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With pubs disappearing at the rate of more than three a day, landlords and landladies reflect on life behind the bar. From 2010.

A celebration of the pub landlord and landlady.

With pubs disappearing at the rate of more than three a day , signalling one of the most rapid cultural shifts of recent times, half a dozen landlords and landladies reflect on life as a licensee and explore what we're in danger of losing besides the beer and the buildings.
This rueful view from behind the bar includes reflections on the qualities of a good landlord or landlady; their role as community confessional and settler of tap room fights, dispenser of best bitter and pearls of wisdom.

We hear from old hands like Barbara, an ex-Bunny girl who runs the Grapes in London's Limehouse; Tetley Dave who fought a battle to keep the Shoulder of Mutton from closing in Castleford; Maureen from the Waggon and Horses at Langsett who's famous for her pies ; ex miner Dennis from Barnsley, whose concern is health and safety; stand-up comedian Toby- who recalls lining up six pints apiece for the miners coming off shift at his auntie's pub in a Yorkshire pit village ; and former Cambridge academic Tim, who's taken early retirement to open his first pub in York - the Pheonix- just as many others are shutting up shop.

How have these landlords and landladies kept their marriages together , living and working on the premises? How much of a tempatation was it to hit the top shelf and go for the optics after a hard day's graft behind the bar? Why do they think the pub can teach the next generation how to hold their drink .And how do they handle an objectionable customer without starting a wild-west barroom brawl?

Producer Lindsay Leonard.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in February 2010.

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Role Contributor
Producer Lindsay Leonard