Last Night’s TV – Bang Goes the Theory: The Human Power Station

by Lynn Connolly

the collinses

Is anyone else bored stiff of hearing all the turn-off-that-bulb-or-we’ll-all-die stuff? I know it’s not very PC to yawn and start thinking about something else when anyone goes off on one about the environment and global warming, but I’m sorry, I’ve got green fatigue.

And the fact of it is – for me anyway – while of course I give the whole global warming thing thought, and I do my best in terms of trying to recycle and so on, in truth, the only reason I’m always going round turning off lights and nagging my family about leaving things on stand-by is because the ‘leccy bills read like the numbers from Lost; all of them, all in a row, prefixed with a £ sign.

So the ‘message’ from last night’s BGtT was somewhat lost on me. Well, not lost, but it was just a snazzy, different way of lecturing me, and I’m fed up of it.

In the programme, we saw the Collins family moving into a purpose built house where all the electricity was provided by dozens of folks on bikes, pedaling like crazy to provide mum with power for her Wii Fit and the rest of the family with power for the vacuum cleaner, the hair straighteners, the stereo. You get the gist.

The point? To show us – and for ‘show us’ read ‘preach at us yet again’ – that we’re wasteful of energy. And of course there were lots of facts and figures about fossil fuels and what it takes in terms of power to cook a roast. And pretty much all of it made me feel like I was 12 again and sitting in a classroom.

Yes, it was a new method of presenting the same old same old lecture, but that’s what it came down to.

What did surprise me, and I’m still not sure I can believe it, is that apparently, kids are the best at saving energy. Not my kids. I really do struggle to accept the veracity of that bit of research; I spend half my life turning things off the kids have left on.

What didn’t surprise me at all though was that men are the worst at being energy efficient. My husband can’t shut a door, he finds it physically impossible, so heat rapidly leeches out wherever he’s been. Nor can he turn off a light. He can’t just put enough water in the kettle for one or two cups of coffee – it has to be up to the max level, and then some.

However, with the Collins family suitably in awe and chastised for their energy wasting ways, the programme concluded, and for my money, it could’ve ended five minutes after it started and I’d have known as much as I did after sitting through the whole thing.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.