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Whites: The Last Dance

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David Thair | 21:28 UK time, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Alan Davies as Roland

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.

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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!"

Whites Series One concluded on Tuesday 2nd November. Read more about the making of the series here on the Comedy Blog.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you, each and every one.

  • Comment number 2.

    He looked pretty comfortable walking in those heels! hehe :)

  • Comment number 3.

    Great series and has the makings of a classic! The series ends almost resolving the relationships, with Roland realising he has taken BIb for granted, Caroline almost admitting she has a romantic soft spot for Roland and Skoose showing us a different dimension. If the series continues, which I really hope it does, these originally flawed relationships need to be re-established for further comedy gold. Thanks to everyone involved.

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations on an excellent series. Genuinely interesting and credible character. Adult, intelligent, bittersweet humour, no cheap and easy laughs. Alan Davis was excellent. Each episode was of the highest calibre. I hope you get a second series commissioned.

  • Comment number 5.

    Typical reviews range from:- “eminently watchable cast“, to “gentle, subtly played, often funny and quite promising” with one suggesting the comedy deserves a place in the “slow burner category“.

    All wrong - every one. Fact. I've told you,so believe it.
    It wants to be in the same category as Lead Balloon, Rev. & The Great Outdoors & indeed several ingredients are present but it's like the mayonnaise I made last week - it was mayonnaise alright just bad mayonnaise.

    Unlike in the above 3 comedies it has badly drawn characters interacting in inauthentic ways. Bib the all-powerful sous-chef would clearly tolerate cheek from no-one, certainly not an agency commi-chef like Skoose. I promise you it's not credible - professional kitchens are very hierarchical & Bib would easily crush Skoose into powder. How do you think you get to be a sous-chef?

    Axel is clearly incompetent & this would again not be tolerated.
    Kiki is a simpleton who doesn't even understand the Michelin Star system.
    This is what the writers expect to stimulate our interest but it's just not good enough. It's lazy 2nd rate work & I hope it gets cancelled.

    Better than 'Bellamy's People' & 'Harry & Paul' though - but then so is a power cut.
    I'm sending this again - for some reason it didn't appear. I'm sure it doesn't breach any rules.

  • Comment number 6.

    I loved this series, it was brillant, very well written, perfect cast, though at time i found scosse a little too annoying, but this was intentional, and the dance made up for that, would love to see more episodes, and maybe try doing it live, i think it could work well, This should win awards, I hope the bbc recommisoion it, though i think this is he first series I have watched every episode on iplayer, I couldn't tell you what time it was on tv, this series has the making to be go on for a very long time.

  • Comment number 7.

    What a great series. As someone said before, I had to watch every one on iplayer as it was on at some rubbish hour but it was worth logging on for.
    Sterling work by the cast, what a great mixture of characters and the plots, in their surrealness, outstanding. The person who said they didn't crack a smile must have a serious sense of humour failure as the jokes and funniest bits surprised me into laughing out loud many times.
    I really hope this runs for a second series..I for one would like to know what happens next! Always a good sign if you care about the characters.
    Please BBC re-comission and put this on at the prime time it deserves rather than hidden away in the shadows.

  • Comment number 8.

    Brilliant series! really good relationships between characters and laugh out loud funny throughout. I was gutted it was the last episode, you could easily get another series from it. Highlights were Kevin Bishop vom scene and Robin stroking Carolines face with his cow birthing hand! Please recommission it BBC.

  • Comment number 9.

    A great series, and a fine example of the kind of programmes the BBC should continue to produce :)

  • Comment number 10.

    No second series I hear, but silence from the BBC.

  • Comment number 11.

    Really gutted they are not recommissioning Whites... :(

  • Comment number 12.

    Just finished enjoying last episode on HULU. Looked up when season 2 might air and found out the awful truth. First was Firefly on Fox, then there was Life with Damien Lewis on NBC, and now BBC canned Whites?! My little heart can't take it anymore.

    I'm bound to make a deal with the devil. Take this perfect ceaseless California weather and give me back my Bib! Long live the tit gypsy! And remember egrets aren't ducks!


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