Whites: The Last Dance
Oliver Lansley, co-creator of Whites, writes...
So here we are, Episode Six, the end of the series and the end of a long and eventful journey for all those involved in the making of Whites. We really hope you've enjoyed the series and it's conclusion in this final episode.
Watching the reaction to Whites throughout the weeks has been fascinating and seeing how often it's been described in terms of 'drama' is particularly interesting. Matt and I always had very strong feelings about where we wanted to take this series but I don't think we have ever thought about the show in terms of it being a 'drama' as such. We've only ever thought in terms of the stories we wanted to tell. We knew we didn't want to make a 'normal' comedy show. We didn't want a laughter track, we didn't want to fill it with 'gags' and we felt very strongly that, particularly in episodes Five and Six, we wanted push the characters and do things that are probably quite unconventional for a half-hour comedy.
I remember when we wrote the first drafts for epiosdes Five and Six, we wrote them in that order and the decision to carry the story over the two episodes wasn't planned and was something we were unsure we'd be allowed to get away with.
The convention is usually to have stand alone episodes so that an audience can pick it up at any time, or so the order can be changed around after the show's been made. We took a few risks with these last two eps. Particularly in Episode Six where very little of it actually takes place in the kitchen, we're almost all in a brand new locations and there are huge sections - particularly the laundry room sequence - where there are basically no jokes. There's even a dance routine in it!
We just felt very strongly this is where we wanted the show to go and I remember when we submitted the episodes we were just waiting for a reaction; thinking that the producers and execs were going to think that we'd totally lost our minds and that we would have to re-write the whole thing. But miraculously the response that came back to us was really positive, and to their great credit we were encouraged to go for it. So we did, and we really hope it's paid off and you enjoyed Episode Six as a real finale to our series and a suitable climax for our characters.
In this behind the scenes clip you can see the legend that is Stephen Wight preparing and rehearsing his 'dance' for the final episode (and bizarrely you can also see him wearing some pink stripper high heels, but that's a very different story!). The footage is of when Stephen took me and Matt upstairs into the production office with the choreographer Nadia and they showed us the dance for the first time. It was a brilliant moment.
This dance had been quite an epic process for us. Matt and I had the idea for this for a long, long time ago. It just felt like a perfect way to turn a character like Skoose on his head and show a different element to him that we hadn't seen before. But it had been a real struggle and on so many occasions we nearly chickened out and cut it - even before we shot it we were thinking it may end up on the cutting room floor. Also the choice of song was impossible. We literally tried for months and months, right back to when we started writing to think of the right song but we kept changing our minds. Rhythm is a Dancer, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, Dead-ringer for Love - so many songs came and went. We'd think "yes, finally we'd made a decision" and then either myself, or Matt or Steve would just send a little sheepish text message a few days later going... "guys, sorry, but it's not right" - and then we'd all admit, rather frustratingly, that we all knew that was the case and head back to the drawing board. Much to the annoyance of Danielle our Production Co-ordinator - who had to clear the licences for all of the songs we suggested, and Nadia our choreographer who kept being given a new song to prepare the dance too!
Eventually I think we decided the day before Nadia came down, and Nadia didn't even know the final choice until she turned up to work with Stephen, so ended up choreographing the whole thing on the spot! However once the decision was finally made we knew we had made the right choice. This song, including the lyrics, just felt right. Though we all still have those occasional moments when the radio comes on and we hear a song and go "hmmm, that could've been good"!
Another notable mention about Episode Six is that Isy Suttie actually learnt to play the trumpet! It was amazing: after a couple of lessons she just turned around to us, said "how's this?" and played the whole song perfectly. However, there are a few takes you might get to see on the DVD extras that weren't quite so perfect...
And so we come to the end. Thank you very much for watching Whites. We've had an amazing time making this show and fingers crossed we get to make some more.
We'd also love to hear your thoughts on the series, your favourite lines and moments and what you'd like to see happen to everyone the future.
Until then, there's nothing left to say except... "Service!"