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Tucker's Luck (1983-85)

Courtesy of BBC

Main image of Tucker's Luck (1983-85)
BBC, 10/3/1983-17/12/1985
27 x 30 minute episodes in 3 series, colour
Devised byPhil Redmond
ProducersDavid Hargreaves
 Darrol Blake

Cast: Todd Carty (Tucker Jenkins); Paul McCarthy (Tommy Watson); Gillian Freedman (Alison Powell); George Armstrong (Alan Humphries); Peter McNamara (Passmore); Elaine Lordan (Michelle Passmore); Hilary Crane (Mrs Jenkins); Adam Kotz (Chris 'Creamy' Eames)

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Former Grange Hill pupil Peter 'Tucker' Jenkins and his friends, now out of school, have to adapt to the harsh reality of life on the dole in mid-1980s London.

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The Grange Hill (BBC, 1979-) character 'Tucker' Jenkins (Todd Carty) proved to be so popular with viewers that Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond developed a spin-off, Tucker's Luck (BBC, 1983-1985). Tucker's Luck was aimed at viewers who had grown up with Tucker in Grange Hill, and followed his life after leaving school with few qualifications. Together with two friends from Grange Hill, Tommy Watson (Paul McCarthy) and Alan Humphries (George Armstrong), Tucker entered adulthood by joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Set in the rundown council estates of London, the series attempted a realistic portrayal of life for teenagers in the Thatcher era. Storylines covered Tucker and his friends' attempts to find work and to make ends meet while living off money from the dole. The three lads topped up their dole cheques with some cash-in-hand building work for Alan's dad, a building contractor.

Much of Tucker's time is spent chasing girls and hanging around the local chip shop. Also, in keeping with Tucker's rebellious nature seen in Grange Hill, he has regular run-ins with figures of authority, as well as clashes with local thug and bovver boy Ralph Passmore (Peter McNamara). The series ended on a relative high-note for Tucker with him eventually attending night-school to learn a trade as a painter and decorator.

The show, in the main, proved to be less controversial than Grange Hill and was less popular with viewers, although its scheduling time did little to help as the show was broadcast on BBC2 opposite the early evening news on both BBC1 and ITV. Todd Carty later went on to appear in the BBC soap EastEnders (BBC, 1984-) as Mark Fowler.

Jon Lysons

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Video Clips
1. Motorbike dreams (2:37)
2. Buttering up (3:15)
3. Encounter with Passmore (2:40)
Complete episode (25:47)
Grange Hill (1978-2008)
Redmond, Phil (1949-)
Children's TV Drama