Pulling (TV series)

Pulling is a British sitcom, produced by Silver River Productions and broadcast on BBC Three. It is about three single female friends who live in Hackney, East London. It was co-written by Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly and stars Horgan as Donna, Tanya Franks as Karen, Rebekah Staton as Louise and Cavan Clerkin as Karl. Pulling was the last comedy show developed by Harry Thompson before his death.

Created bySharon Horgan
Dennis Kelly
Developed byHarry Thompson
StarringSharon Horgan
Tanya Franks
Rebekah Staton
Cavan Clerkin
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes13
Executive producerDaisy Goodwin
ProducerPhil Bowker
Production locationsLondon, England
Running time30 minutes
(final episode 1 hour)
Original networkBBC Three
Original release23 November 2006 (2006-11-23) –
17 May 2009 (2009-05-17)
External links

The first series of six episodes was first shown in 2006 on BBC Three, then repeated on BBC Two in early 2008. A second six-episode series of Pulling aired on BBC Three from 23 March to 27 April 2008 and a final one-hour episode aired on BBC Three on 17 May 2009.

In Australia, series one and two was first aired back-to-back on ABC2 each Thursday at 10pm from 5 March 2009[1] although the final one-hour episode is yet to be screened by the network. Repeats have been screening on rotation through UKTV.[2]

In 2007, the series was BAFTA nominated for Best Situation Comedy while Horgan won a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Actress in 2008.[3][4] In the same year, it was announced that Pulling had been cancelled by BBC Three.[5][6][7]

Main charactersEdit

In writing the series both Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly agreed that the main roles needed to be female and have the funny lines.
Horgan: "There was nothing out there for me; I had to give myself a break! Peep Show has very funny female characters but they're generally girlfriends or incidental women who are just helping the story along."
Kelly: "When we were writing Pulling, we wanted to make sure the comedy was with the women. Even with comedies that are about women, it's often the blokes who get the funnies. In Pulling we even err too much the other way and make the men too two-dimensional. But it was important for the women to get the funny lines." [8]

The main characters are :


  • She is in a five-year relationship with Karl, to whom she is engaged.
  • 29 years old at the start of the series.
  • Works in an office.


  • Naive, unrealistically hopeful.
  • Works in a cafe
  • Happens to find herself in bizarre situations, e.g. meeting up with voyeurs in a carpark believing it to be a dating site, and stalking a man who frequents her cafe.


  • Heavy drinker.
  • Promiscuous, outgoing, chaotic and aggressive.
  • A primary school teacher who is not suited to her job.
  • Several years older than Donna and Louise.

Series 1Edit

# Title Original airdate
1 "Episode one"23 November 2006 (2006-11-23)
Donna gets ready to go out on her hen night, only to find it is being held at a bingo hall. Later, she and her friends move on to a nightclub, where Donna realises that single girls have more fun and decides she no longer wants to marry Karl.
2 "Episode two"23 November 2006 (2006-11-23)

Donna tries to make herself appealing on the job market.

Karen breaks down in front of her class only to be subsequently placed under suspension for numerous incidents.

Louise begins to date Karen's latest conquest, without much success.
3 "Episode three"30 November 2006 (2006-11-30)

Karl tries to kill himself in his flat, but is saved by Donna when she finds him hanging by a noose. Donna is eager to go to a club, but is worried about Karl's mental state, so she asks her friend Tanya - whose husband has left her - to look after him.

Karen is being stalked by married man Mark.
4 "Episode four"7 December 2006 (2006-12-07)

Donna wakes up on her thirtieth birthday to find herself in bed with a barman from the local club.

Louise decides to find a gift for Donna on the Internet, but inadvertently researches porn instead. She tries to find new friends via an Internet site, but is taken dogging.

Karen expects some money to arrive from Mark, but discovers he died of a heart attack. She decides to go to his funeral to get what she is owed, and takes his son to the pub.
5 "Episode five"14 December 2006 (2006-12-14)

Donna, Karen and Louise go out to a club with Louise's boss Richard, where Donna meets Sam and gets his phone number. Donna invites Richard home and they have sex together.

Karen reveals that she has not gone more than a week without sex since she was 12 and she tries to give up alcohol.

