Two Doors Down, BBC1 - TV review: cause for celebration with a riotous comedy that goes the whole hogmanay

 

If, for whatever reason, you're stuck at home at a time when everyone else is out on the razz, surely the last thing you'd want to watch on television would be footage of what you're missing? Obviously the bods at the BBC think otherwise, hence their extensive annual coverage of Glastonbury festival and New Year's Eve fireworks. Or perhaps this kind of programming is just a convenient excuse for a journalists' jolly?

Either way, the smart viewing choice last night was to ignore the hedonistic hijinks on Jules's Annual Hootenanny and turn instead to Two Doors Down on BBC1, a one-off drama about a disastrous hogmanay party, written by Benidorm's Simon Carlyle. It made you feel very smug indeed to be safe and warm at home, while others were out enduring the nightmare of social interaction.

Arabella Weir and Alex Norton starred as Beth and Eric, a middle-aged couple playing reluctant host to their street's annual New Year's Eve gathering. The guests included their son Ian and his new partner, Tony (a clean-shaven and almost unrecognisable Greg McHugh from Fresh Meat), Sophie the home-alone teenager from down the street (Sharon Rooney from My Mad Fat Diary) and their Norwegian neighbours Henning and pregnant wife, Nina. The guest of honour would be Beth and Eric's other son Angus, assuming he made it back from Iraq in one piece and on time.

A bit like a warmer, more Scottish take on the BBC's classic play for television, Abigail's Party, Two Doors Down traced the progress of party-goers from awkward chit-chat to drunken bad behavior. The worst behaviour of all came courtesy of Auntie Caroline (Daniela Nardini) who plied the strapping Henning with Scotch before molesting him in the upstairs bathroom.

Snotty neighbour Cathy (Toast of London's brilliant Doon Mackichan) was a close second, however. She never missed an opportunity to slight her host's more humble lifestyle and also delivered the programme's best line; an indignant summary of Beth and Eric's hospitality failures: "I was left on more than one occasion with my glass empty! If it hadn't been for the bottle in my bag, I'd have been up and down like a yo-yo."

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