When Adrian Poynton first heard mumblings that American TV were interested in the comedy series he created, he shrugged it off as just another tease that never materializes.
What the Staffordshire raised (Litchfield to be exact) and Stoke Newington resident of five years, didn’t count on was for things to move as fast as they have.
Poynton, 33, is the creator and writer of BBC 3’s White Van Man, which first aired in March 2011 to much acclaim, making it the stations highest sitcom launch ever. It returns next week for a second series. The show follows the misadventures of Ollie (Will Mellor) who puts his own business dreams on the back burner, while he takes over his family’s handyman business from his father Tony (Clive Mantle) after a heart attack.
Hackney Hive caught up with Adrian Poynton at the lovey Tea Rooms on Stoke Newington’s Church Street, where he talked about his current projects and excitement of having the show picked up by a giant American TV company.
“We first had a nibble from America about four months ago, but didn’t think much would come of it. Sometimes it can be a long shot and I shrugged it off thinking, nothing will come of it, it never does.
“I reminded myself America looks at all television from across the world and picks a few of them and even then, most shows don’t get picked up until at least after the second or third series, our second series had not aired.
“When you factor in that they usually show interest in about 70 or so world-wide TV shows, but then will script only about 20 of them, make about 5 pilots and it just dwindles from there. Then comes the obstacle’s “.
Either Poynton was talking himself out of a career break or he dared not hope too much. But it wasn’t long after he and his production team, heard ABC had given it the green light, with uber Hollywood producer, Mark Gordon joining as producer.
Gordon isn’t just any film producer, his film and TV credits include: Saving Private Ryan, Speed (with Keanue Reeves) , Criminal Minds and Greys Anatomy to name just a few. And that’s not including all the awards he has been nominated for or won.
Then came the news ABC had ordered a cast-contingent pilot of White Man Van. Former My Name Is Earl executive producer, Bobby Bowman will pen the adaptation.
On how he feels the foreign concept of a white van man will cross over or even be understood in America:
“The story concept is a universal one that crosses cultures. The UK show is based in an imaginary town called Maplebury, which could be Stockport, a town in the Midlands, Hackney or even a town in middle America. I’m not sure if ABC will continue with the same name”. He laughs; Jack of All Trades, might be easier for the Americans to understand, but that’s not up to me,” says Poynton.
The award winning writer has been out to the states to speak with those involved and contiues to speak with them regularly over the phone.
Actor Kyle Bornheimer will take on the role of Ollie in ABC’s adaptation, and shooting of the pilot begins next month.
White Van Man returns to BBC 3 next week, on Thursday 23 February at 9.30 pm.