TWO DOORS DOWN: INTERVIEW
CANCELLED flights, unexpected guests and a granny left holding the baby are among the festive mishaps and mayhem that befall long-suffering Beth and Eric Baird in the Christmas special of BBC Scotland sitcom Two Doors Down.
The couple – played by Arabella Weir and Alex Norton – are looking forward to settling down for a quiet meal for two. Then all hell breaks loose. Suddenly it is dinner for seven. They are joined by a stellar cast that includes recent magazine cover star Elaine C Smith, Doon Mackichan and Jonathan Watson.
Here, Weir and Norton share their own best – and worst – Christmas moments.
Carols, Christmas hats and crackers. That is something we have done since my sons Jock, Rory and Jamie were children.
My wife Sally and I order the turkey from our local butcher in London, which is another of our traditions. When you go to collect it and everyone queues up, the staff come round and give you little glasses of mulled wine while you wait. It is all very jolly and people often burst into song.
My big thing is that I’m allowed to start drinking in the morning on Christmas Day. I will have a Buck’s Fizz and that is fair dos.
A Lone Ranger outfit with a six-gun, mask, the whole shebang. I used to run around Pollokshaws in Glasgow being the good guy. I put it on straight away and wore it so much – I even slept in it – that my mother eventually had to tell me to take it off so she could wash it.
A bronze bicycle from my Melrose granny. That was very exciting. I would have been nine or 10. I could ride a bicycle, but didn’t have my own.
My granny in true Scottish tradition wasn’t in the habit of buying new things (and neither were my parents). Especially for the third kid. I was always getting someone else’s old bicycles. But this one was brand new. I was not accustomed to getting new things, so I was very pleased with that.
I was invited to a party at one of our neighbours when I was seven or eight. Looking back I think it must have been a last-minute invitation. They started giving out all the presents and I got really excited, but then I opened mine and it was a pair of socks.
Everyone else had nice toys and I was given these bloody socks. I went away and had a wee greet to myself in the corner. That is the only time my heart has ever sank at Christmas.
My mother, who was a complicated person, was very annoyed with me one year, although I didn’t know this at the time. She gave my sister a cashmere sweater, my brothers a computer each and me a dog-eared book of poetry from the upstairs lav that wasn’t even wrapped up properly.
I opened it and said: “This is the book from the upstairs lav.” And she replied: “Doesn’t mean they aren’t good poems.” This was the Christmas when I was 31.
What my mother wanted – and what she got because I was much less together than I am now – was that I started screaming and shouting. It was the fight she was looking for. To her dying day she always pitched us against each other.
I rather fancy myself as a bit of a chef when Sally and I host the family. But she’s the chef on Christmas Day and I’m her kitchen bitch. I do what she tells me.
Me. Always. There is no getting away from it. I love Christmas, but there is pressure. Everything has got to be more perfect than on an ordinary day.
I haven’t got one of those expensive ovens everyone buys. That is the only day I wish I had one, when you end up trying to cook roast potatoes, roast parsnips and roast whatever-thebeast-is at the same time. I grilled the turkey last year.