The original title was "The Men at the Pru", an advertising slogan for the Prudential insurance company. During the writing of the film, the Prudential allowed Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to use their archives for research. However, after reading the finished script, the company decided it didn't like how it was being portrayed and refused to allow the usage of their name. The new title comes from an actual area in the town of Reading, where the film takes place.
The period depicted in the film - 1973 - was one of great political upheaval. The country was beset by skyrocketing inflation, battered by the oil crisis, while the incumbent Conservative government was locked in a bitter battle with the trade unions. This led to widespread strikes of all services and a 3-day working week.