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White Teeth (TV serial)

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Adrian Johnston

First episode date
17 September 2002


Directed by
Country of origin
Final episode date
8 October 2002

White Teeth (TV serial) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbb

Written by
Simon BurkeZadie Smith

Om PuriPhil DavisNaomie HarrisArchie Panjabi

Anna Karenina, Bedsitcom, Small Island, Hotel GB, Elizabeth I

White Teeth is a 2002 British four-part television drama miniseries based on the novel of the same name written by Zadie Smith.


The series was directed by Julian Jarrold, adapted by Simon Burke, and stars Om Puri and Phil Davis. It was broadcast by Channel 4 over four consecutive weeks between 17 September 2002 and 8 October 2002.

White teeth movie trailer


White Teeth consists of four self-contained short-stories, focusing on a major male character as he encounters a turning point in his life, with background cameos from other characters. The series spans 20 years of three cultures, chronicling the interlinked stories of three families over three generations in a multicultural area of north-west London from 1974 to 1992.

The four-hour saga also features leaps back to the Second World War, where Samad and Archie served together, and even further back to the 1857 Indian Mutiny.

Main cast

  • Om Puri Samad Miah Iqbal
  • Phil Davis as Archie Jones
  • Naomie Harris as Clara Bowden/Jones
  • Archie Panjabi as Alsana Begum/Iqbal
  • Geraldine James as Joyce Malfen
  • Robert Bathurst as Marcus Malfen
  • Christopher Simpson as Magid Iqbal/Millat Iqbal
  • Sarah Ozeke as Irie Jones
  • James McAvoy as Josh Malfen
  • Recurring cast

  • Mona Hammond as Hortense Bowden
  • Kammy Darweish as Ardashir
  • Charlie Creed-Miles as Ryan Topps
  • Maggie O'Neill as Poppy Burt-Jones
  • Deepak Verma as Shiva
  • Jeff Mirza as Mohammed Ishmael
  • Nina Wadia as Neena
  • Sophie Winkleman as Joely
  • Rufus Jones as Crispin
  • Chu Omambala as Brother Ibrahim
  • Jacob Scipio as Young Magid Iqbal/Millat Iqbal
  • Guest cast

  • John Simm as Mr Hero
  • Russell Brand as Merlin
  • Vernon Dobtcheff as Devil of Dachau
  • Production

    White Teeth was originally due to become a BBC drama series. However, after Channel 4 acquired the rights, it compressed a £3.5 million version of Smith's novel into four one-hour episodes. Company Pictures originally approached Zadie Smith to adapt the screenplay for the series from her novel. However, she declined the offer in order to continue with her next novel The Autograph Man. Smith was later given the role of creative consultant.

    In February 2002, the adaptation went into production. It was shot mainly in Willesden and Cricklewood as well as the Caribbean and the Indian sub-continent.


    In the United Kingdom, White Teeth was broadcast on Channel 4 over four consecutive weeks from 17 September 2002 to 8 October 2002. In the United States, the series aired as part of the PBS Masterpiece Theatre anthology over two consecutive weeks on 11 May 2003 and 18 May 2003. The series was also broadcast in; Australia in November 2002, Sweden in March 2003, Finland in September 2003 as Valkoiset hampaat, and Denmark in December 2004 as Hvide tænder.

    On 9 May 2011, the DVD of the series was released.


    White Teeth's first episode received 2.2 million viewers and a 14 percent audience share between 10pm and 11.05pm, according to unofficial overnight figures. The series gained healthy viewing figures throughout and peaked at 3.5 million during the final episode.

    In October 2002, the series was hailed as one of the must-watch shows that autumn on British television.

    William Feaver called the series "an enjoyable epic sweep type romp... liked the way in which topics are brought in, adroitly dealt with and dealt out." Bonnie Greer thought "the adapter did a very good job... broke it open and made it into something else... lovely multicultural sweep... The cast was wonderful." Mark Lawson "thought the director... was trying to put a visual style to replace the prose style." Tim Lott said "it captured the energy of the book very well... more successful than the book, artistically... very well cast... It's very brilliantly cut. It has great pace... It's one of the best adaptations."

    BBC News reported "White Teeth lives up to the book but arguably betters it. The screenplay captures the book's grand scale and intimacy. But it also keeps up the pace where the novel began to flag... it is fresh, energetic and effortlessly played out by a great cast."

    TV Quick thought the series was "a fabulous four part drama, with a cracking soundtrack." John Leonard New York called it "superb... rambunctious...White Teeth is a wild ride..." Sean O'Hagen The Observer described it as "taut and fast-moving... On the television screen, White Teeth unfolds as a thing of often surreal and impressionistic beauty..." Also adding that "it features a strong cast... as well as strong performances from relative newcomers..."

    Daily Express thought the series was "beautifully shot, beautifully acted, this modern classic is a screen triumph." The Observer thought "the cinematography has a understated beauty rarely seen in television adaptations."

    Book Magazine reported "wonderful... Indian superstar Om Puri is masterful." Express on Sunday reported "White Teeth may finally make Phil Davies the superstar he deserves to be." Independent on Sunday reported "a beguiling performance from newcomer Naomie Harris."


    White Teeth (TV serial) Wikipedia

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