Truckers: We're connected but alone

Thursday 10 October 2013, 10:42

William Ivory William Ivory Writer

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Truckers is about trucking. Obviously.

Well, maybe...

It’s about trucking in the way that Common As Muck was about dustmen or Made In Dagenham about the Ford motor industry. What I mean is: everything I write explores a central theme or question.

In Common As Muck it was, “What is the nature of dirt?” In Dagenham it was, “Rights versus privileges.”

And in Truckers, while we are very much embroiled in the lives and loves of a group of people who earn a living in the haulage business, what the show is really about, I think, is isolation.

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Truck drivers are not team players: Watch the trail

The fact that at a time when we seem to be so infinitely connected through PCs, smart phones, tablets and the myriad social networks which utilise these devices, as well as the innumerable lifestyle magazines, blogs and TV shows which are all designed to help us get on board with modern trends and values, we are actually never more alone.

Moving through time and space in a society of one. In fact, the very connectivity of modern living encourages us to go solo and then share those single experiences.

However, the overall effect of this kind of lifestyle is to remove us from direct and shared intercourse with those around us.

And in Truckers it occurred to me, I had a wonderful metaphor for exactly that way of life, of people connected but alone.

That theme of disconnection is further explored in the individual episode plots. For example, Malachi’s story in episode one is really one of awakening. 

A man who awakens to the fact that he has taken his marriage for granted, seeing it as just one more of the many things which constitute his nomadic, easy come, easy go lifestyle but which, in fact, should have been his rock and corner stone.

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Malachi asks Sue to take him back but is it too little, too late?

That it has not been, has, ultimately, caused him to face an extremely solitary future.

In episode four, Wendy comes to understand that she has been isolated by the idea of blame (are we not, an ever more litigious world?) in that her inability not to blame herself for the breakup of her childhood home, has completely blighted her life.

Of course, I should say at this point that Truckers is a comedy and the show is designed to make you laugh, too!

But I think humour is the emollient which allows the absorption of extremely profound ideas, without which some people baulk and simply will not enter the debate.

Therefore, if all goes as I hope this week, when Truckers transmits my audience will laugh and chuckle and then ask: “Hang on...is that me? Am I one of those isolated people? Am I spinning solo, stuck on the edges of society when, if I just lived literally, rather than virtually, tasted salt and sweat a bit more, I might re-connect with what it is to be human?”

William Ivory is the writer of Truckers.

Truckers starts on Thursday, 10 October at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC. 

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Comments

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    Comment number 21.

    Just an observation, when Martin gets into his dad's truck, it's a Volvo F10, yet at the end (of the program) when he burns it, it's a Seddon Atkinson...

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    Comment number 22.

    Bit of a general one this, as I'm re-writing a new script and on a deadline- apologies none the less for not responding individually!

    Anyway, thanks all, for bothering to write in - it makes it much more fun to know what people are thinking. Obviously, I'm always happier to read the good than the bad but the main thing is that people react at all rather than let life (and art) wash over them.

    One thing I would question is whether the show will get truckers a bad reputation - a la On the Buses...

    I spent a lot of time out on the road researching the show and what I've written in terms of practice (good and bad) was what I witnessed or had pointed out to me. Beyond that, I concentrated on character - and what I discovered was a group of people who were perhaps instinctively introspective, but who struck me as unusually analytical of life and the world beyond their cabs (don't we all do a lot of thinking when behind the wheel?) and I tried to reflect this. I created bright, witty (sometimes belligerent) individuals trying to establish where they fitted into the bigger society which surrounded them. They are smart, enquiring, funny and passionate - which I don't consider pejorative in any way!

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    Comment number 23.

    Oh yes - as to the wagon swop before we torched it - we simply hoped people would allow artistic license (those who spotted the exchange) in order that we might save tens of thousands of pounds by dint of destroying an un-unroadworthy wreck that we could paint up, just to burn, rather than wrecking a fully functioning lorry!

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    Comment number 24.

    Hi William, Drivers have responded to this series on their own social media (will provide a link direct to the discussion not to the entire truck drivers website at the end of this comment , but please moderators remove it if it breaches the rules) that has over 130 comments, many concerntrating on the obvious errors in law and operation of transport today. However it is balanced by a number of comments citing the series as fiction not a documentary. It maybe that if another series is commissioned that the owners and users of this social media site could assist in ensuring more accuracy. the link to the discussion is here..http://www.trucknetuk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105638

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    Comment number 25.

    very entertaining but nothing like being a real driver .Plus that wasn't his dads wagon he burned it was a seddon atki which I would also have burned .

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    Comment number 26.

    believe it or not the things you show do go on...i know drivers (not me guv) lol used to pull the fuse or thumb it to get round speed limiters hours in the past and yes drivers still do tip etc while showing a break...come on you righteous bunch you havent done it????? yeah right oh!!!!!!! it hits the mark more than most want to admit!!! it does ruin marriages and makes you a loner if you werent one before...but against everything else id still turn a wheel everyday than work in some office or warehouse.....uuurrrrgggggghhhh....

