Lycett to investigate rogue water companies as the UK faces a major sewage crisis

In Joe Lycett v Poo (w/t)

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As water companies continue to pump sewage into our waterways and seas, Joe Lycett wants to get to the bottom of it all.

Having previously taken on the oil industry in Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant and following on from the Bafta-winning Joe Lycett vs David Beckham, this new investigative special for Channel 4 will see Joe investigate how our waterways have become so polluted and why water companies have been allowed to taint one of our most precious resources.

In 2022 water companies in England alone were responsible for 301,091 sewage overflows, for a total of 1,754,921 hours. That's the equivalent of a single discharge going on for more than 200 years[1]. Only 14% of English rivers meet "good" ecological status, with sewage pollution a major contributor[2]. Meanwhile, privatised water and sewerage companies in England paid £1.4 billion in dividends in 2022[3], according to one analysis.

As part of the programme, Joe recently undertook an attention-grabbing stunt to launch his latest fake podcast project – Turdcast – where a giant inflatable toilet dubbed the Turdis accidentally leaked fake “sewage” into Liverpool Docks. The stunt had no environmental nor biological impact on the area and the spillage was in fact marine mud.

Joe Lycett said: “I spilled fake sewage because I wanted to get people talking about the billions of litres of real sewage that are released every year by our water companies. Last year, according to one analysis the water companies paid shareholders £1.4 billion in dividends. That’s a lot of money that could have been used to improve the sewer network and reduce spills.

“We’re asking the water companies to stop paying dividends and instead invest the money in solving this problem. So please write to your water company asking them to sign up to what I’m calling Joe’s Poo Promise – not the first time I’ve used those words – there’s information about how to do this at turdcast.co.uk.”

Tom Beck, Head of Live Events and Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 said: “Joe is our leading mischief maker; he uses humour, wit and absolute fearlessness to call out companies, celebrities and even our politicians. He’s taken on the oil giants and David Beckham; now he’s highlighting one of our biggest environmental issues by diving into the murky waters of the utility companies polluting our seas and rivers. It will be provocative, revealing, important and feature lots of poo jokes. Who else could promise all of that?”

Iain Wimbush, Joint Managing Director, Rumpus Media, said: “Having tackled national treasures, entire states and oil giants, Joe has now set his sights on growing scourge of poor practice by British water companies. Joe has an innate ability to find new ways to get people engaged with subjects that might not be getting the attention they deserve, and we look forward to a day when we can all enjoy waters in the UK without fear of finding they're filled with excrement.”

ENDS

About

Joe Lycett vs Poo (w/t) is a 1 x 60 for Channel 4 due to air in 2024. It is a co-production between Rumpus Media and My Options Were Limited, commissioned by Tom Beck, Head of Live Events and Commissioning Editor for Channel 4. The Executive Producers are Emily Hudd and Iain Wimbush for Rumpus Media and Joe Lycett for My Options Were Limited. Series producer is Matt Nida and director is Tommy Forbes.

[1] https://www.endsreport.com/article/1818392/mapped-storm-overflows-spilled-sewage-301091-times-2022#:~:text=Event%20Duration%20Monitoring%20data%20%2D%20provided,the%20equivalent%20of%20200%20years.

[2] https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/62/environmental-audit-committee/news/160246/chemical-cocktail-of-sewage-slurry-and-plastic-polluting-english-rivers-puts-public-health-and-nature-at-risk/#:~:text=Only%2014%25%20of%20English%20rivers,of%20health%20for%20chemical%20contamination.

[3] https://www.ft.com/content/ee03d551-8eee-4136-9eeb-7c8b51169a99

Source Channel 4

November 28, 2023 2:00am ET by Channel 4  

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