1 9 7 5 (UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes
In his first creation since the death of writing partner Harry Driver, Vince Powell once again tried to draw humour from ethnic differences with The Wackers which told of the misadventures of a Liverpudlian family called the Clarksons – half of them Catholic, half of them Protestant – and just for good measure, half of them supported Liverpool FC and half Everton.
They lived in the poor Dingle area of the city, with its streets of back-to-back houses, and the opening episode saw Dad (Ken Jones) return from two years ‘at sea’ (prison, in actual fact).
Although the series was made by London-ITV company Thames, for whom Powell was employed as a comedy consultant, the writer is a Mancunian and lived in Liverpool for four years so he has an understanding of the unique local brand of humour.
Ken Jones and Sheila Fay – both native Liverpudlians and married to each other in real life too – were the husband and wife here, and their children were played by David Casey, the future children’s television presenter Keith Chegwin and a 28-year-old fast-rising actress (also Liverpool-born) Alison Steadman.
The extended family included Billy’s incontinent mother, Maggie (Pearl Hackney) and Mary’s father, Joe (Joe Gladwin). Charlie (Bill Dean) was the family friend.
The Wackers was not a success, though, and audiences soon grew tired of its incontinence jokes.