Louise meets Oleg in the café and decides to go on a date with him after having had no sex for nearly two years. They go to his place, but he lives in very overcrowded conditions, so they go back to the flat.

Sam rejects Donna when he finds out that she had sex with Richard.
6 "Episode six"21 December 2006 (2006-12-21)

Louise's mother Eileen turns up, having been dumped by her 17-year-old toyboy, Skinzo. Karen, Louise and Eileen go out to a club, where Eileen gets drunk and meets a middle-aged man whom she has a one-night stand with. Skinzo comes to the house and Eileen leaves with him.

Sam plans a weekend away with Donna and his friends, but Donna is less than enthusiastic. Sam takes Donna to an art gallery; he likes the exhibits, but she does not. She watches Miss Congeniality 2 with Karl. Sam ends up giving Donna an ultimatum: it is either Karl or him.

Series 2Edit

# Title Original airdate
1 "Episode one"23 March 2008 (2008-03-23)
Donna spends her evening stuck at home with no-one available to go out with her. Tanya finds Karl in a club and they have sex in his kitchen. Louise is disappointed when Oleg falls asleep while she is fellating him. Karen bumps into her ex Billy in the pub.
2 "Episode two"30 March 2008 (2008-03-30)
Donna meets up with an old school friend, Catherine, and tries to impress her. Donna finds Catherine boring and Catherine envies Donna's 'success'. Louise dates a reformed flasher. Billy tells Karen that he married an Argentinian cleaner to enable her to stay in the country - and that she is now divorcing him. All six gather at the flat, where Billy tells Karen that he and Karen scared her off by burning her house down and that she is going back to Argentina. Billy, Mike and Catherine leave separately.
3 "Episode three"6 April 2008 (2008-04-06)

Donna's boss, Ian, finds out that his 58-year-old mother Ena has died and is consoled by Donna. She thinks she has a talent for counselling.

Louise becomes acting manager of the cafe while Richard is away. A depressed artist visits the cafe and asks her to display his feces-based paintings in the cafe. She agrees to, despite not having authorisation to do so by Richard. The paintings repel customers.

Karen discovers a ill cat in her bedroom and decides to keep it. She takes it to a vet, who tells her that the cat has cancer and needs an operation that will cost £700. She asks the vet to euthanise it, but Karen thinks the fee for that it too high, so Karen takes it home where she and Louise kill it with a brick in the garden.

Karl is invited to a dinner party by Tanya, but realises she is treating him like a new partner and a father to her son. She asks Donna to break up with Tanya for her. During the conversation between Tanya and Donna, Tanya tells Donna that she does not want Karl any more.
4 "Episode four"13 April 2008 (2008-04-13)

Donna, Karen and Louise go out to celebrate Louise's birthday. Despite agreeing that it is a 'girls night', Karen soon leaves in a taxi with Christopher, a young man whom she just met, and they go back to the flat. In the morning, Karen throws Christopher out. Louise then confronts Karen about leaving last night, which results in an argument and insults.

Louise leaves the flat and stays with Richard. She tells him that she has a business idea, and encourages her to go ahead with it. He introduces her to businessman Ivor to help her realise the plan. Her product is Cockloleeze, which are penis-shaped ice lollies. Richard dislikes the idea, but Ivor likes it and says he will contact his business partner to try to arrange from them to be produced and put on the market.

Donna buys a kebab from a takeaway. After leaving, it is snatched from her in the street. She tells Louise and a policeman, but neither takes it seriously. Donna visits Karl, who assures her that it was a real crime. Richard and Oleg ridicule her about taking the theft seriously. Donna goes to the police station, where a different policeman refuses to take ger theft report seriously. She steals his sandwich to make a point, and is arrested. She is released eight hours later, and Karl picks her up. He tells her that he is selling his house, which Donna is disappointed with despite her not having bought it or lived in it. Donna sees the thief at a bus stop, and tells Karl. The two confront the thief and take from him the amount of money that Donna paid for the kebab. Donna and Karl go to a bar, where they kiss.

Karen apologises to Louise and invites her to dinner. Louise has a meeting in relation to her Cockloleeze later that day, so Karen says that they will not drink alcohol. They go back to the flat, where Louise passes out whilst drunk.
5 "Episode five"20 April 2008 (2008-04-20)

Karen wants to break up with Justin, but finds doing so difficult because he often cries. She eventually does so.

