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Whites: the Arrival of Shay

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David Thair | 21:28 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Alan Davies as Roland and Kevin Bishop as Shay


Oliver Lansley, co-writer of Whites, writes...

So here we are at Episode Two. We've survived the transmission of our first ep and been very lucky to get a few nice previews and reviews. Strange, as on the morning of Episode One's transmission we were all down in Cardiff, doing the final edit for Episode Four. The turnaround for this show has been really quick, which is great because as soon as you've finished filming a show you're desperate to see it, but normally have to wait ages!

Anyway, back to Episode Two - which revolves around the arrival of Shay Marshall, Roland's former sous Chef and a huge character who basically comes in and turns the whole world upside down - rather like what happened when Kev Bishop arrived on set! Both Matt and I have worked with Kev before (he was in my last sitcom, FM) and when we were writing Shay we both immediately thought of him. He is a total force of nature. Kev is one of the funniest people you're likely to meet - particularly when he's playing a character like this, which allows him to really have fun and gives him the freedom to play. Filming his stuff was brilliant, though very hard as not many people on set were able to keep a straight face throughout. Even Alan struggled... Katherine Parkinson was a wreck! Seeing Kev throw up on a small child is a moment I think we'll all remember for a long time to come.

I really enjoyed bringing Shay into Episode Two to shake things up. We get to learn a lot about our characters from the way they respond to him, it particularly informs us about how Roland got to the position we find him in now.

Another highlight of the Shay ep was filming his TV show: the set he's in is actually the restaurant set. So after filming in the restaurant in the morning, our incredible design team then went in, stripped out the tables, frosted the windows, painted it white and put in the counter and the lights. Then by that afternoon we were filming his TV show The Shay Way, complete with Heston-esque dry ice and a team of highly trained live eels - it was like 60 minute make-over. Then the following morning it was restored to it's full Restaurant glory. The magic of television, eh?

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Whites continues on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Two. Read more about the show here on the Comedy Blog.



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