The sitcom that got a helping hand from Peter Kay (even though he wasn’t in it)

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Peter Kay isn’t a stranger to successful TV projects, with Phoenix Nights a regularly rewatched show, and Car Share confirmed for a much-demanded return next year.

But it’s not the only show coming back. Last week, we reported that Early Doors, from Craig Cash and Phil Mealey, is being revived on the stage in 2018. The new production follows the original by over a decade.

However, the show nearly didn’t happen at all. Cash was originally writing Early Doors with his The Royle Family collaborator, the late, brilliant Caroline Aherne. Aherne and Cash had penned the first draft of the show, but she had to quit the project towards the back end of 2002 as she battled personal problems, with the show heading towards production.

The fate of Early Doors was thus thrown into a little bit of doubt as a consequence, with production set to kick off in Manchester not long afterwards.

But that’s where Peter Kay stepped in. Kay agreed to come aboard late in the day to work alongside Craig Cash as script editor on the programme. Cash, previously, had worked – uncredited – as a script editor on Kay’s breakthrough programme, That Peter Kay Thing. Kay’s work on the first episode of Early Doors would get him a ‘thanks to’ credit.

Eventually, Early Doors finally made it into production in early 2003. Two series of the show would be produced. Whilst neither set the ratings alight, both proved to be much-loved by their audience.

Kay and Cash were also supposed to work together on a project for ITV in 2007. It was to be a comedy drama called Sunshine, that Cash and Kay wrote together. Budget problems led to ITV walking away from it, however.

The continual requests for more episodes of Early Doors, meanwhile, ultimately have led to this new revival. Kay, for his part, is embarking on his first comedy tour in nearly a decade…