Paul & Barry Chuckle – the UK’s most experienced contractors

Posted on Jan 20th, 2016 | Running a business

Many of us go through our entire lives never really being sure of what we want to do – and that’s fine. But a pair of Rotherham-based business partners have attempted to find their niche through a process of elimination.

Brothers Paul (67) and Barry (70) have been attempting to land that ideal gig since the inception of little known BBC docu-drama, Chucklevision way back in 1987. In each installation across its 21 seasons, the duo impressively managed to secure contracted work for themselves in an astonishingly vast range of occupations.

For example, in the first five seasons of the show alone, the siblings unsuccessfully tried their hands at being TV presenters, dancers, sports stars, tailors, carpenters, magicians, cleaners, farmers, fishermen, circus performers, delivery people, park keepers, ship deck cleaners, window cleaners, supermarket cashiers, advertising agents, removal people, car cleaners, hotel porters, taxi drivers, plumbers, cafe waiters, hospital porters, telephone engineers, market sellers, tent testers, bowling alley attendants, caretakers, interior designers, dog kennel workers, inventors, cinema owners, balloon salespeople, professional wrestlers, musicians, bus drivers and babysitters.

Sadly, the commissioned jobs were seldom carried out to a satisfactory level, and on multiple occasions the tawdry duo were even shown hurriedly absconding without completing the task at all – much to the chagrin of their irate clients.

Despite the lengthy run ‘Chucklevision’ enjoyed, it has been dogged with doubts about its legitimacy – with some of the more cynical critics even suggesting that the show’s protagonists may have merely been actors portraying hapless half wits for the sake of entertainment.

Crunch can now reveal that further evidence of this deception has come to light. A recent insight from our Accountancy Technical Manager Chris has raised further doubt as to whether the experiences documented in Chucklevision were entirely real. Oh dear, oh dear.

Employee or Contractor?

The major question that arises from watching all 292 installments of the show is “How did they keep getting hired?” It’s quite the wonder anyone ever gave them a reference. Well, it was, until this video emerged.

This evidence highlights the fact that the same gentleman appears to have employed the Chuckle Brothers on a startling number of occasions – and if his familiar facial features don’t convince you something fishy is afoot, his affinity for repeatedly using the term ‘no slacking’ will.

A piece of legislation called IR35 was set up in 2000 to penalise tax dodgers who claim to be contractors when they are in fact full-time employees. The Chuckles being constantly under the supervision or control of a manager (who appears to be pretending to be a different person whilst employing the same contractors again and again) would certainly set off some alarm bells over at HMRC.

Either this nameless employer has successfully managed to dodge HMRC since IR35’s implementation in 2000, or he was continuously paid to masquerade as a stroppy boss on a dubiously less-than-factual TV show. You make the call.

The revelations that Chucklevision probably wasn’t an honest account of how to hire and manage contract workers have caused fury amongst the show’s cult following, and have led to widespread speculation online that the gentlemen in question are not even real brothers.

There are even further accusations that despite the documented three year age gap, Barry Chuckle is in fact Paul Chuckle’s Dad – although this rumour does appear to have originated from a rogue Wikipedia update by an unknown source.

Alas, this story does have a happy ending: Paul and Barry in recent times have finally managed to settle into a regular role. After decades of failing to become jacks of all trades, they have become the masters of seasonal pantomimes; entertaining children and adults alike across the country.

Their hunger for new ventures may never truly be satisfied though, and last year they teamed up with highly respected grime artist Tinchy Stryder for the spine-tinglingly gorgeous hit single, ‘To Me, To You (Bruv)’.

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Written by Tom West

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