Philip Barantini’s Boiling Point has arrived on BBC One and iPlayer as a new five-part drama series, produced by Ascendant Fox, Matriarch Productions and Made Up Productions.
Picking up six months on from where the original Boiling Point feature film left off, Boiling Point sees sous chef Carly (Vinette Robinson) as head chef at her own restaurant, with many of the film’s original cast reprising their roles alongside her, including Stephen Graham as Andy and Hannah Walters as Emily.
The series reunites the film’s co-writer and director Philip Barantini, who helmed the first two episodes, and co-writer James Cummings.
It is executive produced by Hester Ruoff and Bart Ruspoli for Ascendant Fox, Hannah Walters and Stephen Graham for Matriarch Productions, Philip Barantini for Made Up Productions, Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC, and James Cummings. The series producer is Graham Drover.
This is a BBC interview with Phil Barantini (director and executive producer)
Where do we pick up with the series?
We pick up the TV series around about six to eight months after Andy’s collapse. Carly, who was the sous chef for Jones & Sons is now the head chef and co-owner of her brand-new restaurant called Point North. She’s brought most of the team from Jones & Sons with her. The series touches on social issues and things that are going on in the world, but it also really hones in on these individual characters and what they’re going through.
How did the TV series come about and what made the film ripe for television?
Myself, James, Bart, Hester, Stephen and Hannah, the whole gang started a conversation to see if there was any kind of possibility of taking this further. Then out of the blue I got a text from one of the BBC commissioners asking if we’d thought about turning Boiling Point into a TV series. It genuinely felt like they had spies in the room as the timing was incredible. The rest just came naturally because we’d already created these wonderful characters, along with wanting to add in a few new faces.
A series has given us more space to tell individual stories. When we were thinking about how to write the series we remembered those people who had approached myself and co-writer, James Cummings asking what happened with certain characters like Emily and Jamie and what had happened to Andy and all the other characters so we knew there was an appetite to explore the characters further.
Did the cast have any training to help them with their chef skills?
When we made the feature, we didn’t have enough time for them to train as chefs, so they just had to move like chefs. With the TV series, we had a little bit more time so we had them work with Ellis Barrie, our chef consultant on the show. You can’t turn people into chefs overnight, so we have to make them look like they know what they’re doing. Ellis was by my side the whole time and we couldn’t have done it without him. He helped the cast technically so I could focus on the performance. He really helped them nail it, they all look amazing with what they doing. They look like professionals. It’s incredible
What new characters do we have joining the series?
We’ve got a few new characters for the series including a wonderful actor from Liverpool called Shaun Fagan, who plays Bolton and we’ve got Stephen Odubola, who’s playing Johnny, a raw talent. American actor Steven Ogg joined us for two episodes which was fantastic as he was a huge fan of the film. We’ve got a wonderful non-binary actor called Missy Haysom, who we found on an open casting call for people who were working in hospitality that were interested in acting. Missy stood out and we wanted to make this character non-binary and they were so thankful that we were recognising that. It felt right and was really emotional for us all. Ahmed Malek, who is a phenomenal Egyptian actor, plays Musa, one of our waiters. He auditioned for us and blew us away.
What does setting a drama in a kitchen offer, in terms of universal themes?
Restaurants work very similarly all over the world. There’s the chef, then the hierarchy below but if you go deeper, there is a real mental health crisis across the industry which we’ve tried to show. The themes we touch upon are relatable across the globe, alcoholism, addiction, mental health, human beings going through a rough time. We wanted to shine a light on society on those issues and I want the audience to come away from each episode feeling something about themselves, or someone that they know.
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