second that November.[3] A third series in 2018 (and a 2017 Christmas special)[4] and a fourth in 2019 followed. Plans for a fifth series were formally announced in mid-2020[5] with filming to commence in March 2021[6] - delayed from summer 2020 over restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic[7][8] - although a Christmas special was filmed in late 2020 for broadcast that December.

Two Doors Down won the Best Comedy award at the 2017 Royal Television Society Scotland Awards, with separate BAFTA Scotland wins for cast and crew over the course of its run.[9]

Premise[edit]

Two Doors Down focuses on neighbours living side by side in a typical Glasgow suburb. BBC Scotland describes the characters as "not so happily living together" – the neighbours are constantly visiting uninvited, and overstaying their welcome, at Beth and Eric Baird's house.[10] Beth is often taken advantage of by her neighbours, frequently having to make tea, pour drinks and prepare food, while the remaining characters chat in the living room. Eric and Beth therefore try and avoid their neighbours as much as possible so they can enjoy some peace and quiet in their own home.[10]

The series creator, Simon Carlyle states, "Two Doors Down is about crazy neighbours. We’ve all got them. They seem ok, but when you scratch the surface they’re a bit nuts."[10]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Guest[edit]

  • Daniela Nardini as Caroline Stewart (pilot)
  • Greg McHugh as Tony Patterson (pilot)
  • James Young as Angus Baird (pilot)
  • Victoria Balnaves as Joanne (series 1)
  • Louise McCarthy as Nurse (series 1)
  • Maurice Roëves as Willie Whyte (series 2)
  • Rachel Jackson as Waitress (series 3)
  • Lisa Bradley as Barmaid (series 3)
  • Sophie Leigh Stone as Louise (series 4)

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Pilot31 December 2013 (2013-12-31)BBC One Scotland
161 April 2016 (2016-04-01)6 May 2016 (2016-05-06)BBC Two
2621 November 2016 (2016-11-21)19 December 2016 (2016-12-19)
3726 December 2017 (special)
29 January 2018 (2018-01-29)
5 March 2018 (2018-03-05)
467 January 2019 (2019-01-07)11 February 2019 (2019-02-11)
2020 Special28 December 2020
562021 (2021)2021 (2021)

Pilot (2013)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [11]
1PilotCatherine MorsheadSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp31 December 2013 (2013-12-31)3.28
The neighbours descend on the Bairds for a Hogmanay celebration that, naturally, goes awry.

Series 1 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [11]
21Episode 1Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp1 April 2016 (2016-04-01)1.80
Beth invites the neighbours round for a special feast, after her husband Eric leaves the freezer door open after coming in late, desperate for chips, resulting in everything defrosting.
32Episode 2Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp8 April 2016 (2016-04-08)1.36
The Bairds' home ends up like a hostel for the night, after Christine's ceiling collapses, Ian splits up with Jaz, and Cathy has a row with Colin over his porn-watching.
43Episode 3Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp15 April 2016 (2016-04-15)1.14
Ian and Jaz don't exactly make a good first impression on the neighbours, as a drunken Cathy causes trouble when she accompanies Beth to their flatwarming; an errant swingball, while waiting for the tennis coverage, gives a burglar-concerned Christine the chance to practice her baseball bat on Colin, and to a larger extent, Eric.
54Episode 4Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp22 April 2016 (2016-04-22)1.15
A quiet birthday is not one of the wishes granted for Eric, whose evening in alone is disturbed by Cathy and Colin - holding disparate attitudes on divulging the results of their fertility test results - descending, as well as Christine and Sophie - who display different levels of mourning for the relative whose funeral they've just been to - and Ian and Jaz - who have completely forgotten the special occasion. Birthday presents are gifted, and the topic of discussion unfortunately lets slip something embarrassing that's dragged down from the attic for all to see.
65Episode 5Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp29 April 2016 (2016-04-29)1.13
Christine is determined to find out who the father of Sophie's baby is, and as a last ditch attempt locks her in the back garden shed. After being rescued, Beth and Cathy try to calm Christine down - in a way that slanders Beth - while Eric discovers Colin's competitive side as a friendly darts match in the garage turns dirty.
76Episode 6Simon HyndSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp6 May 2016 (2016-05-06)1.14
Cathy is more fixated than ever on showing off her new hot tub as her envy grows upon learning Beth and Eric have booked a last-minute holiday abroad, but her and Colin's party fails to go to plan when she snatches Sophie's baby scan and Jaz ends up wearing some unfortunately too-small Speedos.

