Wednesday, 2 March 2011

BBC2 axe 'Whites'

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

In a shock move, BBC2 have axed the culinary sitcom Whites, which starred Alan Davies as the chef of a country manor. Davies tweeted the news himself:

"Just heard Whites was cancelled by the BBC last week. Gutted. Worst news I've had in my whole career. Thanks to all who watched the show."
His co-star Isy Suttie, who played spaced-out waitress Kiki, also tweeted her disappointment:

"Just heard our BBC2 series Whites has been cancelled. I am so sad. Thanks so much to everyone who watched and supported the show."
The short-lived sitcom, written by Matt King (Peep Show) and Oliver Lansley, debuted last September with 2.37m viewers, but dropped to 1.58m by the final episode.

I'm really frustrated by this news, as Whites was easily the best new British sitcom of 2010. It was also snubbed at the British Comedy Awards, failing to even get nominated for Best Sitcom. A ridiculous oversight that Peep Show's co-creator Jesse Armstrong pointed out as he accepted his own award.

Is there a belief in the industry that Whites is rubbish? I don't know, but I'm bewildered by its treatment. It was hardly a disaster in the ratings and it received good reviews. A second series should have launched after a repeat run of series 1, for those who perhaps missed it, and I think most comedies deserve a second chance. It's easy to forget that The Office didn't really capture the public's imagination until series 2 started.

I'm at a loss to explain this decision. Whites had the feel of an old-fashioned sitcom that existed in the real world, it was beautifully filmed, and had a great mix of broad and nuanced characters. It also reminded us that Alan Davies isn't just the token dunce on QI, he's a decent comic actor, and Darren Boyd was doing excellent work as the beleaguered sous chef. Above all, it simmered with amusement throughout and made me invest in the characters. It's a shame we won't get to see more.

To be positive, Whites' six episodes act as a good self-contained run, so I recommend you buy the DVD.