TV: White Gold, BBC2

White Gold has got a lot to live up to. Not just because it feels like the most trailed programme on TV at the moment but because it is written by Damon Beesley, who co-wrote The Inbetweeners and it co-stars Joe Thomas and James Buckley, two of the stars of The Inbetweeners. Luckily it mostly lives up to the hard sell.

So let’s get this straight though. White Gold, set in 1983 in the world of Essex double-glazing salesman, is not a prequel, sequel or spin-off of the E4 sitcom that made the name of Thomas and Buckley. In fact if anything it is more of a comedy-drama and more similar to The Wolf Of Wall Street, right down to celebrating a good day at the office with a gaggle of scantily clad women. 

The salesmen will do anything to seal a deal. Morals ain’t in it guv. In one case resident smartarse, ratty-'tached Brian Fitzpatrick (James Buckley) even removes recently purchased windows and replaces them with exactly the same windows to make double bubble. He does get his comeuppance though, but not before calling his Irish handyman an “IRAnus” - this is not the most politically correct comedy, but I guess Beesley will say he is capturing the attitudes of the day.

Joe Thomas as the less aggressive Martin Lavender is also good value. He has fallen into double glazing after quitting a band he thought was going nowhere – it's Paul Young's band and they go straight up the charts as soon as he leaves. In fact if you like 1980s music that's another pleasure here - old hits from Laura Branigan’s Gloria to Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick are effectively used to evoke the era.

The star, though, is Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl) as untouchable top salesman Vincent Swan. Vincent doesn’t seem to have a decent bone in his body and will do anything to flog a bit of dodgy UPVC and bag his commission. His ego is so bulletproof he can even take someone keying “Wanker” on his convertible as a compliment. Yet somehow this wankermobile driver is strangely amiable. Maybe there are hints of hidden depths we will discover in later episodes.

The action is very fast-paced and unashamedly blokey (showroom secretary Carol – Lauren O’Rourke – is so dim she could have come straight out of a 1970s sitcom if it wasn't for the Fatal Attraction curly perm) but it all fits neatly together. The Life On Mars-style fags-and-cheap-suits period detail is good too, without being overwhelmingly brown. Only one detail niggled - did men really vomit into urinals in the 1980s?*

Wednesdays from May 24, BBC2, 10pm. Catch up here.

*and even if they did did they have to recreate it in such carrot-chunked detail?

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