25 November 2011 | stubbers
Are You Having A Laugh?
When The Whistle Blows was revived for one season (plus Christmas special) in 2006. The show was relocated to a factory in Wigan, Northern England and concentrated on the factory floor banter between Ray Stokes (played by Andy Millman) and his motley collection of employees.
The show's undoubted potential was sadly smothered by incredibly broad, lowbrow production values in a desperate attempt to win viewers. It ended up being the kind of show that 4 year olds would enjoy, due to the overuse of catchphrases and silly wigs etc. There were a couple of inappropriate celebrity appearances as well which seemed forced and contrived, either for camp kitsch value, eg Keith Chegwin's appearance as "Keith"; or else blatant product placement, eg Chris Martin from Coldplay who just happened to turn up in the factory to plug his new album...an absolutely ridiculous, mental scenario.
The Christmas special, which proved to be the last ever episode of When The Whistle Blows, involved flying the regulars out to Spain.
Andy Millman's career never really took off after the dire reviews received for When The Whistle Blows. True, he made a notable appearance as a slug in Doctor Who, and his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother was briefly famous for an emotional outpouring of hatred for the celebrity lifestyle, but sadly for Andy the public still only associate him with When The Whistle Blows.
Shaun Williamson (Barry from EastEnders) was rumoured to have been lined up to replace Andy Millman in the role of Ray Stokes, but due to management/agency issues, the BBC never commissioned another series.