Series 2 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [11]
81Episode 1Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp21 November 2016 (2016-11-21)1.49
A sizeable PPI refund payout for Christine lands Beth with hosting duties for a neighbourly celebration barbecue, at which a bronzed Cathy proudly, and arrogantly, shows off her special Spanish ham, and she and Colin try to get one of the others to accompany them on their next cruise - in search of a recommendation discount.
92Episode 2Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp28 November 2016 (2016-11-28)1.58
A distant car alarm wakes Christine and Colin up, and misinterpret a remark by Eric as an invitation into the Bairds'. Soon enough, a midnight feast ensues and Sophie and Cathy arrive, reigniting a feud between Christine and Sophie over what to name the baby - but some reminiscing by all and a search through the television leading to the shipping forecast quells all.
103Episode 3Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp5 December 2016 (2016-12-05)1.69
A Sunday roast at Beth's gets derailed, with Cathy incensed at Colin but not willing to discuss why, Jaz getting wound up - from Colin and by himself - over his return to work the next day, and his requiring of a vegetarian alternative seeing Ian go out to buy one and Christine and Sophie tagging along upon his return.
114Episode 4Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp12 December 2016 (2016-12-12)1.16
Cathy reluctantly plays hostess as everyone comes to celebrate Colin's dad, Willie's, birthday. Beth progressively gets handed the reins to organise everything, Willie can't crack a smile, and Ian and Jaz are on tenterhooks waiting to see if their offer on a flat has come good. Everyone's spirits soon pick up, however, when Willie's old accordion makes an appearance...
125Episode 5Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp19 December 2016 (2016-12-19)1.00
Christine's computer troubles end up burdening Beth further, already dealing with the clutter from Ian and Jaz's temporary stay before they can move in to their new flat. Christine soon ropes everyone in to searching for anywhere that has the Barneyboo buggy in stock - insisting it must be in blue to match the umbrella Pat over the back has bought as a matching set - while Eric mulls over wearing a kilt or not for a Scotland away game in Latvia.
136Episode 6Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp19 December 2016 (2016-12-19)0.90
The Bairds' baby shower for Sophie takes a sour turn when Christine isn't exactly impressed with what's on offer, and Cathy and Colin revel in winding up an already-anxious Jaz (dismissing a black eye as a packing incident) about the notorious location of their new flat... although Sophie manages to get her revenge. Final appearance of Sophie and Jaz.

