Early Doors. Image shows from L to R: Joe (Craig Cash), Duffy (Phil Mealey). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment
Early Doors

Early Doors

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 2003 - 2004
  • 12 episodes (2 series)

Sitcom set in a small Manchester pub created by Craig Cash and Phil Mealey. Joe and Duffy pass the time with landlord Ken and the other pub regulars. Also features John Henshaw, Rita May, Christine Bottomley, Rodney Litchfield, Mark Benton and more.

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Character guide

Early Doors. Ken (John Henshaw). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: John Henshaw

Hard working landlord Ken struggles to run The Grapes under pressure from the brewery. On his own since his wife left, Ken spoils his step-daughter Melanie, especially after she decides to find her real father. He plays the supportive Dad, but is worried sick in private.

Playing 'Huggy Bear', Ken supplies free drinks to the local police, ensuring they turn a blind eye to his after time drinking sessions. Ken's dry wit and good heart make him popular with the regulars, especially the pretty barmaid Tanya.

Early Doors. Joe (Craig Cash). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Craig Cash

Joe is regularly in the pub at opening time. Someone clocks him off at work (maybe even fiddling him some overtime), all so he can be waiting outside the door when Ken comes to unlock.

A wannabe DJ, Joe accepts his dream may be over, but that doesn't stop him and Duffy bursting into song at every opportunity. Despite marriage troubles of his own, he stays faithful... most of the time!

Even though he and Duffy regularly give bad advice to her boyfriends, Melanie's the girl who keeps Joe's dream alive.

Early Doors. Duffy (Phil Mealey). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Phil Mealey

The Grapes' very own 'Romeo', Duffy has a wife & kids at home, a mistress on the side and still finds the need to go with Janice!

Duffy spends his evenings in pub, engaging in intellectual conversation with Joe, while they view Polaroid pictures of the mistress.

While Joe suspects him of fathering Janice's baby, Duffy's is soon in for a bigger shock: maybe his wife isn't as happy as he thinks she is!?!

Early Doors. Jean (Rita May). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Rita May

Jean is Ken's mum. She is a doting, but nosy, Mum who only wants the best for her little boy. Despite him being a grown man with children of his own, she still puts his clothes out on the bed for him every morning.

Jean is always loyal to her friends. If they make the papers, she'll hide the evidence (well, after she's made plenty of photocopies). She has trouble with asthma, especially it seems when her nosiness is rumbled and she has questions to answer.

Jean never gets a minutes peace, with all of the chores to do around the house, but she manages to leave plenty of work for Winnie, the cleaner, and her best friend. She's selfless to a fault, but there's no place for friendship or family when a bag of Maltesers is at stake!

Early Doors. Melanie (Christine Bottomley). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Ken's step-daughter Melanie splits her time between working behind the bar, attending college and twisting her Dad around her little finger.

Melanie's boyfriends have to pass Ken's vetting process, but are welcome into the open arms of Melanie and The Grapes' regulars once they pass. Her search for her real father reaches a happy conclusion but will he turn out to be all she dreamed of?

Early Doors. Tommy (Rodney Litchfield). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Tommy is the resident miserable old git at The Grapes. He's on the doorstep every night at opening time, awaiting a pint of mild.

Tommy is not one to get into buying rounds of drinks, "No thanks, I'll stay on me own" he always says. Unimpressed by Eddie's humour, Tommy has his own chair by the window. On his own since his wife died years before, Tommy can't live off his pension alone, and soon reveals a secret occupation.

Early Doors. Eddie (Mark Benton). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Mark Benton

Eddie and his partner Joan are The Grapes answer to Posh and Becks... well, nearly. They're a nice, but poor, couple who spend their giro's in the pub.

Kind hearted Eddie can regularly be found boring the pants off the regulars with his tales of temporary traffic lights and the dog who found the World Cup.

Early Doors. Joan (Lorraine Cheshire). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Joan is Eddie's other half. Like him, she's not the sharpest tool in the box by a long shot.

Joan is gentle and funny and spends her time outside of the pub looking after her Mum, an animal lover with a hygiene problem. When she and Eddie have trouble paying the bills, the Grapes' regulars come to the rescue... even Tommy!

Early Doors. Phil (James Quinn). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: James Quinn

Phil is a lazy policemen who, along with his work partner Nige, spends more time in the backroom of The Grapes than he does serving the community.

Old school coppers through and through, Phil and Nige's crime fighting instincts can sort out free gas, electric goods and counterfeit currency, for the right price. Phil has a distinctive laugh you won't forget.

Early Doors. Nige (Peter Wight). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Peter Wight

Nige and fellow copper Phil are always quick on the scene of crime, well, once they've finished their burgers. They can only stop for one or two drinks at Ken's during the day, after all, "Crime won't crack itself!".

Although they normally start with a bitter and Coke, the coppers are partial to the odd cigar and brandy chaser to finish. Ken reluctantly supplies these costly items to the pair as he knows that, in return, any discrepancies in the pub will be overlooked by the boys in blue.

In series two Phil and Nige take on a bit of drug dealing on the side. They also fall asleep on the job, bungling a raid in the process. They won't keep their jobs for much longer now...

Early Doors. Tanya (Susan Cookson). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Susan Cookson

Tanya is The Grapes part-time barmaid. She is a ray of sunshine in Ken's life. A reliable friend and worker, Tanya has a soft spot for Ken, but will he ever notice?

When not busy, Tanya loves to gossip with her best friend Debbie.


Played by: Joan Kempson

Winnie is the cleaner of The Grapes and the upstairs flat. She is seemingly the only friend Jean has. Her husband can't work and her son is in prison so she must work hard to bring in enough cash each week.

Whilst Jean thinks she can boss Winnie about, the cleaner actually has the measure of Jean and can easily manipulate her when needed. She often gets out of cleaning the flat by offering to tell Jean some gossip.

Early Doors. Debbie (Lisa Millett). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment


Played by: Lisa Millett

Debbie is another of the regulars in the pub. She is a good friend to Tanya, but not such a good mother. She regularly leaves her two kids in the car whilst she pops into The Grapes for a quick drink (her excuse being she is getting them some crisps).

Early Doors. Liam (James McAvoy). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment

Liam (Series 1)

Played by: James McAvoy

Young Scottish student Liam was Melanie's first boyfriend in the series. Stupidly, he takes romance and dating advice from Duffy and Joe, thus getting on Melanie's bad side.

Early Doors. Dean (Lee Ingleby). Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment

Dean (Series 2)

Played by: Lee Ingleby

Dean is Melanie's new boyfriend. He's alright by Ken, that is until he finds Liam and Melanie in a compromising position on the sofa!

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