TV review: Stephen Tompkinson's line in put-upon nice guys is wearing a bit thin in Truckers
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 10 October 2013
What can the amount of chest hair a man exposes tell you about his inner turmoil? Rather a lot, judging by the troubled truck driver's deep V-neck in this first episode of the BBC's new Nottingham-set five-part drama, Truckers.
Each of the hour-long episodes will focus on a key moment in the life of a haulage yard worker: last night it was the turn of a walking mid-life crisis called Malachi, who was finding it hard to come to terms with the breakdown of his marriage and his wife's new relationship with a younger man.
TV everyman Stephen Tompkinson played Malachi with the familiar air of defeat that's come to be his trademark. Only Tompkinson is not really an everyman, is he? He's one very specific man, that actor out of Ballykissangel, and Wild at Heart and his line in put-upon nice guys is beginning to wear a little thin. Truckers may represent the limit.
The laboriously regional script didn't make it any easier. The dialogue was so crammed with earthy wisdom and quaint sexual euphemisms that the actors struggled to get a breath in. Malachi's son's description of tantric sex, "How to stop coughing your custard with t' power of your mind", was a particular low point.
The writer, William Ivory, the man behind the 2010 film Made in Dagenham and 1990s bin-men sitcom Common As Muck, specialises in such stories about hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, nowt-as-queer-as folk sweetened by obligatory uplifting endings.
Truckers' debt to films such as Brassed Off and The Full Monty was made obvious last night. The episode culminated in Malachi stripping down to a thong, before delivering a rousing speech on the tyranny of youth to a spontaneously gathered crowd in Nottingham's Old Market Square. On a cinema screen in 1997, he might have seemed like an inspiration to the downtrodden. On a TV screen in 2013 it was just Stephen Tompkinson making a wally of himself.
Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 4 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Costa Book Awards 2015: H is for Hawk named book of the year
New Ghostbusters movie lands all-female cast with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures