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Billy Ivory's BBC drama Truckers begins filming in Nottingham

May 2013

TRUCKERS is a comedy drama set in Nottingham about a small family firm with just six drivers. Stephen Tompkinson plays the lead character.
It’s five one-hour episodes that’ll be broadcast on BBC 1 at 9pm, hopefully in the autumn.
We’ll be filming through to July and we’re all over Nottingham; Cossall, Stoney Street, Stonebridge Farm in St Ann’s, Wollaton Park, Eastwood... it’s all over the place.
A lot of it will be on the inner ring road because that’s what you’re dealing with when you’re trucking.
And I’m hoping the finale will be on Slab Square as long as we get permission.
I wanted to film it at the edge of Sneinton near the Racecourse, where you are in the city but just a step away from all these fields. But we couldn’t find a yard down there that worked.
I’m an executive producer on it. It’s the sensible way to do it because you write the thing, you’ve created it and you know how it should be.
Steve’s fantastic in it. I wrote for him years ago when I did Minder, when I was first starting out. He has such an edge to him. We had the read-through last week and he was astonishing.
And he does a fantastic Nottingham accent. He rang me up and said ‘can you read my lines back to me?’ and I said ‘I can’t because my accent is all over the shop’. But I read a few of his lines and sent them back to him and he used that. He has a voice coach as well but he’s really great at it. And it’s not easy to do.
I remember Tim Healy in Common As Muck. He was going to try to do a Nottingham accent and in the end he just gave up.
Truckers is like all my stuff; it’s bittersweet. It’s funny but it’s got an edge to it.
I think it’s very different to Common As Muck and I didn’t want to repeat myself anyway. It’s similar in that it’s a work-based drama. It is a revisiting of that environment but it has very different concerns.
Common As Muck was about spiritual dirt versus actual dirt. This is about isolation. Today we are so well connected with each other through social networking but at the same time we are more isolated. You see that at gigs where everyone is together but they’ve all got their phones out.
I thought truckers were a brilliant metaphor for that. They belong to the same company but they go out on their own.
Each episode is like a little self-contained film about each of the characters and how they deal with the isolation.
Steve plays Malachi. There’s his son Glenn, a female trucker called Wendy, Michelle, who is the transport manager and Martin Banks, who owns the company Banks Transport.
Not one character is based on me. I suppose there are always bits of me in whatever I write.
But I’ve never driven a lorry.
I went out with a mate of mine, who is a trucker, when I was researching it. He delivers cement, concrete, grain and turf. And I got to know the joys of ‘trucker’s Tizer’, which is the bottles of amber liquid you often find in lay-bys.
I found it to be a very isolated job but they’d meet up at a particular truck stop or pub.
It’s been two years in the making for me and I still like spending time with the characters. I hope the audience feel the same, as they did about the characters in Common As Muck and Made In Dagenham.
We have a base in the city centre but I haven’t been there yet because I’m at home rewriting scenes for the final episode. It’s because one of the actors is getting married and can’t do certain scenes so I’m having to write him out of them.
It’s a bit of a nightmare but I’m getting there.
The cast and crew are loving Nottingham. The producer sent me a text the other day and said ‘I can see why you love Nottingham; it’s a beautiful city.’
And I said ‘I know and I look forward to seeing some of it when I’ve finished rewriting this bloody script!’


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