TV Review: The Tuckers, BBC One Wales

TV Review: The Tuckers, BBC One Wales

I don't know how the BBC works out its schedules, but having given a major PR push to the launch of King Gary at 9.30pm on BBC One last Friday, they didn't broadcast it at that time in Wales. Instead Welsh viewers got a homegrown new sitcom about a different dysfunctional working class family. The Tuckers. Of course, in these online days, anyone with iPlayer can watch The Tuckers online (in fact if you donate to my website by clicking below I'll even tip you the wink how you can watch it live in the UK, nudge nudge, no questions asked).

The Tuckers is is written by and stars Steve Speirs, who you will recognise from comedies such as Upstart Crow (he also pitches up in the next Inside No. 9 series). Glyn Tucker (Speirs) lives with his mother Peggy (Lynn Hunter) and his two sons Billy (Joshua McCord) and Bobby (Ben McGregor). The multigenerational family are constantly looking for ways to bring in more money via their ‘legitimate’ catering business whether it’s selling wine or furniture removal.
 
The first episode is a bit of a primer, but it sets things up nicely. Glyn is fuming because the wing mirrors have been stolen off his mobility scooter. Meanwhile his sons have been asked to do some dubious car hire job for a local ne'er do well. He can't do it himself, as he explains succinctly. "Took away my licence, didn't they." "What for?" "Driving without a licence."

Some critics have suggested that the sitcom is a negative portrayal of working class Welsh valley stereotypes. I don't have a problem with that (though of course I'm not from the Welsh valleys). I'd have just liked it to have been funnier. It's one of those Mike Leigh-ish sitcoms that at times comes closer to slice-of-life comedy drama. Not exactly feelgood, but it does show that ultimately the family members love each other.

It does at times veer towards cliché with its randy characters and bingo caller called Dai, but there are probably plenty of randy Welsh people and bingo callers called Dai. It does have its moments though and builds to the slowest chase you'll ever see on television, with a man with only one good leg chasing another man on a wheezy mobility scooter. Which certainly fits in with the gentle observational tone of the series. Reminds me of police interviewing a snail who was mugged by a tortoise: "It all happened so fast." 

The Tuckers, BBC One Wales, Fridays, 9.30pm. Full series is available online at iPlayer here.

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