BBC’s Whites: Should You See It?

whites BBC

Jonathan May

In our rarely-running kinda-series Should You See It? we talk about movies that just came out. You can figure out the rest of the premise from the title of the series. That’s right: We talk recipes. Should you see BBC’s Whites?

BBC’s Whites follows one Roland White, head chef at the White House, a restaurant and hotel in a traditional British manor, as he attempts to abuse everything under his care in return for his own happiness. It’s unfortunate then for Roland, and everyone else, that he has no idea what happiness is. While he attempts to please himself in various ways, his tall, blond sous-chef, Bib, runs the kitchen. First episode in, Bib, at the end of his wits, demands help in the kitchen. The agency sends over a not-too-bright chap named Skoose, whose sole purpose in life is to make Bib miserable. Throw in a beautiful female manager and a doe-eyed, clueless server, and the rest basically writes itself, or appears to, in its effortlessness.

It’s good that the show centers on such an egotistical figure—a sort of comedic, pathetic Prince Hamlet to a crumbling Elsinore. Roland, in his pursuit of drinking and women, has abandoned his creativity, his friends, and a tight hand on his restaurant. An inspector’s visit doesn’t go so well, and we’re left to wonder where the humor is when someone essentially turns out to be a real asshole. As with most comedies that are built around someone you are supposed to hate, Whites makes sure that its ancillary characters are in dire need of viewer sympathy. Poor Bib is overworked; you almost weep for the thin bastard. And is the beautiful manager really dating a gay guy?

Should you see it?

This six-episode gem really never took off due to financial difficulty (the actors were all trained in a professional kitchen). It’s a shame because as the last episode ended, you could feel the show brimming with fresh energy for another round. Oh well. I can’t recommend this show highly enough. At 30 minutes each, the episodes are ripe for a Hulu binge. One pro tip: don’t watch hungry, because by the end, you’ll be trying to make every fancy thing you’ve never tried to make in your kitchen.

Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at

Image: The Daily Mail

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