SOUTH Essex is to be at the centre of a new BBC comedy about to hit TVs across the country.
This week will see White Gold, a six-part comedy series, kick off on BBC2 and features Inbetweeners stars Joe Thomas and James Buckley - best known for playing Simon and Jay in the hit Channel 4 show.
It is written and directed by Inbetweeners creator Damon Beesley and is to be shown on Wednesdays at 10pm.
The Echo reported in October that crews had been busy filming over a seven-week period in Southend, Stanford-le-Hope and Corringham.
Mr Beesley, who grew up in Stanford-le-Hope, says the show is centred around “the bubble of the south east” and is set in 1983 in a double glazing showroom.
The unscrupulous sales team is led by charismatic salesman Vincent Swan - played by Gossip Girl and Son of Rambow actor Ed Westwick.
Mr Beesley says the show is based on his father’s experience as a salesman.
He said: “White Gold has lived in my head for 30 years.
“Ever since I heard my father describe the UPVC plastic which framed the double glazed windows he sold as being ‘as valuable, gram for gram as gold’ I was captivated.
“My dad was a double-glazing salesman in the early days of the industry, before double glazing salesman became the national pariahs that we all know and loathe.
“But back then, in the early Eighties, white plastic windows were a status symbol of upward mobility and there was great demand for them.
“While the miners’ strikes, picket-line riots and police brutality defined the story of the working classes across the land, in the South East business was booming.
“These working class men, with the gift of the gab and a real hunger to succeed felt it was a great way to succeed in the early Eighties that maybe hadn’t been explored before.”
According to the BBC “it is a story of dodgy shenanigans, scams and petty rivalries - alongside free-flowing drugs, cash and sex.”
Some people living and working in Ballards Walk, Basildon said they were shocked a block of flats had been chosen by directors while others had concerns the show would portray Essex “in a bad light.”
But Mr Beasley has a different viewpoint and thanked the BBC for giving him the opportunity to “recreate the Essex of my youth - a time before the invention of ‘Essex girls’ jokes, fake tan or Towie.”
The south Essex connection continues as Joe Thomas, who grew up in Chelmsford, is currently in a relationship with Hannah Tointon.
Miss Tointon, who grew up in Southend, played Tara, Joe Thomas’ on-screen girlfriend in the hugely-successful Inbetweeners. Her sister and former EastEnders star Kara Tointon, was born in Basildon.