Series 3 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [11]
14"Christmas Special"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp26 December 2017 (2017-12-26)1.04
Beth and Eric's turkey crown ends up in smaller portions than expected when Christmas dinner for two ends up being for six; with flights from France grounded, Sophie is stranded in the airport unable to celebrate her first Christmas with her baby, Madison, and Cathy and Colin's plans to go skiing are off. Ian pays his parents a visit, with his new Yorkshire-born boyfriend Gordon in tow, who attracts Cathy's attention straight away and is accidentally outed by Christine to his parents. A ramshackle Christmas becomes special, nevertheless, as Cathy discovers her celestial gift and Eric gets his old Santa suit down from the attic. First appearance of Gordon.
151"Burns Supper"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp29 January 2018 (2018-01-29)2.11
Everyone is celebrating Burns' Night, but the renevations done to the Bairds' downstairs toilet end up being the temporary focus of attention instead. Scotland-adopted Gordon gets into the spirit of things, wearing tartan and starting a sing-song, Eric's enthusiasm for the occasion is diluted by Beth's apathy, Christine is very keen to tell everyone about her daughter's new living situation - and how dismayed she is at where it is - and a discussion about past commemorations ends up with Cathy massively overreacting when she gets it into her head that Colin and his ex-girlfriend are speaking to each other behind her back.
162"Eric's Colon"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp5 February 2018 (2018-02-05)1.50
An accident during a colonoscopy has resulted in Eric needing to recuperate on the downstairs couch, and soon his suffering becomes a spectacle. Cathy and Colin pop in on their way to dinner with a couple whose wife's occupation remains nameless, and Christine works out a solution to Beth's inability to take her to the supermarket, roping Ian into it. Her shopping quickly becomes the products of Beth's cooking as everyone pressures her into making homemade soup, and Gordon's appearance with some crusty bread too leads up to Eric attending to the toilet... and the sounds of his activity prove a must-listen.
173"Break In"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp12 February 2018 (2018-02-12)1.69
Cathy becomes distraught when she discovers that, upon the discovery her and Colin's house having been ransacked by burglars while they were away on holiday, someone has relieved themselves in her pants' drawer. Beth is assigned the role of washing all of Cathy's clothes as a precaution (as everyone else inspects her lingerie for any evidence of titillation), and then seamstress as Gordon's new trousers for a wedding he and Ian are going to need taken up... and the sight of his bare legs appears to take the edge of the day's events for Cathy.
184"Fish Friday"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp19 February 2018 (2018-02-19)1.63
A belated birthday treat for Beth to a local pub for dinner gets two unexpected guests added to the roster, with Christine near enough inviting herself, and Colin, deciding to spend his free time while Cathy is away at a spa getting drunk, bothering the assembled company with his lechery.
195"Party Pieces"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp26 February 2018 (2018-02-26)1.72
Arriving home from a mixed performance at the pub quiz, Beth surprises everyone with revelations about her past career aspirations. They are not long after interrupted by Christine, who is after a lift up the hospital to see Pat after her dog attacked her, and Ian and Gordon, returning home early from a weekend in Amsterdam after the former's activities in a gay bar toilet. The gathering soon turns into a party as Beth is relegated to frying up some homemade chips and all are eager to show off their party tricks, from magic, impressions, tongue-twisters, mournful meows, and doing the crab - with Gordon's hedge-hurdling going quite wrong...
206"Alan and Michelle"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp5 March 2018 (2018-03-05)1.81
Christine palms off organising a welcoming party for the new, rather mismatched, couple across the street, Alan and Michelle, onto Beth. There being a younger woman on the street raises Cathy's jealousy levels, which soon boil over and she takes to seeing to the house porch Michelle has condemned...

