Last Night’s TV – Grimefighters


This show is pretty much like the dozens of its predecessors that’ve gone before; there’s grime and there’s people who get rid of it, however, it’s a ceaselessly fascinating thing, which is probably why this show is doing so well in the ratings. Either that or the competition on terrestrial channels is so pants, we’re tuning in by default.

Last night we saw environmental health officers at work, closing down a fish and chip shop which was stomach churningly gross. The intrepid pair were doing an unannounced inspection and they found a very lot of rats’ droppings and exceptionally unsanitary conditions. And of course the scary thing about that is that the area where customers are served looked spotless… I’m just glad I wasn’t eating while watching this show, especially fish and chips.

We also had a look inside a flat where an old man had lived – and subsequently died – and which was in an horrific state. The first thing that occurred to me as we saw the dreadful mess the flat was in was, how come nobody spotted that this old man was living in abject squalor? Surely social services are meant to check on this sort of thing? The smell in the place must have been horrific…

There was faeces everywhere, tons of rubbish; in general, it was just appalling. However, enter a team of specialist cleaners, which was really the focus of the show, not how the flat had got that bad in the first place.

One of the cleaners was “Showroom Rob”, so named for his zealous approach to cleaning. And that man must have a stomach lined with asbestos or something. He had to clean the loo which was literally coated with dried on poop. I was heaving just looking at it, but Showroom Rob soon had it clean again. Personally, I’d have ripped it out and installed a new one, but I don’t have Showroom Rob’s tenacity. I’m a give-up-and-replace-it sorta gal.

Another rather astounding segment came when we saw the state of the streets of Cardiff after a Saturday rugby match; I’ve never seen so many takeout cartons in one place! The thousands of people responsible really should be ashamed of themselves for making such a god awful mess. The clean up team had to get the town looking smart again in time for Sunday shoppers, and how they managed it was quite a feat of will versus task.

However, as the supervisor was telling the camera crew how they’d done pretty well cleaning up, some poor guy on a bike went flying, presumably due to the greasy street. What surprised me is that nobody bothered to go and see if he was ok! They just carried on with the interview. Throw away Britain evidently extends to folks on cycles too.

However, it’s a genuinely interesting show – if somewhat stomach churning – and the only criticism I have of it is John Sergeant’s rather monotone narration. I really like John but dang, he’s really not suited to narration work. He just doesn’t have that ‘thing’ that is a voice-over X Factor which people like Chris Serle are just innately suited to.

Other than that though, if you want to see how the country’s worst offences against cleanliness are dealt with, you’ll love this show.

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.