Gold’s The Cockfields Christmas Special was aired in the 10pm slot against the second episode of BBC2’s Two Doors Down last night. Both were winners, but the gentle warmth of the Cockfield family is in stark contrast to the exasperating Baird household.
The perennial dilemma was explored in the Cockfields, namely how to split Christmas between parents/in-laws whilst keeping both happy. Having spent Christmas with her parents, Simon and Esther return to the IoW for a day trip on 27th December which pleases mum, Sue, who is as irritating as ever in her attempts to please everybody but antagonises stepdad, Ray, who is not “kept in the loop” over arrangements. Two surprises in this episode: Sue develops a backbone and Tiff Stevenson delivers a punchy cameo.
Visiting Two Doors Down we find Beth in bed recovering from a bout of Flu and being cared for by husband Eric. Their son Ian and his boyfriend Gordon arrive to lend a hand. All is well until, as usual, the insufferable neighbours intrude. Firstly Christine, with a container of something purporting to be soup, shortly followed by Colin and Cathy, the neighbours from hell. Chaos ensues in a farce reminiscent of the Whitehall Theatre.
The Cockfields is a gentle , warm comedy that generates quiet chuckles and knowing nods from those familiar with similar family scenarios. Two Doors Down by contrast delivers laugh out loud moments in a situation which no one would relish.