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Word of the week: “Cheers”

Breakfast TV here in the UK currently offers us three main options: “BBC Breakfast” on BBC1, “Good Morning Britain” on ITV and comedy shows on Channel 4. “Milkshake” on Channel 5 is aimed at young children, and 10 years ago, when our children were 4 and 6, we often tuned in for episodes of “Peppa Pig”, “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom”, “Little Princess” and the like. I have had to check the schedules to confirm what’s on BBC2: mostly repeats of reality formats like “Garden Rescue”, “The Repair Shop” and “Dragons’ Den”.

Most mornings I record the local news on BBC1 at 7.30am so that my son and I can check the day’s weather before he goes to school. It’s usually presented by Elizabeth Rizzini or Kate Kinsella, familiar faces for many years now. Over the last two months I have also been recording the day’s two episodes of “Cheers” on Channel 4. They begin at 6.40am, before a triple bill of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (I’ve never watched more than 10 minutes’ worth of this show; is it any good?) and two or three episodes of “Frasier”.

Channel 4 was launched in November 1982, a few weeks after “Cheers” first aired, and I remember “Cheers” and “Brookside” being the channel’s must-see shows throughout the decade, on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons (the omnibus edition) respectively. Back in March I noticed that the final episodes of “Cheers” were being repeated, which prompted me to put the show on “series record”. The finale (which I watched when it was first aired, in March 1993) was followed immediately (on Tuesday 30 March 2021) by S1Ep1, which I had never seen.

Diane (Shelley Long) and her professor/boyfriend make a quick stop at the Boston bar that gives the show its name, en route to the airport. Within 23 minutes of screen-time she has been dumped by him, therefore losing her job as his researcher, and has agreed to work at the bar. Now, in the middle of May 2021, we are approaching the end of Series 3. Diane and Sam (owner of the bar, played by Ted Danson) spent most of Series 1 arguing with each other, got together as the series ended, and were in a relationship for most of Series 2. In Series 3, Diane started a relationship with the psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) and in the most recently aired episodes they have flown to Italy to get married.

Having watched the first three series in sequential order, at the rate of 10 episodes per week, I am wondering whether to carry on. So far I have kept up-to-date with it, never falling more than a few days behind with the recordings. If I get to the stage where there’s a whole week’s worth sitting unwatched on my multi-channel box, I might just let it go. As things stand, I’m hoping to follow events from Boston through to the autumn, as all 11 series play out. With the various restrictions that have been in place here since last year, the sight of Norm, Cliff and the other regulars knocking back beer at “Cheers” is the closest I have come to having a drink in a pub since last September.

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