Pulling (TV series)

Created by Sharon Horgan
Dennis Kelly
Developed by Harry Thompson
Starring Sharon Horgan
Tanya Franks
Rebekah Staton
Cavan Clerkin
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Daisy Goodwin
Producer(s) Phil Bowker
Location(s) London, England
Running time 30 minutes
(final episode 1 hour)
Original network BBC Three
Original release 23 November 2006 – 17 May 2009
External links

Pulling is a BBC comedy series, produced by Silver River Productions and broadcast on BBC Three, about three single female friends who live in Penge, south-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.

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 characters

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 :




Series one

# 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's being held at a bingo hall. Later she and her friends move on to a club, where Donna realises single girls have more fun and decides she doesn't want to get married to Karl anymore.
2"Episode two"23 November 2006 (2006-11-23)
Donna tries to make herself available on the job market while 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, but is saved by Donna who finds him hanging by a noose. Donna's eager to go to a party, but is worried about Karl's mental state, so she asks her friend Tanya to look after him. Karen gets stalked by married man Mark.
4"Episode four"7 December 2006 (2006-12-07)
Donna wakes up on her 30th 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. 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's owed.
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 end up sleeping with each other. Karen tries to give up alcohol while Louise meets Oleg in the cafe and decides to go on a date with him after having had no sex for nearly two years.
6"Episode six"21 December 2006 (2006-12-21)
Louise's mum turns up, having been dumped by her toyboy. Sam plans a weekend away with Donna and his friends, but Donna is less than enthusiastic. Sam ends up giving Donna an ultimatum: it's either Karl or him.

Series two

# Title Original airdate
1"Episode one"23 March 2008 (2008-03-23)
Donna spends her evening stuck at with no-one able to go out with her. Tanya finds Karl in a club and they end up having sex in his kitchen. Louise ends up disappointed when Oleg falls asleep during sex while 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. Louise dates a reformed flasher while Karen finds out Billy married a foreign cleaner to help her stay in the country.
3"Episode three"6 April 2008 (2008-04-06)
Donna's boss, Ian, finds out his mother's died and gains some support from Donna. Louise becomes acting manager of the cafe, and decides to display some unusual artwork by an artist. Karen discovers a cat in her bedroom and decides to keep it. Karl gets invited to a dinner party by Tanya, but realises she's treating him like a new partner.
4"Episode four"13 April 2008 (2008-04-13)
Donna, Karen and Louise go out to celebrate Louise's birthday. Karen ends up going home with a man despite Louise insisting it be a 'girl's only' night. They fall out, but their argument inspires Louise to come up with a business plan. Donna has a kebab stolen from her, but no takes it seriously except Karl.
5"Episode five"20 April 2008 (2008-04-20)
Karen finds it hard to break up with an emotional Justin, while Louise becomes addicted to shoplifting. Karl decides to sell his house and move to Italy; Donna is horrified that Karl is set to make a huge profit by selling the house for about £80,000 more than he bought it for.
6"Episode six"27 April 2008 (2008-04-27)
Karen takes a pregnancy tests and it turns positive. Louise finds the man of her dreams in the cafe while Donna tries to distract herself from Karl's leaving by sleeping around.


Despite having good ratings, very 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 episode

First broadcast on BBC Three on 17 May 2009, this was an hour-long special intended to wrap up the storylines and bring things to a close.

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 in to 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 media

Both series have been released on DVD, although the final episode has only been released as a digital download.


  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.
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