Whites (TV series)

Whites is a BBC sitcom, written by Oliver Lansley and Matt King, directed by David Kerr, and starring Alan Davies as the executive chef at a country house hotel. BBC Two gave the go ahead for the show to go into production in August 2009 [1] with the first episode airing in September 2010.[2] Whites aired for six episodes in 2010. On 1 March 2011 Davies announced that the BBC would not be renewing Whites for another series.[3]

Whites (TV series).jpg
Main cast members
Written byMatt King
Oliver Lansley
Directed byDavid Kerr
StarringAlan Davies
Darren Boyd
Katherine Parkinson
Stephen Wight
Isy Suttie
Maggie Steed
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Charlie Hanson
Michelle Farr
Running time30 minutes
Original networkBBC Two
Original release28 September (2010-09-28) –
2 November 2010 (2010-11-02)


After the beginnings of a seemingly promising career, Roland White (Alan Davies) is executive chef at the White House hotel and well past his prime. He deals with his stuttered career by leaving much of the day to day difficulties of running the restaurant to his best friend and sous-chef Bib (Darren Boyd) and his restaurant manager Caroline (Katherine Parkinson). They try to cope with an incompetent waitress Kiki (Isy Suttie), ambitious apprentice chef Skoose (Stephen Wight) and the mercurial hotel owner Celia (Maggie Steed).


Co-writer Matt King used his experiences working in restaurants to form the basis for Whites. "Whites is totally based on Hanbury Manor, where I worked. It’s a facsimile. Roland is a composite of several chefs I know who can’t be bothered any more. They’ve kind of missed the boat, missed out on Michelin stars and cruise along."[4] King and Oliver Lansley tried to follow the lead of shows like Entourage and 30 Rock in writing Whites. In order to prepare for their roles, the cast trained under the chefs at Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen.[5] For her role as Kiki, Isy Suttie learned to play the trumpet.[6]

Speaking on his Twitter feed on 1 March 2011, Alan Davies confirmed that Whites would not be returning for a second series.[3] The BBC had elected to cancel the series as it cost £3 million ($4.8 million) for one series. Fans launched an unsuccessful "Bring Back Whites" campaign in response to the show's cancellation. Davies later complained to The Daily Telegraph that he "got an email from someone I’d never met" informing him of the decision to cancel the show.[7]


Episode listEdit

# Title Director Original air date
1"Episode 1"David Kerr[8]28 September 2010 (2010-09-28)[8]
Roland is neglecting the kitchen, writing a cookery book that no one has asked for. Meanwhile, Caroline and Bib are feeling the pressure. Hearing that a publisher is coming to dine with Celia, Roland determines to impress them with his culinary skills. He hires an apprentice, Skoose, to help out, but Bib finds he is going to be trouble.
2"Episode 2"David Kerr[9]5 October 2010 (2010-10-05)[9]
When the hotel gets a surprise visit from three-time Michelin star winner Shay Marshall (Kevin Bishop), Roland allows Bib to design a new menu that can compete with Marshall's exceptionally modern cuisine. But it turns out Shay and Roland have met before, and under very particular circumstances.
3"Episode 3"David Kerr[10]12 October 2010 (2010-10-12)[10]
There is a car show at the hotel and Bib needs a way to transport his sperm to a fertility clinic down the road, with his impatient wife Sarah waiting. Roland meets a beautiful woman named Allison who shows interest in him, and Caroline forms an attitude about it.
4"Episode 4"David Kerr[11]18 October 2010 (2010-10-18)[11]
A Health and Safety inspector visits the hotel, but unlike the previous inspector, she does not accept bribes. After Caroline tells Roland her father has Parkinson's and that it is National Parkinson's Day, Roland claims Bib is his sickly brother in order to keep the kitchen from being shut down.
5"Episode 5"David Kerr[12]26 October 2010 (2010-10-26)[12]
Roland neglects the kitchen in order to appear on a TV show, which he believes will springboard his career as a celebrity chef. He selects Skoose as his on-screen sous-chef, upsetting Bib. Bib is commended for his cooking by an Australian CEO who shows interest in hiring Bib as head-chef at his Australian restaurant. Roland attempts to sabotage this but only proves to expose his own jealousy and cruelty towards Bib whilst simultaneously jeopardising his own TV career.
6"Episode 6"David Kerr[13]2 November 2010 (2010-11-02)[13]
Roland begins interviewing for the sous-chef position under Caroline's orders, and while he feels he needs time to move on, fills the position with a beautiful woman named Beatrice (Siwan Morris) before Bib's unpronounced return. After having not been given the position himself, Skoose alienates everyone and later sees that effect as he looks jealously on Kiki and another man; and Caroline deals with romance problems of her own.


Reviews of the series have been mixed to positive. Dan Owen of the website Obsessed With Film gave the series three of four stars, claiming, "The great pleasure of Whites is that it has detail and reality to it. The production's slick and assured, while the ensemble of actors are perfectly cast."[14] The Guardian also wrote a generally positive review, stating the show is "gentle, subtly played, often funny and quite promising."[15] Metro UK wrote the show didn't entertain as well as Gordon Ramsay, saying "The problem with doing a comedy about chefs and restaurants is that the real thing does it so much better."[16]

Whites had 2.37 million viewers for its debut episode on 28 September 2010. The finale, which aired on 2 November 2010, attracted 1.58 million viewers. Since the ratings were above average, The British Comedy Guide speculated that "the show is a casualty of the BBC Comedy department having to make spending cuts".[3]

Theme musicEdit

The opening and closing music is "Song for the Dead" by Alexander Wolfe.

U.S. adaptationEdit

In October 2018, it was announced that Matt Tarses and Will Arnett were developing a new Whites series for NBC, based on the UK format, through Sony Pictures Television. Tarses will write the potential series and executive produce alongside Arnett, Marc Forman, Peter Principato, and the original series' creators Oliver Lansley and Matt King.[17]


  1. ^ Rushton, Katherine (21 August 2009). "BBC2 green lights Alan Davies chef comedy". Broadcast. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Whites". BBC Online. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "BBC cancels Whites, the sitcom starring Alan Davies". British Comedy Guide. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  4. ^ Hassall, Greg (17 March 2011). "Spirited peep inside the kitchen". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Interview with Alan Davies". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  6. ^ Thair, David (2 November 2010). "Whites: The Last Dance: Oliver Lansley". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  7. ^ Eden, Richard (8 May 2011). "Comedian Alan Davies is not amused by his 'shoddy' treatment by the BBC". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Episode 1". BBC Online. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Episode 2". BBC Online. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Episode 3". BBC Online. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Episode 4". BBC Online. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Episode 5". BBC Online. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
  13. ^ a b "Episode 6". BBC Online. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  14. ^ "TV Reviews: WHITES, 1.1". Obsessed With Film. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  15. ^ "TV review: Whites, Harry and Paul and The Born Free Legacy". The Guardian. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Whites: Odd, but not in a good way". Metro UK. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (9 October 2018). "'Whites' Comedy Based On UK Series From Matt Tarses & Will Arnett Set At NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 November 2018.

External linksEdit