Truckers (1992 TV series)

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Truckers
StarringJoe McGann
Debra Gillett
Rosalie Williams
John Jardine
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes13
Production
Running time10 minutes
Production companiesCosgrove Hall Productions
Thames Television
DistributorBoat Rocker Media
Release
Original networkITV Network (CITV)
Original release10 January (1992-01-10) –
3 April 1992 (1992-04-03)

Truckers is a British stop motion animated series, an adaptation of the first book of Terry Pratchett's The Nome Trilogy, produced in the United Kingdom by Cosgrove Hall for TV, then released on VHS, though edited together into a feature-length film.[1] The series consisted of 13 ten-minute episodes. [2][3][4]

Plot[edit]

Masklin the Nome and his companions flee their unsustainable motorway-verge home and discover an alien race of tiny Humans known as Nomes living in a department store scheduled for demolition. Things are complicated by the store Nomes' religion, which states ‘The Store’ consists of the entire universe, and denies the existence of the ‘outside’.

Masklin discovers from a mysterious object simply called 'The Thing' that all Nomes are descended from extraterrestrial explorers who crashed on Earth thousands of years ago. The Thing, actually a sentient computer from the original Nome starship, helps Masklin plan the escape from the doomed store. Through skill, courage and sheer good luck, Masklin and his friends manage to successfully evacuate the store Nomes before their home is destroyed.

Episodes[edit]

# Episode name Original air date
01"Episode 01"10 January 1992 (1992-01-10)
The Thing, a glowing cube, briefly sets the scene: A police car chases a lorry that is driving erratically and pulls it over. One of the officers gets out to talk to the driver, but when he gets to the cab he discovers the lorry is empty. Something is seen cutting the wires under the police car as the officer returns to his car. The lorry drives off, apparently driverless, and the police find that their car won't start. The Thing announces that this is not the end of the story or the start. The story proper begins with Masklin, a 4-inch-high (100 mm) Nome, hunting for food. On returning to his burrow, he argues with the elders of his tribe about the lack of food and that they have no fire for heat. Masklin decides that a lorry might take them to a better place, but as he wonders, a fox attacks one of the elders, Mr Mert. Masklin chases the fox onto the motorway, killing both the fox and Mr Mert. Masklin decides right then they all have to go, so they climb on board a lorry at a nearby motorway service station. The head of the tribe, Torrit, discovers that he has lost The Thing, the symbol of the tribe's authority. He makes Masklin climb down to get it just as the driver returns and the lorry takes off; Masklin is left hanging on the rope.
02"Episode 02"17 January 1992 (1992-01-17)
Masklin manages to climb aboard the lorry, and they settle down as it finally takes them to a department store loading zone. There they discover a Nome named Angalo. Angalo tells them they are in Arnold Bros., the department store home of several tribes of Nomes. Angalo believes they are from the outside, and takes them before his father, the Duke De Haberdasheri. The Duke, however, does not believe their story and becomes angry with them, denying that 'Outside' exists – it is against the Store Nome's religion. As Masklin and the others leave the Duke's presence, they walk past an electricity cable; lights begin to flash on The Thing as it starts to speak.
03"Episode 03"24 January 1992 (1992-01-24)
The thing tells them that Nomes are from another planet, that they arrived on earth 15,000 years ago, and that they must return home to their planet. Masklin meets Dorcas, an inventor who shows them his inventions and is intrigued by the concept of 'Life beyond The Store'. The Thing intercepts a radio transmission saying The Store will be demolished in three weeks.
04"Episode 04"31 January 1992 (1992-01-31)
Dorcas tells Masklin that no one will believe what The Thing says. He takes them to the see Abbott, leader of the Stationeri, who act as the Store's priesthood. On the way, they are met by Corseteri bandits who are soon driven off. They meet with the Abbott, who does not believe them. Gurder, the Abbot's assistant, tells the Nomes that strange things are happening; items are not being replaced and the Abbott is worried, he just won't admit it. Gurder takes them back to see the Abbot, who asks to talk to Masklin and The Thing alone.
05"Episode 05"7 February 1992 (1992-02-07)
When the Abbott is alone with Masklin, he says that he has a number of concerns about the future of the Store. The Abbott reveals that, many years ago, the different departments fought each other for control of the Store. It was only when the Sationeri asserted that Arnold Bros. (est 1905) wanted the departments to live in peace that the wars ended. If the Stationeri is proved wrong about the existence of Outside, the other departments may decide they were wrong about Arnold Bros. too, and start fighting again. Therefore the Abbott must pretend that everything is normal to keep the peace. The Thing then tells the Abbott the true history of the Nomes, starting with their spaceship crash-landing on earth 15,000 years ago.
06"Episode 06"14 February 1992 (1992-02-14)
Charged by the Abbott with discovering the truth, Gurder takes Masklin and Grimma to an escalator which takes them to the general manager's office. As Masklin begins searching the desk, they discover a memo to the staff saying that the store will be demolished. They are disturbed by a security guard (whom Gurder identifies as 'Prices Slashed', the Devil of their religious pantheon), but they manage to get past him undetected. They return to find that the Abbott has been talking at length with The Thing, and has reconciled his world view that 'Outside' is an extension of the Store. He decrees that the nomes must return to their true home. This turns out to be his final command, as the Abbott dies shortly after.
07"Episode 07"21 February 1992 (1992-02-21)
Gurder presides over the Abbott's funeral, and it is revealed that he was chosen by the old Abbott to replace him. Gurder, however, does not want the job. Masklin comes up with a plan to save the nomes; they will leave the way they arrived, by stealing a lorry.
08"Episode 08"28 February 1992 (1992-02-28)
Masklin tells his plan to a number of officials from other clans. The Duke thinks his plan is foolishness, and refuses to participate. All the other clans agree to work together, with the Stationeri (reluctantly) teaching many of the nomes to read. Angalo defies his father by offering to help, and climbs aboard a departing lorry, hoping to learn more about how they work.
09"Episode 09"6 March 1992 (1992-03-06)
Angalo climbs on board a lorry, which drives away. A Nome named Vinto, who tends to mistake fiction books for instruction manuals, reads about a hostage situation and suggests they could take a human hostage; however, Masklin does not think the plan will work. The lorry returns and Masklin climbs down to the lorry. He finds Angalo's jacket, but Angalo himself is not on board.
10"Episode 10"13 March 1992 (1992-03-13)
The Duke is distressed at the disappearance of his son. Although he still does not believe in an Outside, he agrees to help Masklin, as he feels it might lead him to Angalo. Vinto finds a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and convinces the other nomes to search the store for a bottle of "Drink Me" to make the nomes grow bigger. Angalo finally returns on another lorry, saying he saw the store from the Outside. The store has a number of closing down signs in the windows.
11"Episode 11"20 March 1992 (1992-03-20)
Angalo recounts how he got out of his original lorry to go to the lavatory, but before he could climb back aboard it had driven off, so he had to wait a long time for another Arnold Bros. lorry to come by. He also learned how to drive a lorry, making detailed notes of the controls. He tells Masklin that the gears are many times larger than a nome, and they realise that it will be impossible for the nomes to operate the lorry without help. Vinto brings a book of Gulliver's Travels to Masklin, hoping to convince him to kidnap a human to help them, but Masklin instead sees the ropes holding Gulliver down; he believes they can use ropes to operate the lorry. Vinto discovers that, instead of the two weeks they thought they had, the demolition has already started.
12"Episode 12"27 March 1992 (1992-03-27)
The Thing advises the nomes to get out of the store as soon as possible. Although demolition is still 14 days away, humans have started to clear the building and load the store fittings onto a lorry. Dorcas tells Masklin that he has disabled the loading bay door so the lorry can't leave. The Thing tells Masklin there is an airport to the north and they should head to it, the it falls silent and leaves Masklin on his own. Masklin becomes overwhelmed by his task, but Grimma encourages him to lead the nomes out of the store. The nomes get into a lorry and begin to practice using the rope and pulley system Dorcas designed to drive the lorry. They start the lorry and begin to move, unfortunately they move backwards, not forwards, and crash into a petrol drum which tips over and spills. Prices Slashed comes to investigate, smoking a cigarette. Angelo tells the nomes that if there is a single spark the spilled fuel will explode.
13"Episode 13"3 April 1992 (1992-04-03)

