An exciting new BBC drama for daytime TV!
Starting soon on BBC1!
Following on in the footsteps of ‘Doctors’, the new series will have social justice and gritty story lines at its heart. The cast members were of course all chosen on talent grounds alone, but by lucky chance the result is a marvellously diverse ensemble, truly representative of our wonderfully diverse modern Britain.
The show centres on the lives and loves of a team of South Yorkshire aerial riggers. The team leader and business owner is ‘Muff’ Muncha, a formidable lady of Polish origin. Muff has a screen-filling presence that no-one can ignore. She can beat any of the men she employs at ladder climbing, aerial rigging, and customer dissing. Muff is married to Gloria Armstrong, who owns Macho, the female-only gym next door.
Chief rigger is Bonko Aldayo, played by newcomer Abinbolobobo Bobhinmaaa. Abinbolobobo graduated with honours only last year from the Nigeria Academy of Dramatic Arts, and now seems set for a glittering career in UK film, theatre, and television. We’re sure he’ll always be in work, despite having very little English and being quite ugly.
Bonko’s rival is Alisdair Balfour. Alisdair’s personal quest is to install more rigs per day than any of the other workers. His attempts to top the league table provide much of the drama in the series. Because he is differently abled he has major challenges which he overcomes heroically. Alisdair’s back story is told in the first episode. Alisdair is an ardent environmentalist — a wonderful guy — and has real concerns about saving the planet. In an heroic attempt to prevent a train loaded with fossil fuel from reaching a power station he had laid on the railway with his arms and legs across the rails. This didn’t go quite according to plan. In the first episode of ‘The Riggers’ he is interviewed for the job of aerial rigger, and in a powerfully dramatic scene he proves beyond doubt that he can climb ladders despite being limbless, by screaming repeatedly at Muff, “I can do the job, and if you don’t give it to me I’ll report you for disability discrimination!” Muff hugs him and they both cry.
Alisdair has yet to find love, and as the series progresses we see him attempt to find a partner, “a big strong guy who can haul me onto the roof!” he jokes. Alisdair is gay, but he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops.
The customers provide much of the humour and drama in this bitter-sweet series. Some of them are hard working and well-off, and thus obviously rather obnoxious. There are also drug addicts and petty criminals, all of whom the team obviously treat with the greatest respect and help out in every possible way. In one very touching episode Alisdair allows a young man who has been thrown out of art school following a misunderstanding in the toilets to share his tiny one-bedroom flat until he can get on his feet.
Many of the customers are old and therefore ignorant of the true realities of life; in fact one elderly man proudly declares that he is in favour of Brexit. In a series of hard-hitting but at the same time heart-warming scenes spread over several episodes the riggers come together as a team and take turns visiting this man until he finally he sees the truth and shouts “Brexiteers are all stupid!”
THE RIGGERS starts on BBC1 next Wednesday at 1.45pm. Another hit, just like ‘Doctors’! Don’t miss it!