White Gold Episode 1 – Salesmen Are Like Vampires – The DVDfever Review

White Gold

White Gold is so ’80s that it even starts with the BBC2 ident from that era.

The year is 1983 – my favourite year for music as that’s when I started buying singles, so one of my favourite parts about this show was the plethora of songs from back then, blasting off with Laura Branigan‘s Gloria, as we’re introduced to super-smooth and slick salesman Vincent Swan (Ed Westwick), the man with the gift of the gab, who immediately breaks the fourth wall by talking to the camera, a device that works very well for this comedy/drama.

Not everyone likes him, though, since someone’s carved “wanker” into his flash car. However, two people who do like him are his Inbetweeners underlings at Cachet Windows, firstly, Essex-born Brian Fitzpatrick (James Buckley) who, thanks to his stupid tache, reminds me of a horrible man who used to work at the video games counter on Boots in Stockport. Bought a duff ZX Spectrum game that won’t load and need it replacing? In his eyes, you can get stuffed. Thinking of that man, now I want to go back in time and carve the same word into HIS ’80s car! I bet he drove the same type. Where’s The Doctor when you need him??

The other is Lavender (Joe Thomas), mocked by Brian as ‘Lavatory’, and who used to be a bass guitarist for Paul Young, but quit three momths before Whenever I Lay My Hat sailed to No.1. D’oh! This pair are constantly trying to get one up on each other, not least when it comes to every Monday morning with their sales comparisons.

The white gold of the title isn’t anything nefarious, but actually double-glazing, and all at a time when Thatcher was giving council tenants the right to buy their houses, and the new owners wanted to do them up.

The opener, Salesmen Are Like Vampires, sees Vincent telling us to “never invite one into your home: once you do, we won’t leave your side until we taste blood…. even to take a piss”. The work keeps him away from his wife, partly because he’s a moneygrabber, and we also go back to how he got into the business, six months earlier.

To give you more of an idea of the music, the first episode features a selection of tunes such as Rock Steady Crew(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew, The Steve Miller Band Abracadabra, Hall and Oates Out of Touch, Chic Good Times, and Rod Stewart‘s Young Hearts Run Free. Basically, it’s like the soundtrack from the ’80s-based Grand Theft Auto games.

At times, White Gold is very funny, while also being quite silly, and regularly more adult than I was expecting, so the 10pm BBC2 slot is spot-on. I’ve not seen Westwick before, even though he’s a huge star in the US thanks to his role over 120 episodes in Gossip Girl. I must’ve seen him when I saw the brilliant Children of Men, also starring Clive Owen, but then that was released in 2006 and I’ve had a sleep since then. Add in the pair from The Inbetweeners, and Four LionsNigel Lindsay as their angry boss, and you have a thirty-minute show which doesn’t break any moulds, but is a great slice of escapist entertainment, and just what we need at the moment.

I’ve also seen the second episode, which is also very good and centres around hiding from an officious lady from the tax office, and pirate copies of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (be thankful it’s not the Atari VCS game!), plus a look at what else video cameras can get up to in the back rooms of the office…

White Gold begins tonight at 10pm on BBC2, and is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on July 3rd. If you missed it, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission, and click on the DVD packshot for the full-size version.

White Gold Trailer – BBC Two

Score: 7.5/10

Director: Damon Beesley
Producer: Phil Gilbert
Writer: Damon Beesley

Vincent Swan: Ed Westwick
Lavender: Joe Thomas
Fitzpatrick: James Buckley
Sam Swan: Linzey Cocker
Tony Walsh: Nigel Lindsay
Carol: Lauren O’Rourke
Robbie: Bobby Smalldridge
Andrew Davies: Jack Doolan
Ronnie: Lee Ross
Gill: Nicola Stapleton