|Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps|
|Created by||Susan Nickson|
|Written by||Susan Nickson|
|Directed by||Gareth Carrivick|
|Opening theme||"Two Pints of Lager Theme" by Christian Henson|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||9|
|No. of episodes||80 (list of episodes)|
|Production locations||Runcorn, Cheshire|
|Running time||30–45 minutes|
|Production company||BBC Television|
|Original network||BBC Two (2001–2002)|
BBC Three (2003–2011)
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Stereo|
|Original release||26 February 2001 –|
24 May 2011
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps is a British sitcom that ran from 26 February 2001 to 24 May 2011. First broadcast on BBC Two, it starred Ralf Little, Will Mellor, Natalie Casey, Sheridan Smith, Kathryn Drysdale, and Luke Gell. Created and written by Susan Nickson and set in her hometown of Runcorn, Cheshire, it originally revolved around the lives of five twentysomethings. Little departed after the sixth series, and Smith and Drysdale left after the eighth series. The ninth and final series had major changes with new main cast members and new writers.
The core cast was augmented by various recurring characters throughout the series, portrayed by Beverley Callard, Lee Oakes, Hayley Bishop, Thomas Nelstrop, Freddie Hogan, and Georgia Henshaw. The title was inspired by the 1980 song "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please" by Splodgenessabounds. On 23 July 2011, it was confirmed that the series would not return due to the BBC making room for new comedies and feeling that the series had come to a natural end after the departures of most of the main cast members.
The BBC's Head of Comedy and original executive producer of the show, Geoffrey Perkins, saw writer Susan Nickson's work on Channel 4's Lloyd's Bank Film Challenge, entitled "Life's A Bitch", which starred Sean Hughes and Kathy Burke. At age 14, Nickson was asked by Perkins to come and work with the BBC after a few years, and she created Two Pints when she was 18.
The BBC tried to persuade the producers of the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks to get Will Mellor and Natalie Casey to work with them when they appeared in the show. Ralf Little and Sheridan Smith were cast soon after completing work on another BBC sitcom, The Royle Family. Although initially reluctant, Little agreed to audition when he realised that Two Pints would be very different from The Royle Family. Kathryn Drysdale was brought in after producers saw her perform at drama school.
The show's unaired pilot starred Little and Mellor, though the characters of Janet, Louise, and Donna were portrayed by Clare Buckfield, Lucy Punch, and Maxine Peake. Little and Smith play couple Jonny and Janet, alongside Mellor and Casey as Gaz and Donna. The latter two had previously portrayed a couple in Hollyoaks. Smith also considered herself lucky that she had already worked with Little before, as playing such a close couple would have been awkward for both. Mellor stated in an interview how he sees Casey as a younger sister, which made kissing scenes awkward. Smith also classes Casey as the "mummy" in the show, due to her knowledge and problem-solving skills. Typically, episodes end with a particularly dramatic scene, such as Jonny breaking the news to Janet that her parents turned down his request for her hand in marriage.
BBC Two broadcast the first series, while BBC Choice screened the second series but was re-branded as BBC Three shortly before it screened the third series, and showed the first run of each new series from then on. BBC Two also repeated the show, though only once, every Thursday. Series four ended with Jonny being shot by armed police and viewers were asked to vote, by text or phone, on his fate. Series 5 began with a funeral, but it was revealed to be that of Donna's mother. Some series are accompanied by a special programme featuring bloopers. The show, titled Two Pints of Lager Outtakes, features interviews with cast and crew, each explaining the difficulties of getting various scenes to be performed as expected.
The outcome of the final episode of series 8 was decided by the public, who were asked to vote on whether Gaz should be with Donna or Janet. Following the finale of series 8, which was broadcast on 10 May 2009, the audience chose Donna with 76.9% of the vote. The final episode concluded with Donna at Gaz's bedside.
Although Two Pints is largely comedic, it sometimes (especially at the end of a series) becomes more dramatic and serious. Such cliffhangers have included Janet and Jonny's split, Jonny being shot, Gaz's coma, and Janet's imminent departure to be a cruise singer. Will Mellor has described the show as being "driven by sex and alcohol" and the show is known for its adult and sometimes scatological humour, mostly involving references to sex and bodily functions. Vulgar language is also freely used, except for the word "fuck", which is uttered only once during the last episode of each series.
The first six series with the original cast including Ralf Little ran until 2006 when Little said he would not return to the series. Will Mellor hinted at the series continuation in television interviews, one being Loose Women, and more or less confirming it on The Paul O'Grady Show. Little announced during an interview for This Morning on 19 September 2007 that he would not be returning for the following series due to an overwhelming schedule, and Jonny was therefore killed off-screen in the first episode of the seventh series.
