Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps (BBC2/BBC3, 2001-2011)
The lives of five youngsters living in Runcorn were featured in this long-running sitcom which was created and written by newcomer Susan Nickson. Firstly there is the couple Janet and Jonny (Sheridan Smith and Ralf Little who also appeared in The Royle Family together), then there is the couple Donna and Gaz (Natalie Casey and Will Mellor who also appeared in Hollyoaks together), and also Louise (Kathryn Drysdale).
Janet and Jonny go through a lot throughout the series. After a while they start to drift apart and Jonny goes out with Kate for a while, but they do get back together and after Jonny was injured at the end of series four there was a viewers’ phone vote to determine whether he survived, which he did, and Janet and Jonny eventually get married and had a child called Corinthian, although Jonny finally left at the end of the sixth series. Janet also works in a bakery and Jonny was vaguely obsessed with Jammie Dodgers for some reason.
Donna and Gaz go through a lot as well, they get together in the first episode, and they also eventually get married, but it is more difficult for them, and they consider divorce even after Gaz as an accident and briefly puts on lots of weight. We also see Donna’s mum in the first three series who is always offering her advice and seems to have a thing for Gaz herself. Gaz is also scared of sheep which makes life awkward for him.
Louise dates various people throughout the series, and seems to enjoy squeaking a lot. One of her boyfriends is one of Janet’s old schoolmates David. Louise also tells us about her odd family including her mum and auntie Nigel. Also in later series she discovers who her real parents are, and goes on to have a girl seemingly by Donna’s younger brother called Louise Louise.
As well as all of this, Jonny and Gaz seem to spend most of their time in the Archer pub making various observations on life and these were among some of my favourite moments in the show. My favourite character in Two Pints was actually Munch, who was Gaz’s long-lost half-brother. He was a terrific mechanic and he had some odd quirks including his favourite food being Chipsticks in brown sauce, thinking that Vimto was alcoholic, and shouting “hiya!” at everyone, but he was only in a few series.
As the series progressed there were some other regular cast members, including Timothy Claypole (not that one) who worked in the Archer, Kelly who worked in the bakery with Janet, and Wesley Presley who flirted with Donna. By the final series only Donna and Gaz remained from the original cast with Janet and Louise having left in series eight, so they were joined by Tim’s sister Cassie, and also Billy who became mates with Gaz, but the show had ran out of steam by that point and finally ended after just over a decade and 80 episodes.
Two Pints began on BBC2 but it soon moved to BBC3 where it did well in the ratings with younger viewers and seemed to be repeated endlessly for a while. I didn’t watch the show first time round but I saw a repeat run of series one on Play UK, the terrific digital channel, and that’s when I got into it. There were also a few variations on Two Pints, including a musical special, a horror special, a live special for the start of the seventh series, a flashback special, and also a crossover special for Comic Relief which featured the casts of the other Nickson-created sitcoms Grown Ups and Coming Of Age (which was rather awkward as Sheridan Smith also appeared in Grown Ups).