Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 9:00PM – 10:00PM
“Across Britain millions of us are all making things dirty. Every journey we make, every meal we eat, everywhere we go, we leave a mess. Keeping the country clean is an epic task.”
Zoe Wanamaker, narrator.
In this two-part series, the dirty secrets about the way modern Brits live, are revealed by the filthy work of the men and women who clean up after us. This week, Dirty Britain explores the remarkable things they find behind the nation’s front doors. The programme goes inside the nation’s homes to discover the high standards we expect and the reality of how mucky we actually are.
With more money and less time, having a cleaner is back in fashion once more and one in 10 British households now employs a domestic cleaner. In South West London, a team of domestic maids get to see how fussy some homeowners can be about dirt and grime.
Sandra, the Managing Director of Molly Maids says: “This client has been with us for quite a few years and he’s really on it. He’ll know if it’s been vacuumed diagonally or vertically or horizontally, he’ll know that. Which I think is lovely I really do. It’s just amusing that someone is so connected with their home. A much loved home.”
But in another household across the city, Jim the pest controller is dealing with a remarkable home that has been overrun by pigeons. Jim and his colleague Harry are staggered at the state of the house.
Jim says: “It’s by far the worst house that we’ve seen where someone is actually living inside. I mean you’ve got to keep reminding yourself that it ain’t a squat, it ain’t a derelict property. The guy lives here. To be honest you wouldn’t keep a dog here. If you were keeping an animal in these conditions you would be nicked for animal cruelty.”
In Manchester, the sewers are clogged up with many things, which shouldn’t be put down them. Sewermen, Mick and Shaun spend their working lives cleaning up our mess.
Mick says: “People flush a lot of things down the sewers that they’re not supposed to; wipes, sanitary towels, fat & grease. We’ve found sex toys down manholes. Cats, hamsters, gerbils, and family pets. You find all sorts down there.”
But going down into the sewers is risky as our sewage can produce lethal gas. Mick says: “You get explosive gases that can asphyxiate. Basically it’s deadly down there.”
There are 25 million households in Britain. And more than one in four are made up of single people living alone. Extreme cleaners Matt and John are faced with the unpleasant task of cleaning up after the undiscovered deaths of people who lived alone. Decomposing bodies are being found in increasing numbers. In London alone there are two every week.
In Knightsbridge the most expensive car washer in the country is kept busy cleaning the Rolls Royces and Ferraris of the nation’s super rich. Gurchan’s car washing business caters to London’s high flying elite. His cleaning kit would put a beautician to shame and the most expensive deep clean he offers costs £8000.