It started nine years ago with steak pies on Hogmanay, so it was only fitting that in times of crisis the good folk of Two Doors Down, returning for a sixth series, should turn to macaroni for comfort. Nothing takes the pain away like pasta.

Failing that, an impromptu west of Scotland therapy session, of the kind laid on for tragic Colin (Jonathan Watson) should do the trick.

You haven’t heard? Cathy has left him for an estate agent in Sharm El-Sheikh and Colin, like the crusty dressing gown he’s been living in for weeks, is undone.

There was nothing else for it but to gather at Beth and Eric’s for a chinwag. It’s all that ever happens in Two Doors Down, and thank the Lord for it. In a world in which nothing is certain you can at least rely on this.

Some sitcoms have a wobble when a central member of the cast departs. Think Diane in Cheers. The return of Frasier without Martin and Eddie (the late John Mahoney and Moose) seems unthinkable, but it is going ahead anyway. Shows can survive, thrive even.

Cathy (the brilliant Doon Mackichan) leaves some big white stilettos to fill. Never seen without a drink in hand, there was always something dangerous about Cathy, like she had once tasted blood. Poor Colin never stood a chance against some smooth talking estate agent.

Or as Christine (Elaine C Smith) put it: “It’s like me and that guy with the roller blinds. If I had not had my wits about me I could have ended up doing away with every curtain in ma hoose.”

When it comes to verbal riffs, writers Simon Carlyle and Gregor Sharp continue to be the closest thing Scotland has to Victoria Wood. She was never as cruel, mind you, but c’mon, it’s the west of Scotland we’re dealing with here. Nothing says I love you like a slagging.

A superb cast take care of the rest. What a fine bunch they are, seasoned pros hugger muggerwith younger additions such as Joy McAvoy and Grame Stevely as newish neighbours Michelle and Alan, and “the boys”, Gordon and Ian (Kieran Hodgson and Jamie Quinn).

Jonathan Watson was born to play the tragic but indomitable Colin. Arabella Weir and Alex Norton are close to Scottish national treasure status as the saintly Beth and the permanently bewildered Eric. As for Christine, how can anyone sum up the cardiganed majesty of Elaine C Smith in her pomp?

By the end of the half hour, Colin had been put together again courtesy of a right royal trashing of Cathy’s character (it’s what she would have wanted), and a blast of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Watson’s face as the music played and his character slowly came back to life was something special.

On the evidence of this series opener, I think Two Doors Down is going to be just fine without … what was her name again?


Two Doors Down

Available on: BBC2/iPlayer

Rating: ****


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