Legions of service techs across America who know something about about their British counterparts have good reason to ask: Where’s the love? In the U.K., the “white van man” enjoys quasi-hero cultural status — a symbol of entrepreneurial strength and hard-nosed determination. The typical British field service professional has now entered a new realm — cultural icon.
Britain’s Five TV just wrapped its first season of White Van Man — a reality series profiling a group of “independent tradesmen” who show off “the white van men’s guide to doing business.” Here’s the network’s pitch:
During these difficult economic times, it is heartening to note that Britain’s 2.5 million independent tradesmen are pumping £35 billion into the economy. However, like everybody else, these white van men are also feeling the pinch. This revealing documentary series shows how some shrewd businessmen are using their van-based operations to explore new moneymaking opportunities, often with surprising results.
But wait, there’s more: Turns out the BBC also has a new sitcom in development with the same name — “White Van Man,” written by standup comedian Adrian Poynton — ” a ‘single-camera’ comedy with no laughter track that centres on the challenges and frustrations of a man’s new calling as a painter and decorator.” A few details:
When Tony has to take unplanned retirement following a heart attack, he is not convinced that his son, Ollie, is equipped for the world of painting and decorating. Ollie’s background is in the more refined world of catering – he has always dreamed of having his own restaurant, not a white Ford Transit. But, with no other options available to father or son, Ollie agrees to take time out from his plans to run a luxury eatery to hold the fort at his dad’s business.
Last but not least, Autonet Insurance Group has taken up the cause with a White Van Man infographic, with helpful factoids like: “They are also intelligent — more than half of drivers are bookworms.”
American service techs: Is is time to say enough is enough?