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    Comment number 27.

    loved this reminded me of so much when i was trucking yes i am one of the many divorced truckers
    But i wouldnt have swapped it for nothing.
    Viewers all have different views towards the programme but i bet there aint many that can honestly say they havent had there break while unloading nor let the truck over run down hill
    A well rehearsed and wonderfully played by all actors.
    ALL THE CRITICS FAILED TO SPOT THAT WHEN THE TRUCK WAS DOING 80 MPH ANOTHER TRUCK PASSED HIM BYE DID I LAUGH'
    Hello people this is a drama come comedy even emmerdale/coronation street make unforeseeable errors.
    Well i say well done and cant wait for next episode TOP MARKS

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    Comment number 28.

    I'm not a regular TV drama watcher but fell into this series by accident. I love it! The somewhat hyper-reality serves both dramatic and comedic ends, and it's beautifully written and acted. This series reminds me of BBC drama in the good old days. Congratulations to all who made it.

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    Comment number 29.

    Just logged on for a minute and saw the new responses - and can I say I am utterly thrilled by their tone. The passion in yours, yamayam, was marvellous and I salute your chutzpah. Similarly, hinojoe, your post was a sheer joy to read; and it made me so happy that the show had obviously energised you so much. To Truckdriver, thank you. I will avail myself of the website and I thank you for your balanced comments. And old mr boston - I wish I could hug you. It is hyper real and you have got it in a sentence. Please get a spot on the Culture Show!

    Right - off to a script meeting. Fingers crossed!

    And again SUCH thanks to all who bothered to write!


    Billy

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    Comment number 30.

    I watched the first episode and didn`t really get it , so thought Malachi was too over the top,(must h ave been the leopardskin print underpants). But I have just watched the second episode and the honesty at the heart of it came through and now will definitely watch more. The fact that I am alone on this laptop , passing through life and connecting through technology and not through speech or touch does reflect that many of us are alone , seperated by and yet connected by technology. Sorry sounds a bit confused but trying to express myself is not my forte .

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    Comment number 31.

    Christine - I completely understand what you're saying. And it is actually eloquently put. I think one or two people found Mal's story a bit broad but I loved it's careering honesty and I thought Stephen's performance was astonishing. Do stick with the show though; I think the journey is worth it!

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    Comment number 32.

    I'm enjoying Truckers but I have to congratulate one and all for Episode 4. Sian Breckin gave a really excellent performance - an impressive portrayal of a complex character. Sue Tully directed this beautifully and Ashley was as good as ever. The best so far....

    I'm actually a supporting artist in this episode but I'm sure that's not influenced my view. Good stuff!

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    Comment number 33.

    'Hang on...is that me?' That's what you aimed for, and that's what you got. Episode 4. That mother was my mother, it grieves me to say, and Wendy's shoring up her heart against further maternal 'attacks' is how I lived my life until my mother died. How did you do that? How did you know so exactly that that's how it works for some people, that's what their mothers do to them, that's how they feel about it and that's how they react?

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    Comment number 34.

    I'm not a trucker so am not qualified to comment on tachographs(!) but can appreciate artistic license so for the first time ever have felt motivated to comment. I have enjoyed the series more than anything else for years. It has worked for me on multiple levels and I just wanted to say thank you to William and all involved for a fantastically written and acted piece of work, week after week. Thank you.

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    Comment number 35.

    I too have never commented on a television programme. But I enjoyed Truckers so much and just wanted to say thank you. The characters were all so totally real. Amazing. Wendy and Martin, especially were great.

    Will there be another series? Would love to know how things progress for them all.

    Thank you.

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    Comment number 36.

    Brilliant writing, loved what I saw of the series, Will look out for William Ivory in future.

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    Comment number 37.

    I appreciate that as a local I may be biased as to the quality of the programme, but having watched all five episodes I consider that this series has been something special. Much of the acting had rather a raw appeal. Lets not be too picky on authenticity, lets try to be entertained and emotionally stimulated. I look forward hopefully to a further series.

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    Comment number 38.

    Episodes two and three were definitely the best and most moving - Martin seeing his wife and father for what they were. Disappointed that the series was so short - plenty of scope for more soon ??

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    Comment number 39.

    Great series William brought back a lot of memories of the camaraderie we all had in the yard. I started as a trucker in a 7.5t as soon after leaving school as I could and came off the road
    6 months ago I'm 42 now and have lost my licence to bi-polar disorder maybe this is a subject you could address in future episodes. Once again loved the show and hope it will be released on blu ray. PS I'm one of those truckers who took there break whilst tipping tut tut.

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    Comment number 40.

    William, I love everything you do but this was the best! I was in town the day of filming the "leopard print thong" scene and wondered what was going on!! If I'd have left The Thurland 5 minutes earlier I dread to think what I would have seen! I thought the characters were believable and down to earth. The dialogue was spot on for Nottm, fast and honest. I find some programmes too scripted if that makes sense; you speak, a pause, and then I'll speak. You've got squabbling, banter and interrupting each other down to a fine art!. Spotting places I grew up just added to the whole experience. Thank you and here's hoping there'll be second series....!

 

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