Since its premiere in 2008, E4’s crude schoolboy comedy The Inbetweeners has gone onto gain somewhat of a cult status, with every bit as quoted and re-watched as it was when it first hit screens almost a decade ago (Yeah, it’s really been that long). Following two feature films and talk of a one-off reunion, that may or may not eventually happen, series co-creator Damon Beesley alongside stars Joe Thomas and James Buckley return to TV next Wednesday 22 May with the 80’s-set comedy White Gold, a six-part series set in Essex following three window salesman working together in a showroom.
A couple of weeks ago, I caught a preview of the series’ first two episodes, followed by a Q&A with Beesley, Thomas and the series’ lead star Ed Westwick, who plays Vincent, the head of the sales team at the centre of the show, which also comprises of Lavender (Thomas) and Fitzpatrick (Buckley).
The tone is immediately set in the opening scene of the first episode, as Vincent gets dressed with Laura Branigan’s ‘Gloria‘ blaring as the soundtrack. He’s the show’s narrator, and technically host, as he addresses the camera directly a la Fleabag, being the only character to do so. After finding himself jobless and with a wife and kids to support, Vincent walks into the showroom where much of the action takes place and stuns the establishment’s manager with his sly charm that helps make a sale and gets him hired on the spot. He immediately dumps the two fellow salesman and hires Lavender and Fitzpatrick, the latter of whom is introduced in a rather, let’s say unique, way.
The second episode, co-written by Thomas, sees Vincent determined to get his own company car after a run-in with a smug rival, whilst Fitzpatrick attempts to surprise his co-workers with a night out inspired by something he read about in a top-shelf magazine.
Much like The Inbetweeners before it, White Gold’s humour is certainly not for the easily offended, but in the most hilarious way possible – imagine The Wolf Of Wall Street transferred to 80’s Essex. In the post-screening Q&A, Beesley revealed that the show was inspired by his own upbringing in the Essex of the decade. His Inbetweeners co-creator Iain Morris isn’t involved here, yet Beesley proves he’s more than capable of helming a witty, addictive comedy and Thomas and Buckley’s natural chemistry helps carry things along nicely. Furthermore, as the show’s heart and soul, Westwick makes a potentially unlikable character endlessly charismatic and engaging, and the show’s impressive soundtrack full of recognisable 80’s hits is more than a nice addition, helping to solidify the retro tone.
Whether the rest of the series lives up to the highs of the first two episodes we shall see, however I’ll definitely be tuning in to find out, and I’d highly recommend you do as well.
Review by Scott Bates.