Series 4 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [12]
211"Anniversary"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp7 January 2019 (2019-01-07)1.75
An anniversary party for Eric and Beth goes awry, with Cathy insisting on answers to her questions on whether Ian and Gordon and Alan and Michelle would ever marry each other, Christine insisting someone at least try her trifle - and the parlour games not doing much to rescue the occasion, with the addition of Michelle wanting to wear Beth's wedding dress, Cathy and Colin re-enacting their first dance, and Gordon feeling spurned - after Ian's unwillingness to marry him - to the mix.
222"Willie's Wake"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp14 January 2019 (2019-01-14)1.63
Cathy persistently tries to turn the solemn occasion of Colin's dad's wake into a less mournful one - with the help of some alcohol, as well as reluctant, happenchance invites Alan, Michelle and Gordon. Christine is frustrated about the non-religiosity of the affair, and is not afraid of voicing her complaints or trying to get everyone else to reminisce over Seve Ballesteros.
233"Hospital"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp21 January 2019 (2019-01-21)1.64
A routine operation turns into an overnight stay in hospital for Christine, and a populated visiting time raises a medley of discussions that all lead to Christine worrying about whether she'll survive her surgery - and Eric wondering if he'll ever get his dinner.
244"Graham & Sandra"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp28 January 2019 (2019-01-28)N/A (<1.63)[a]
Gordon invites his parents, Graham and Sandra, up to meet the Bairds, and the conversation soon becomes animated when the neighbours call round, and the topic of Scottish independence causes a riven between the guests.
255"Overnight"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp4 February 2019 (2019-02-04)1.63
Beth's invitation to Alan and Michelle to stay the night while their home is covered in sawdust proves more trouble than it's worth, when Alan, to Michelle's chagrin, takes advantage of the hospitality, and Cathy takes umbrage at Beth and Michelle getting close and becomes desperate to outdo her in the non-existent friendship stakes. Meanwhile, Christine's obsession with the cat-urine-stained rhubarb her neighbour found round the back of her shed leads to a late-night snack for everyone... and causes a row and a sight not to behold.
266"Housewarming"Sasha RansomeSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp11 February 2019 (2019-02-11)1.74
Michelle is perseverant in trying to impress all at her housewarming party, although Alan not taking the situation seriously - including neglecting the serving of drinks and spreading private news about his sex life to Eric and Colin - as well as snide remarks from a jealous Cathy don't help, especially when Michelle's attention is redirected to the sudden arrival of a long-time friend, whose deafness provides a talking point for the neighbours and an opportunity to get away with mocking a frenziedly-envious Cathy as well as Christine's deliberate sympathy push, as she overexaggerates the state of an eye injury.
  1. ^ Not reported in the weekly top 15 programmes for four-screen viewer ratings.

Christmas Special (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [12]
27-"Christmas Special"Adrian McDowallSimon Carlyle & Gregor Sharp28 December 2020 (2020-12-28)2.01[a]
Cathy and Colin's plans to spend the festive season in Dubai have been put paid to by COVID-19, and hole up in a cabin in the Highlands. Joined by Beth, Eric, Christine, Ian and Gordon for a post-Christmas jolly-up, the initial fun - buoyed by exciting relationship news from Ian and Gordon and light banter about everyone's activities during lockdown and the amount of repeats on TV - almost immediately begins to subside as Cathy manipulates everyone into staying in rather than venturing outside, and her hospitality sharply extinguishes when Gordon mocks her via impression and Beth lambasts her for her drinking... with an unbothered Christine continuing her reminiscing, Colin stuck between supporting his wife and finally revealing what he really thinks about her behaviour, and an atmosphere so sour no-one wants to be there.
  1. ^ 7-day consolidated; cannot be compared with the above, which are 28-day consolidated.

Series 5 (2021)[edit]

A six-episode, fifth series is set to commence filming in 2021.[5][8]

Production[edit]

The pilot episode was shot with all the crew and cast in a "cramped, medium-sized living room".[1] After the pilot was deemed successful, filming was moved to purpose-built sets in Dumbarton.[1] Filming for the first series took place in the late summer and autumn of 2015.[13][14]

Exterior scenes were filmed in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire; these were moved to Avonbrae Crescent, Hamilton from series 4.[15]

Location filming for series 2 included Prestwick Airport and a local supermarket.[16]

For the 2020 Christmas special, COVID-19 restrictions prompted changes to production, such as the entire cast and certain members of the crew isolating for two days prior to filming and doing so throughout the five-day shoot.[17][18]

Critical reception[edit]

Two Doors Down's initially mixed reception has grown more positive over the course of the show.