Prices Slashed sees Gurder stood in the lorry angrily denouncing the 'Demon', and is startled into dropping his lighted cigarette into the petrol. With no time for Dorcas to fix the door, the lorry crashes through it moments before the petrol ignites and causes an explosion. They stop a short way down the street to see the store on fire. They drive off and, after a number of close calls, a police car begins pursuing them. The first scene of the first episode then repeats, this time showing Masklin and Dorcas cutting the police car's wiring while the nomes in the truck hide.

The lorry comes to a stop in an abandoned quarry near an airport. Masklin tells the others that they must move on at some point and try to get home. As they watch Concorde fly over, Dorcas remarks that it would be easier to drive than a lorry because it only has three wheels.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Paul Simpson.

Cast[edit]

Crew[edit]

  • Directed by Jackie Cockle, Francis Vose, Chris Taylor (each episode had one director)
  • Produced by Jackie Cockle
  • Executive producer; John Hamberly
  • Adapted by Brian Trueman
  • Edited by Zyggy Markiewicz
  • Music; Colin Towns
  • Film Editor: Zyggy Markiewicz
  • Assistant Film Editors: Stephen Perry, Jane Hicks
  • Music Editor: Garry Hardman

Novelization[edit]

The series was made into a short hardcover book published by Ladybird Press in 1992. The book included colour photos from the series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nicoll, Tom (5 April 2016). "How Terry Pratchett's Truckers changed my whole life" – via www.theguardian.com.
  2. ^ Blair, Andrew (22 September 2013). "Terry Pratchett's 'Truckers' DVD review". CultBox. UK. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014. Thirteen ten-minute episodes ensue, as…
  3. ^ "Truckers[17/01/92] (1992)". BFI.
  4. ^ "Truckers[03/04/92] (1992)". BFI.

External links[edit]