Craig Cash – Gentle Genius

The last episode of Early Doors last night surely confirmed Craig Cash’s powers as a comic genius. The ability to play that easily with the viewers’ emotions deserves enormous respect. And another series to get the point over to the people who didn’t watch Only Fools & Horses or The Fast Show until the third series. I watched it three times in a row and cried buckets each time – out of joy and terror.
Plus ensemble acting worthy of Ken Loach. Plus cinematography worthy of Coppola. These shows should be set texts in schools within five years If there’s any justice.
Early Doors has more genuine acting than any of the self-important, hysterical, blood and guts 12 week dramas we get inflicted with. It exploits the soap format to perfection without ever becoming like one. The cinematography and direction throughout the two series has been superb. You have to watch it like a hawk. The layered periferal shot detail is immaculate, and always supplies a counter-point to the narrative. The touches of surrealism alongside the everlastingly mundane until the two become one.
The delicate choreography of Ken & Tania’s love-life to its blazing roller coaster climax last night. The Ken&Tania row was simply brilliant. Simple dialogue and genuine pain. The integration of the score with the drama at all times, the constant snatches of juke-box favourites bubbling through or balancing a scene – Jean singing Oasis better than Oasis.
The pub serenading the young lovers.
Ken cleaning the toilet while singing ‘They can’t take away my digniteee’.
The Big Boys’ Beano leaving in the morning light to ‘The Camptown Ladies’ and returning in the night to ‘Sex Bomb1 Sex Bomb!’ – and all in one glorious panning shot.
The honesty and relish of the writing shines through in every line.
Better in some ways than the Royle Family because of being less grotesque. This is less of a cartoon, and more of a three hour movie dealing with actual relationships in a real place. All viewed with a merciless yet loving eye.
It has a suspiciously Shakespearean ambiguity about it at every turn. In fact, is it a rip-off of a Shakepearean plot? Step-fathers and long-lost fathers, domineering older parents, villainous comic policemen, a fool, a trio of scheming women… Someone will know.
No-one is whiter than white, and the happy ending is never all wine and roses. It is not a con. The entire thing glows with class.
It’s a masterpiece.

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