Writing for The Guardian, Ben Arnold said the first episode of the series was "a mundane set-up, not helped by a woeful lack of laughs,"[19] sentiments he repeated upon reviewing the start of the second series.[20] The Arts Desk wrote that the series "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."[21] Writing for RadioTimes, David Butcher said "Sometimes Two Doors Down is so uneventful it almost vanishes" but called it a "nicely sour-edged sitcom".[22] Conversely, The Guardian's Zoe Williams said, at the time of the first series, "this endearing ensemble BBC Comedy about a sort of Scottish neighbours has something-for-everyone humour,"[23] with The Observer's Euan Ferguson writing, of the second series, that "[it] has it all. Wit, delight, long awkward silences, burps, bacon-farts."[24]

A review of the series 3 opener by the i's Sarah Hughes noticed the "nice, dry one liners (most of them delivered by the estimable Elaine C Smith) and an expert ensemble cast, who manage to make you if not quite laugh out loud then at least gently smile in recognition,",[25] shared by Chris Harvey of The Telegraph in his review, opining "Not all of the material was funny, but the acting carried it."[26] With regards to series 4, The Herald's Alison Rowat commented that "the jokes ... are easier to see coming than before, but by this stage in the game the comedy is coming more from the characters than the situation".[27]

Critical reaction to the 2020 special was overwhelmingly positive, with The Telegraph's Anita Singh calling it "one of the unsung gems of the festive season", saying it "takes a well-worn scenario ... and gives it some bite",[28] and The Guardian's Rebecca Nicholson lauding praise on the cast, while noting that "for those of us missing family gatherings this year, this is an accurate re-enactment of some of its most awkward corners".[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Spowart, Nan (28 March 2016). "Hit comedy Two Doors Down is back after winning fans on both sides of the Border". www.thenational.scot. The National. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  2. ^ English, Paul. "Scottish TV comedy Two Doors Down, filmed as a one-off pilot, is to be made into a series next year". Daily Record. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  3. ^ "BBC Two 'plans second series for Two Doors Down' after ratings success". Express. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. ^ Guide, British Comedy (19 October 2017). "Two Doors Down to return with cast changes". Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Two Doors Down to return for Series 5". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Interview: Jonathan Watson on the last ever Only an Excuse?". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  7. ^ Rudden, Liam (20 February 2020). "Rab C Nesbitt and Two Doors Down star Elaine C Smith recalls her days teaching drama in Edinburgh ahead of new play at the Lyceum". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b Fulton, Rick. "Arabella Weir confirms shooting for new series of Two Doors Down to start soon". Daily Record. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Two Doors Down - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "BBC Scotland – Why Two Doors Down is Britain's best-kept sitcom secret". BBC. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "Weekly top 30 programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.
  12. ^ a b "Four-screen dashboard". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Two Doors Down welcomes new cast members as filming begins". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Lots to laugh about - bumper collection of comedy from BBC Scotland". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  15. ^ Bartyneck, Shirley. "Popular BBC series Two Doors Down films in Hamilton". Daily Record. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  16. ^ Smith, Kenny. "BBC comedy film crew transforms Prestwick Airport to shoot new series". Daily Record. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  17. ^ Swarbrick, Susan. "Two Doors Down Christmas special: Jonathan Watson and Doon Mackichan". The Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  18. ^ Scougall, Murray. "Big interview: Two Door's Doon [sic] star Doon Mackichan takes the plunge to banish the winter blues with a little festive fun". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Friday's best TV: Easter 1916: The Enemy Files, Billy Connolly's Tracks Across America and Boomers". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Monday's best TV: The Last Miners; Back in Time for Brixton; Our Guy in China". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Two Doors Down, BBC Two". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Two Doors Down Series 2-Episode 2". RadioTimes. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Doon Mackichan: 'We were sexy, funny women – perhaps that was a bit much' | Television & radio". The Guardian. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  24. ^ "https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/two_doors_down/press/
  25. ^ Hughes, Sarah. "Two Doors Down: Doon Mackichan steals the show in this Burns Night horror". The i. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  26. ^ Harvey, Chris. "Two Doors Down is fun with a strong cast, no wonder it keeps being commissioned - review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  27. ^ Rowat, Alison. "TV Review: Two Doors Down". The Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  28. ^ Singh, Anita. "Two Doors Down: Christmas Special, review: what a treat – a sitcom that is actually funny". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  29. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca. "Two Doors Down review – a painfully funny portrait of a Covid Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2020.

External links[edit]