Phoenix Nights (2001–2002)

TV Series   |    |  Comedy


Episode Guide
Phoenix Nights (2001) Poster

The misadventures of club owner Brian Potter who is determined to make The Phoenix Club the best working men's club in Greater Manchester.

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8.4/10
4,779

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18 March 2003 | LordLucan
It's Grim Up North
It's difficult to put a finger on why Phoenix Nights is so invigorating. For a while, you're just knocked for six that a soap opera format can be used so brilliantly, and enjoying the freshness of the (at long, long last) preoccupations of the post-Oxbridge Graduate monopoly on TV comedy. On reflection I think the thing is this: the series concerns itself with a very specific milieu – the Lancashire Catholic working class community (the very same that informed so many of Anthony Burgess's books). This is the defining characteristic for Potter – his sarcasm comes from an inherent toughness that goes with such an environment, a Northerness that looks on the brighter side no matter how awful things get, that sets about getting the job done. Potter is someone who unwittingly finds himself to be a cynic, and struggles to drop the cynicism (too Southern an attribute?), but encounters 101 little events each and every day that underwrite it. And so we're gunning for him; partly deluded he may be, but he's no Keith Lard – ultimately, we laugh with Potter at the world around us.

As with The Office, Phoenix Nights owes an awful lot to the sublime first series of I'm Alan Partridge and, as with The Office, achieves so much more than the second series of I'm Alan Partridge. Unmissable, gut-wrenchingly funny comedy that somehow still takes you to a place Kurt Cobain would have been familiar with in his final few hours.

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