Louise is pleased when she realises that she has accidentally shoplifted. She is pleased and goes on to shoplift many times. She puts two items in an elderly male customer's pockets, then walks out. He tries to stop her outside the shop and calls a security guard. She reports the old man to the security guard for shoplifting and she escapes.

Karl puts his house is up for sale at the estate agent for £320,000, which is £80,000 more that he bought it for ten months ago. Donna is horrified that Karl is set to make a huge profit and emigrate to Tuscany, where he intends to buy land. She visits his mother, Margaret, to try to persuade her to talk Karl out of emigrating, but she angrily tells her to get out of her house and Karl's life. Donna suggests to Karl that they get back together; he refuses to.
6 "Episode six"27 April 2008 (2008-04-27)

Karen takes a pregnancy test, which is positive. She has decided not to have an abortion. Louise tells Billy about the pregnancy and he turns up drunk at her school, then at the house with gifts for her. He convinces her to have the baby. When she sees her doctor, he tells her that she is not pregnant and that she has genital warts.

Louise is strongly attracted to a man who is a customer in her cafe.

Donna decides to try to distract herself from Karl emigrating by sleeping around. She has a one-night stand with one man. She then meets another but decides not have sex with him and hits him and rejects him for being creepy. She has sex with Karl, then he leaves.


Despite having good ratings, good reviews and a BAFTA nomination, the BBC did not commission a third series of the sitcom in 2007. Both Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly claim not to know why another series was not commissioned and Dennis Kelly claims the pair "cried and threw ourselves at their feet" asking for another series. The BBC then agreed to a one-hour special to at least wrap up the storylines.

2009 episodeEdit

# Title Original airdate
1 "Final Special"17 May 2009 (2009-05-17)

Louise returns from travelling for six months with a new man in tow - she detests him but he saved her life when she nearly drowned in mud, so she stays with him out of guilt. Karen also has a new boyfriend who has turned her into a quiet, homely girlfriend who doesn't wear make up and thinks women's rights are overrated - and before long she bumps into ex-boyfriend Billy who is very ill and is making himself feel better with drink and narcotics. Donna is seeing a rich businessman who only cares about his money (her birthday treat is having sex on a bed laid out with £4500 in £10, £20 and £50 notes), but she is too shallow to leave him. Karl is back from Italy with a new Italian girlfriend, and much to Donna's horror, they share an open relationship. And lastly, Tanya and Oleg have become engaged, but they share a very volatile relationship that is based upon passion and sex.

By the end of the episode, each of the main characters reach some sort of resolution. Louise, initially distraught at having to stick with a relationship out of guilt is overjoyed when her current boyfriend ends up in a coma, and she finds contentment in doting on him. Karen is quickly tempted back to her former ways by Billy, but it is dismayed when she discovers he has been lying about being terminally ill. Nonetheless, the return to her old ways prompts her to cut ties with her current, controlling partner and in the final scene of the episode she is seen marrying Billy whilst intoxicated. Donna and Karl meanwhile make a kind of reconciliation when Donna finally dumps the arrogant Stefan and Karl's new fiance is revealed to be cheating on him.

Home mediaEdit

Both series have been released on DVD, although the final episode has only been released as a digital download in the UK. The final episode was included in the Region 4 DVD set available in Australasia.


  1. ^ "ABC2 Programming Airdate: Pulling (episode one, season one)". ABC Television Publicity. 24 September 2010.,
  2. ^ "UKTV Programme Synopsis: Pulling". UKTV Online. 10 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Sharon Horgan". BBC News - Newsnight Review. 27 March 2008.
  4. ^ "Brand wins British Comedy Award". BBC News. 7 December 2008.
  5. ^ "Horgan's 'Pulling' axed by BBC Three". Digital Spy. 8 December 2008.
  6. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (2 October 2008). "BBC3 axes Pulling after two series". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  7. ^ "2009 Episode Guide". comedy.org.uk. 2009.
  8. ^ Raphael, Amy (16 May 2009). "There's no moral centre to Pulling because we don't have one!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.

External linksEdit