"It’s so important to see the hospitality industry reflected on television in the most truthful way we can portray it"

The Staff Canteen

After being nominated for 11 awards, and winning 4, Philip Barantini’s critically acclaimed Boiling Point is returning to our screens October 1 as a brand-new TV series produced by the BBC.

Looking at what to expect from the programme, it’s focus, and it’s production, The Staff Canteen caught up with Boiling Point’s director, writers, and cast to find out more about the upcoming show.

Speaking to The Staff Canteen about bringing Boiling Point back to viewer's screens, Philip explained: “When the BBC approached me and asked me ‘would you be interested in doing a TV series of the film?' I just jumped at the opportunity.”

Drawing upon his own experiences, as well as how the industry has changed since 2021, Philip revealed the aim for him was to focus more on the characters and their individual stories, compared to the film.

“The feature was very heavily based on my [story]. Andy Jones is loosely based on me when I was working as a chef. There was an opportunity there to explore that world more and dive into different people’s lives, different people’s experiences, and different people’s mentalities,” he explained.

Discussing the state of hospitality in the UK, Philip said: “With Brexit, Covid, the cost of living crisis, and the amount of places that are closing down, it’s such a sad thing. I don’t work in the industry anymore but I have lots of mates that still are and it’s a real struggle at the minute.”

He added: “It’s important for me as an ex-chef to be able to tell those stories.”

Boiling Point Episode 1

Reformatting the film to TV

Returning as a TV series, the latest instalment of Boiling Point picks up eight months after Andy Jones, played by Stephen Graham, suffered a heart attack, with Andy’s head chef Carly, played by Vinette Robinson, battling to forge a name for the new Dalston restaurant Point North alongside her old kitchen crew.

The series follows the team as the stresses of keeping the restaurant running bear down on them amidst a hospitality industry in crisis.

Facing the pressure of drawing in new customers, whilst keeping the business profitable, the team must find a way to manage their complicated personal lives amid running the struggling restaurant.

Commenting on how it felt to continue from the initial film, Boiling Point's Writer James Cummings explained: “It was really nice to get back to it. It felt like slipping back into a world that we had been in, and knowing that we were going to be writing for many of the same characters again was great.”

“The series offered an opportunity to explore some of the ideas that we didn’t put into the film and also explore some of the other characters aside from Stephen’s character, and use those characters as a vehicle to tell other socially conscious stories and explore things that way,” James revealed.

Boiling Point returns

Is Boiling Point Realistic?

Following the release of the film in 2021, Boiling Point was received favourably for the gritty portrayals of its characters and how it offered viewers a rare glimpse into the world behind the kitchen doors.

Despite it's critical reception, the film was met with criticism from some professionals working in the industry that it painted an outdated image of Britain's hospitality industry.

Addressing these criticisms, Philip said: “We have an opportunity to focus on putting out a message about what’s going on out there in the world and what’s going on in hospitality.”

“Some of the criticisms we used to get from the film was ‘it’s not like that anymore’, and 'it’s not like that in some places', but it f*****g is in other places. There’s a lot of places that my mates still work in, that are going through hell every day,” he added.

Explaining his intention for the programme, Philip said: “It’s not a documentary about chefs, it’s a drama about people. We’ve done a lot of research, my experience was my experience and I can’t make it all about that because I had some amazing times but I also had some really dark times, but that’s not true about every character in the show.”

He added: “It’s fictional, it’s a movie, it’s a TV show, so you have to have dramatic license in some respects, but ultimately it’s about people.”

The programme worked with Lerpwl and The Marram Grass’s Ellis Barrie to ensure Boiling Point presented the kitchen world accurately.

Commenting on the importance of the programme, Ellis said: “It’s so important to see the hospitality industry reflected on television in the most truthful way we can portray it, because it's a beautiful trade. It's a brilliant industry to be part of, but it's very hard work.”

He added: “It's a lot of hours and a lot of dedication. The one thing you get with hospitality is a family, you create lifelong friends. You are part of something. For some people, it's the only family that they actually have.”

Explaining how he trained the Boiling Point cast, Ellis said: “When it came to training the actors to look like chefs, I was trying to focus not necessarily on what might be a brilliant plate of food. It was more about the little details that you get in the kitchen, how you hold a tea towel, how you might hol a spoon to taste something, how you hold a squeezy bottle, how you use your tweezers.”

“When we were filming, some of the best moments on the screen was when the actors were making slight mistakes, like not calling a check out perfectly, because that's exactly what you would do in a busy kitchen. If you've got 10 checks coming in, you'd be flustered,” he added.

Boiling Point BBC

“Every creative at some point has worked in the hospitality industry”

Whether it was their first job or one they worked on the side of acting, a large proportion of Boiling Point’s actors revealed they had previously worked in hospitality at different stages in their life, which helped them understand their roles.

Daniel Larkai, who play’s Point North’s troublesome kitchen porter Jake, explained that working in hospitality helped him prepare for his role and embrace his character.

“I’ve worked in hospitality for maybe 6-7 years, at a few different places, so I’ve seen a fair bit and the film is definitely a reflection of what it’s like,” he said.

Daniel added: “Having that knowledge of knowing what the industry is like, you can incorporate certain interactions into your character and know when to speak and interact at certain moments.”

Similarly, Hannah Traylen, who play’s Point North kitchen newcomer, believes there’s a strong connection and overlap between workers in hospitality and creative fields.

Hannah said: “Every creative at some point has worked in the hospitality industry, especially at the beginning of your career and I definitely have in lots of different places. I think what is really encapsulated in the series is that we really don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors with anyone.”

She added: “We put a brave face on for work or around different people but underneath it everyone has their own things going on and I think that’s portrayed really well in Boiling Point.”

Commenting on his own experiences in hospitality, Stephen Odubola, who plays Point North’s rookie chef Johnny, said that being part of the feature had changed his view on kitchens and chefs.

“My first job was working in hospitality, I was working in front of house, but working in the kitchen that’s a whole different ball game,” Stephen explained.

Episode one of Boiling Point will air on BBC One and iPlayer from October 1


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2023

"It’s so important to see the hospitality industry reflected on television in the most truthful way we can portray it"