What a difference a couple of years make. Two Edinburghs ago, Al Murray's pub landlord persona was several fluid ounces short of a pint - which is perhaps inevitable when you're playing sidekick to Harry Hill. With his own Late Lock-In, however, the "pint-pulling philosopher" has come out of the shade. His tankard of talents runs over, as he fondly recalls the charity dogfight he organised for the blind or expounds the teaching of Jesus ("Man cannot live by beer alone. No, he needs crisps and nuts"). What has changed is Murray's relationship with the punters. It was always a nice conceit: we were the regulars, he was Mein Host, but he fought shy of genuinely interacting with the audience. Now you can't stop the man: whether jousting brilliantly with a pair of teenagers or, as he called time at his "virtual pub", throwing his arms around a real publican. It was a moment to savour: and for the first time you fancied Murray might actually have a future in the licensing trade.
n Pleasance. To 31 AugReuse content