An eighth series was confirmed by Mellor in an interview in the Metro on 21 April 2008, in which he said that they would be filming the series from November 2008 to January 2009. In January 2009, the BBC announced recording dates for the next series at BBC Television Centre from 1 February to 3 April. A special edition for Comic Relief was also recorded on 25 January. The eighth series began airing on 8 March 2009 starting with a Comic Relief special, which featured characters from Coming of Age and Grownups, as a curtain raiser, with subsequent episodes as normal. Natalie Casey, Kathryn Drysdale, Luke Gell, Will Mellor and Sheridan Smith all returned and the new character of Wesley was played by Thomas Nelstrop.
Two special episodes of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps were filmed in 2009. The first was set a few minutes after the ending of the previous episode, its cast being limited to Janet, Wesley and Tim, and was recorded on 13 August 2009 at BBC TV Centre. It was a musical extravaganza set entirely inside the Archer and was broadcast on 15 December 2009. The second, "Sliding Gaz", was recorded on 18 August 2009 and shown on 22 December 2009. The cast consists of Donna and Gaz only and shows Donna in a "sliding doors" technique, imagining Gaz being healthy and also paralysed.
In April 2010, it was revealed that the show was to return, albeit 'refreshed' by the BBC, which could mean cast changes, and the loss of the creator of the show, Susan Nickson, who is reportedly moving on to work in America. Location filming for series 9 is set to begin in Runcorn on 25 January as reported in The Runcorn Weekly News. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the show the official BBC website uploaded many of the viewers' favourite clips as well as Will Mellor and Natalie Casey presenting a 5-minute video about the 10 things you didn't know about the show. A plot summary of the new 2011 Ninth Series was then revealed by the BBC. Original cast members Sheridan Smith and Kathryn Drysdale announced in 2010 that they would not be returning to the show. They were written out of the series and their departures were mentioned in the first episode of series 9. On 23 July 2011, following a decline in ratings and feeling the series had come to a natural end following the departures of half of the main cast members the BBC decided that the show would not return for a tenth series.
In 2020 Will Mellor announced he wanted to bring the series back for a one off special in 2021 to celebrate 20 years of the show, reuniting and featuring the original cast including Ralf Little whose character had been killed off in series 7. However, due to COVID-19 and unable to reunite the whole cast this never came into production. Mellor and Little later reunited and starred in their own podcast series “Two Pints With Will & Ralph”.
|1||6||26 February 2001||2 April 2001|
|2||6||15 April 2002||2 May 2002|
|3||10||23 February 2003||27 April 2003|
|4||8||15 February 2004||4 April 2004|
|5||14||2 January 2005||4 March 2005|
|6||10||26 February 2006||30 April 2006|
|7||8||13 January 2008||9 March 2008|
|8||8||15 March 2009||10 May 2009|
|9||6||26 April 2011||24 May 2011|
|Will Mellor||Gaz Wilkinson||2001–2011||1–9|
|Natalie Casey||Donna Henshaw||2001–2011||1–9|
|Sheridan Smith||Janet Keogh||2001–2009||1–8|
|Ralf Little||Jonny Keogh||2001–2006||1–6|
|Kathryn Drysdale||Louise Brooks||2001–2009||1–8|
|Luke Gell||Tim Claypole||2008–2011||7–9|
|Beverley Callard||Flo Henshaw||2001–2003||1–3|
|Jonathon Dutton||David Fish||2003–2004||3–4|
|Lee Oakes||Munch Wilkinson||2003–2005, 2008||3–5, 7|
|Hayley Bishop||Kelly Crabtree||2004–2006||4–6|
|Thomas Nelstrop||Wesley Presley||2009||8|
|Freddie Hogan||Billy McCormack||2011||9|
|Georgia Henshaw||Cassie Claypole||2011||9|
|Season||Date released||# of episodes||# of discs||Special features|
|The Complete First and Second Series||18 August 2003||12||2|
|The Complete Third and Fourth Series||6 September 2004||18||4||2003 Musical special|
|The Complete Fifth Series||5 September 2005||14||3|
|The Complete Series 1–4||24 October 2005||30||5|
|The Complete Sixth Series||4 September 2006||10||2||Behind the scenes|
|The Complete Series 1–6||16 October 2006||54||10|
|The Complete Seventh Series||21 April 2008||8||2||Behind the scenes|
|The Complete Eighth Series||14 September 2009||9||2||Comic Relief Special|
|The Complete Ninth Series||13 June 2011||6||2||2009 specials|
Many of the places featured in Two Pints are real and are mostly in Runcorn :