Comedian Dom Joly presents this new six-part
series in which he and a crack team of
‘complainers’ set about tackling the myriad
irritations of modern life. In this second
programme, Dom investigates recycling policies
in Exeter, Oxford and Barnet; Ben finds out that
parking tickets are not always as cut-and-dried as
they seem; and the world’s worst minicab driver
tests the public’s patience.
“Modern life can be really irritating,” says Dom
Joly. “Bad deals, bad laws, annoying people –
they’re everywhere.” To redress the balance, Dom
and his team of mischief makers plan to wreak
comedic revenge on everyone and everything
from cold-callers to cabbies, parking fines to
public transport. Dom and the gang pledge to
mock, undermine and generally annoy those who
would irritate us. Along the way, Dom Joly’s
Complainers unearths some unbelievable truths about life’s everyday annoyances. “It’s a war out there,” Dom says. “And we’re on your side.”
This week, Dom is investigating local policies on recycling. With millions of tonnes of domestic waste being buried every year, the government has given councils the power to set and enforce their own policies – including the right to inspect bins and fine offenders. Dom heads to Exeter, where a radical recycling policy has been implemented. ‘Bin police’ check waste when it is collected, and report households which are not recycling properly. Dom meets recycling enforcement officer Peter Delaney, and is surprised to discover that despite the strict policy, the council has not yet fined anybody for violating it – and neither has any other council in the UK.
In Oxford, an even more radical policy is in place. Bins and recycling are collected fortnightly, on alternating weeks, in an attempt to encourage householders to recycle more – but not everybody
is happy about the £2.1million plan, with residents complaining about overflowing bins and stinking waste. Local protester Annie Skinner suggests that Dom talk to Oxford councillor Jean Fooks at the town hall to ask her about the policy, but when Dom turns up armed with an 11-day-old box of rubbish, the interview is mysteriously cancelled.
Dom also visits Barnet, whose council was the first in Britain to introduce compulsory recycling.
Local resident Dr Kent Deng is furious about the policy, complaining that the council do not make it easy to avoid a £1,000 fine, and likens the situation to life under a Stalinist regime. Dom decides to find out if the Barnet councillors are abiding by their own rules, and heads out under cover of darkness to inspect a few bins.
Dom’s quest to find out more about recycling in Britain also takes him to Exeter’s recycling centre, where he meets cleansing services manager Mike Trim and has a tour of the plant. What happens to the recycling once it arrives?
Also this week, complainer Rich finds out that getting a parking ticket does not always mean you have to fork out and pay a fine. He meets Barry Segal, who has been waging a one-man war against the wardens and has successfully contested over 2,000 parking fines. Barry presents Rich with a huge book of traffic codes and regulations, and explains that if a parking bay is not correctly marked, a ticket for parking in it is not enforceable. When Rich’s car gets a ticket in a
wrongly marked bay, he explains the situation to an unconvinced traffic warden – but will his efforts be enough to get the ticket cancelled?
Elsewhere, Dom returns some junk mail to sender; a cold-calling double-glazing company gets a taste of its own medicine; and Ben turns minicab driver as he tries to provoke three passengers into partaking of that most un-British of activities: complaining.