The Red Lion Review: So Much Time At The Bar

October 14, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

tv-stars-3THE RED LION: Thursday 15th October, Channel 4, 9pm Alert Me

Everyone has a mate called Dave, everyone is confused by the end of the second Matrix film, and everyone has been in a pub called The Red Lion.

It is the most popular tavern name in Britain with more than 600 boozers sharing the title, and Channel 4 are embarking on a 3000 mile trip to find out what exactly goes on in these licensed premises.

This all seems a bit odd to us – after all, what happens inside the average local is hardly the best kept secret. They are public houses after all.

But this doesn’t put our faceless and slightly patronising host from her task of grilling locals up and down the country. Her two favourite questions seem to be, “why do they come to the pub?? and “how much do you drink when you get there??

“Do you think it’s just a British thing – that we just love getting p****d?? She asks a rugby team from Rochdale. The answer is as predictable as a Jonny Wilkinson conversion attempt used to be.

None of the stories in this programme will surprise many people, but it’s still interesting to see just how much alcohol everyone in the UK seems to imbibe during the normal week.

The Red Lion tour meets a group of golfers from Bedfordshire, a delightfully alcoholic landlord from Kent, and a student netball team from Wales who save all their cash to get plastered on a Wednesday night.

They are put to shame by carefree pensioners like Joan and Irene from Billericay who have been hitting the bar every day since their husbands died. They spend their afternoons in their local Red Lion, sinking a bottle of wine and several rum & cokes without a second thought.

This is all very good, but where exactly is this programme leading us?

All becomes clear in a lament-filled denouement which explains that six pubs a day are closing in Britain these days. As such, after their Red Lion closed, the residents of Longden Common in Shropshire now have to stay in and watch Saturday night TV.

Oh how we feel for them…


Sean Marland