The Tuckers. Image shows from L to R: Billy Tucker (Joshua McCord), Glyn Tucker (Steve Speirs), Peggy Tucker (Lynn Hunter), Natalie Tucker (Alexandria Riley), Bobby Tucker (Ben McGregor).

The Tuckers

BBC One Wales sitcom about a family. 7 episodes (pilot + 1 series), 2018 - 2020. Stars Steve Speirs, Robert Pugh, Lynn Hunter, Joshua McCord and others.

Another series is in development.

The Tuckers. Image shows from L to R: Glyn Tucker (Steve Speirs), Peggy Tucker (Lynn Hunter).

Steve Speirs interview

Steve Speirs talks about his sitcom set in the Welsh Valleys, which follows a family of chancers. It premiered as a pilot in 2018, and is now back for a full six-part series...

What should the audience expect from the series?

It's aimed at a family audience - people who like good comedy. The show is about a family who are full of hope, they want things to work out for them, they're survivors. They're not necessarily on the right side of the law but their ambitions are truthful, they work hard and try to survive as a family. I'd like to think that as much as they have a go at each other, you'll see that there is a lot of love there too.

The pilot was aimed more at the late-night comedy slot and was pretty close to the bone. But we could see there was a lot of love in the family and it was something we wanted to play to in the series. So I'd say the series is much warmer.

The Tuckers. Glyn Tucker (Steve Speirs).

How did the idea for the series come about?

It's been floating around for a long time. They're characters that have been with me since childhood in many ways. I had a grandpa Murphy who lived in the outside toilet and wouldn't come in. He had a monkey at one point called Jacko, but I don't think the BBC had the budget for that!

My Nana Peg was very much the matriarchal, no nonsense, head of the family type, which I think we can all relate to. The extended family of Glyn, Billy and Bobby were voices of people who have been around me since my childhood. I spent a lot of time in the Valleys as I got older and I just loved their turn of phrase and the sharpness of wit - it's in the DNA of the vocabulary.

But I hope that localism becomes universal, just like you didn't have to come from Manchester to love The Royle Family or you didn't have to be from Peckham to like Only Fools And Horses. I wanted to really bust that myth that Welsh men are on it and the poor women are stuck at home. That's one of the biggest myths going - women in Wales are the strongest in the world. They hold it all together and it's been the same for generations. I hope people embrace it and get behind it. It's not pretending to be an intellectual pursuit of humour. It is basically an honest, character-driven comedy.

You play the lead role. What was it like being an actor in your own series?

I've acted in things I've written before having contributed to a few series of series of Stella and I wrote a film called Caught In The Act. This was slightly different as I was acting in something I completely created and I'm the sole writer so I felt a lot of responsibility towards making sure the characters were as I wanted them to be.

I was incredibly lucky to have the backing of a fantastic producer in Owen Bell who just got the show straight away. Then we found the most amazing cast. It's a cast of familiar faces such as Kimberley Nixon and Robert Pugh as well as newcomers and I think they'll become names people will come to love after watching the show.

The Tuckers. Image shows from L to R: Murphy (Robert Pugh), Peggy Tucker (Lynn Hunter), Glyn Tucker (Steve Speirs), Bobby Tucker (Ben McGregor), Billy Tucker (Joshua McCord), Natalie Tucker (Alexandria Riley), Shakira Tucker (Hope Reynolds).

You've an all-Welsh cast for the series, was that important to you?

It was absolutely vital. Everything would have fallen apart if that wasn't the case. The casting process was amazing. We were very lucky to find the talent that we did and that just shows the sort of talent there is in Wales.

I wrote a character for Robert Pugh. When I wrote Murphy, I wrote it with Robert Pugh in mind. I had his rhythm in my head and could hear exactly how Robert would say it. And obviously I wrote Glyn for myself.

Tell us a bit about your co-stars and what it was like working with them?

Absolutely brilliant. It's like going to work with your family. Working with Robert Pugh, who I've worked with before, was just fantastic. I also knew Kimberly, and it was great when she came on board. Finding new actors and being on set with them every day was special - we felt like family. I feel incredibly protective of them because they came from inside my head.

A lot of the praise for that must go to the actors who took the script and made it even better. I always think a good script is like a trampoline, it's up to you how far you bounce on it and I think they bounced it out of the park. They just really got it and we all ended up being a good family unit.

The Tuckers. Image shows from L to R: Glyn Tucker (Steve Speirs), Murphy (Robert Pugh).

Do you have any stand-out moments during filming The Tuckers?

One of the stand out moments for me was showing Robert Pugh where his place on the set was, the outside toilet at the end of the garden! He's one of our most acclaimed, recognised and heavyweight actors and I just told him he'd be stuck in the 'bog'! The look on his face was a pretty stand-out moment for me!

More The Tuckers interviews

Published: Thursday 9th January 2020