VIRGINIA Woolf once wrote; "Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works."

If that is the case, how does it apply to Two Doors Down co-creator Simon Carlyle, a writer who has had more life experience than a Buddhist on their tenth time around?

Carlyle and writing partner Gregor Sharp have reached incredible success with the sixth series of their BBC2 sitcom. The pair have created a winning formula; a put-upon couple in an ordinary street contend with constant demands from their neighbours. This heightened reality strikes a chord with viewers who detect more than traces of the truth.

But what of Woolf’s argument that suggests the urban nightmares created by characters such as Christine (Elaine C. Smith) and the oleaginous Colin (Jonathan Watson) are a product of Simon Carlyle’s dark soul?

And if a tortured life is indeed a step in the right direction to producing such three-dimensional irritants, nosey parkers and thick-skinned pests, Carlyle has been fortunate in the extreme.

Carlyle grew up in Ayr. But Ayr was “just an awful place to be gay.” By the age of 12, Carlyle knew he wanted to be in London doing drag cabaret. “But you can’t really say that when you’re standing in Ayr High Street wearing a Lyle & Scott jumper, waiting for your mum to come out of the butchers.

“I’m not sure if I’d have been beaten up but I certainly wasn’t for coming out. So, I had to have fake girlfriends, and it was bloody awful.

"What helped me was knowing a couple of gay guys from figure skating. I learned enough to know I should never take a wife and join a golf club.”

READ MORE: Simon Carlyle - Two Doors Down writer dies aged 48

Yet, he struggled to see a future. Life was bleak. There was also the emergence of AIDS. Not only did the teenager panic about telling people he was gay, he reckoned he was going to die because of it. He felt trapped. Neurosis set in. He developed OCD. Repetitive thoughts; fear of being found out ... fear of being found out.

Would these thoughts feed into Two Doors Down later on? Did the utterly pretentious characters Cathy and Colin represent his neuroses? Was Alex Norton’s stable, agreeable character Eric someone to be aspired to?

Meantime, Carlyle sought professional help, which helped, but what to do with his life? He reckoned on a career as an ice skater, however his parents pushed for university. The French and psychology degree excited him even less than the girls he’d dated, and he left.

He worked at Butlins for a while. “All I can say is that one adventure involved Gary from the sunbeds. But at least I got free tokens,” he once revealed, smiling.

The good-looking young man was offered the chance to model for teen magazines such as Jackie. He worked as an extra in Taggart. More life experience. More colour to offer a writer. But at this point he hadn’t written more than a Job Centre application. Then he began going along, alone, to TV studio recordings of a comedy TV show, Pulp Video. (1995). It was a Eureka moment.

“I went on a media course, and was offered a job [with STV] on the Wheel of Fortune as Nicky Campbell’s assistant. Producer Anne Mason decided I scrubbed up all right and I modelled the dishwashers.”

The Herald:

Two doors down 

The dishwasher model moved to children's TV with BBC Scotland as a researcher and presenter but he says he was “awful, this very dark presence.”

However, one day, while working on Fully Booked with Gail Porter and Tim Vincent, a sketch needed someone to play a cleaner. Carlyle volunteered and he began to write monologues for his character.

A video made its way to a BBC producer and Simon and a pal he’d first met at STV, Gregor Sharp, were commissioned to write a sitcom. “Gregor taught me writing structure. And I taught him all the filthy jokes I’d learned in the gay bars of Glasgow.”

READ MORE: Simon Carlyle - Two Doors Down writer dies aged 48

Terri McIntyre (played in drag by Carlyle) became a BBC3 cult and Carlyle and Sharp were hailed the next big thing. But whom the gods would destroy . . . Aged 24, hubris banged hard on the door of his rented Soho flat and common sense leapt out the window. Carlyle’s partying and drinking would have made Caligula look like a as choir boy.

Bankruptcy followed. He tried to write comedy and failed. More bankruptcy. Then a saviour appeared in the form of actress Maria McErlane. She told Carlyle he had to sort his life out. And he listened. A producer told him to write what he knew about so he wrote Thin Ice, a 2006 sitcom based in the world of ice skating. But it didn’t have the legs to run to a second series.

Then came a Carlyle/Sharp corker, No Holds Bard, set in the world of Burns recital competition.

The critics loved it, and the success propelled the writing partners onto a BBC caravan part sitcom, Happy Hollidays. That wasn’t a great success, but there was enough in evidence to propel the pair forward to the next challenge, which became Two Doors Down.

And it’s not only proved to be a success, but also to be bitchy, acerbic, outrageously forthright – and deeply funny.

Does it all suggest Simon Carlyle’s life experience, formed as an outsider – which is the perfect position for a writer – distilled into half-hour stories? Is his delicious cynicism channelled through the mouth of Elaine C. Smith’s Christine, or the joy at being simply alive the optimistic voice of the irrepressible Beth?

You wouldn’t bet against it.

Two Doors Down, tonight, BBC2, 10pm