Rewind: A love letter to BBC Three’s ‘Pulling’, ten years on

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Sharon Horgan, recently of Catastrophe fame, is getting back together with her old writing partner Dennis Kelly (Utopia). And unlike many reunions, it’s actually a very good plan.

It’s been ten years since Horgan and Kelly teamed up on the criminally under-watched Pulling. It lasted two seasons before BBC Three broke our hearts and stupidly cancelled it – although they at least threw a one-off special our way to try and ease the pain. But now the duo are back, and they’ve gone to Channel 4 this time.

But what was it about Pulling that made it so wonderful?

On the surface, Pulling sounds a bit like many of the sitcoms of the noughties – three 30-ish single women in the big city, trying to find their way in work, life and love. But where Sex and the City had cosmpolitans and weddings, Pulling had cat murder and funeral crashing.

There was no glamour to Pulling. No impossibly fancy living arrangements, no people somehow buying expensive wardrobes on what must’ve been a pittance of a salary. No, it was three women sharing a house and spectacularly cocking up almost every aspect of their lives. As actually tends to happen when you’re single in a big city.

Pulling was honest. Brutally, ridiculously so. There were career disappointments – Horgan’s Donna finding out she’s not actually a marketing manager after all, Karen being suspended because she’s the least suitable primary school teacher of all time, and Louise letting power go to her head as soon as she gets some responsibility.

It didn’t give you something to aspire to. It gave you something that made you feel just a tiny bit better about the fact that you’re stuck working in billing even though you’re an English graduate and numbers make you chain-smoke.

There’s the drunken despair. The narcissism. The terrible, terrible choices in men and the lingering fear that perhaps dumping the man you said you’d spend the rest of your life with wasn’t the wisest choice you’ve ever made after all. Single life in Pulling isn’t fancy and fantastic. It’s waking up next to someone you really would rather you hadn’t woken up to, while your too-naïve flatmate participates in a bit of gentle stalking and accidentally gets involved in some dogging.

And then there was the desperate need to make out like everything is actually OK and yeah, this is what you thought your life was going to look like, actually. You’ve definitely not landed here by accident and have no idea what the hell happened or how the hell you’re going to get out. It’s temporary. Really. It’s temporary.

At least that’s what Donna says while showing round an old friend who’s doing a hell of a lot better than her. Everything about her life is temporary. Except for the bits that aren’t.

Unfortunately, Pulling’s run on our screens turned out to be far more temporary than Donna’s living arrangements, but thankfully you can still get hold of it on DVD.

Just don’t say we didn’t warn you about the cat murder.

Do you miss Pulling? Let us know below…

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