“I think we’ve got something quite unique in what we’ve created,” says Daniel Lawrence Taylor, who conceived, writes and stars in the time travelling comedy Timewasters.
Avoiding the usual tropes audiences have come to expect, the comedy series tackles issues surrounding race, gender and culture through the lens of a black time travelling jazz quartet.
Sitting down with three quarters of the Timewasters cast, it’s clear the chemistry flows off screen for Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Adelayo Adedayo and Kadiff Kirwan. Along with Samson Kayo, the group are back on screens as the time travelling jazz band from South London this week.
“Within a few hours of our first table read we all had that brother/sister relationship,” says Adedayo, who plays the money-scheming Lauren.
The dynamic between the group has the potential to be a much more reserved affair, with creator Taylor also playing one of the show’s leads, jazz-obsessed Nick.
Kirwan, who plays the womanising Jason, jokes, “We always give Daniel one take then we go do what we want…”
Adedayo sarcastically rolls her eyes, “we have to change everything.”
“No, Daniel writes to us as performers and what we’re comfortable with as the characters but there’s a lot of room for improvisation,” Kirwan explains.
The second series sees the group explore a different time in history after Horace decides to try and stop his grandmother’s death, forcing the others to go back to the 1950s on a rescue mission.
“This time, they’re choosing to go back in time instead of being stuck there,” says Taylor. “[The 1950s] is really personal era for me, a lot of my family came over in that Windrush generation. A lot of the characters we touch upon are just like my family members, a few of the characters are named after them.”
The jazz quartet find themselves up against new challenges in 1950s London, as rock ‘n’ roll takes over the music scene and Nick inadvertently messes with events in the future.
Tayor explains, “Nick is reluctant to go back and is like ‘we shouldn’t fuck up the past’, then he ends up accidentally [turning] Horace into a white man named Martin.”
It is storylines such as this that demonstrate the show’s ability to seamlessly weave prejudices of race and culture from the past and present into comedic situations.
“I think that’s what makes the show different,” reflects Taylor. “[Race] is the foundation of everything and every episode.”
The first series, which landed in 2017, became the year’s most watched new comedy by 16 to 24-year-old’s on any digital channel in the UK. It also saw Taylor take home the Breakthrough Award at the 2018 RTS Programme Awards for his work on the show.
Timewasters challenges the traditional period drama, much loved by TV audiences, telling diverse stories from history that have previously been neglected.
“There is room for movement in period dramas and what people think the British audience want and need,” reflects Kirwan.
“Apparently, you can see a show about a time travelling black jazz band and still quite enjoy it.”
“It feels like the world is ready for us,” Taylor adds.
It is not just diversity on screen that shows like Timewasters are shining a light on, but what opportunities there are behind the camera.
Kirwan says, “It’s these things, the tiny footsteps that hopefully this show will have an imprint on other people’s creativity when they grow up.”
Reflecting on the future of the show and the characters, Kirwan reckons how he could see Jason in a position of power such as the Prime Minister, “something where he actually has to think.”
“I’d like to see Lauren have a kid and see how she would handle it,” adds Adedayo. “But skip from a baby to like a three-year-old.”
“Yeah, because three-year-olds are great to work with…” laughs Kirwan.
“It’s tricky with Nick because it would be kind of the end of the show, but I’d like him to find happiness in jazz, for him to hit his jazz dream,” reveals Taylor. “But knowing Nick he’d find happiness and then destroy it.”
Having travelled to different periods, including a brief stint in the Jurassic period, so could the future be on the cards for the group?
Taylor diplomatically responds, “possibly, possibly…I rule nothing out!”
The second series of Timewasters is on ITV2 and the ITV Hub.
Want to find out more about Timewasters? Book now to hear Daniel Lawrence Taylor and the team in conversation on Wednesday 3rd April.