Episode 9 Oxford Street Revealed


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Episode 9

Observational documentary series. Dan and Dunya celebrate their first anniversary by going down an Oxford Street sewer in search of a fatberg.


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Transcript


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Oxford Street is the most famous shopping street in the world

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in the heart of Britain's capital city.

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A mile and a half long with 30 million visitors each year.

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With some of the world's most famous shops,

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-biggest stars...

-Kate Moss!

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-..and busiest stations.

-Sorry, guys, stand back for me.

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What does it take to keep it running 24 hours a day...

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It's the busiest street in the world so it needs constant attention.

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-..seven days a week?

-Oi, clear off!

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Welcome to Oxford Street. Welcome to the pickpocket team.

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Are you ready, London?

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A street that never sleeps.

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This sort of thing wouldn't happen anywhere else.

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-Today on Oxford Street...

-Yeah, go ahead.

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..there's an injured passenger...

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He's fallen down the escalator. He's in considerable pain right now.

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..and two disgruntled tourists for the police to deal with.

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Why the hell were they being charged £240?

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Hello, how are you?

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-The clean team get to grips with Friday night.

-Are we on TV?

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And can these miners stop a £1 billion project

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hitting the buffers?

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You can hear the trains coming and going every couple of minutes.

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It can be a bit frightening sometimes.

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It's early evening and Police Constable Adam Mee

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and Trainee Police Community Support Officer Lauren Grey are beginning their patrol on Oxford Street.

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They are two of the nearly 3,000 officers of the British Transport Police,

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the national police force tasked with keeping the UK's rail network safe.

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Oxford Street, with its four Tube stations and 30 million annual visitors,

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is one of the busiest and most important areas they police.

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As you can see now, it's the afternoon rush hour on Oxford Street, it's very, very busy.

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Lots and lots of people around.

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Oxford Circus is the biggest station in the UK,

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with 130 million passenger movements a year.

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For the officers that police it, rush hour can be crunch time

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and as they enter the station tonight,

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they're greeted by a sight no-one in the Underground ever wants to see.

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A closed escalator means more chance of passenger congestion

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and in this case, there's someone at the bottom.

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PCSO Lauren gets a call which sends her to the supervisor's office.

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She is not stopping to explain to Adam what the issue is.

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I have no idea what she's doing in there.

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I look like a confused idiot right now, cos she hasn't told me,

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but I'm sure we'll find out soon and all will be revealed.

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Lauren's call was about Hussein Ali.

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He was coming down the escalator on crutches

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due to an injured knee he damaged playing football,

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but he slipped and fell a long way.

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He needs medical attention and Lauren is doing her best to help.

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Can I get any painkillers of some sort?

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Will they have ibuprofen upstairs to give to him?

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I don't want to give him anything until the paramedics have seen him.

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-Do you want to explain to him?

-We're not...

-It's only because he's asking.

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On you go.

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With Adam answering the radio,

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Lauren will have to break the bad news.

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We can't get you any painkillers at the moment, only because we are not medically qualified,

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even if you're asking for them.

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That's why we've called the paramedic, then they can come down.

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Not the news he wanted to hear.

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Yeah, can I please request LAS to Oxford Circus Underground Station?

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We've got a gentleman that's fallen down the escalator about halfway,

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he's in quite considerable pain right now.

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The officers won't reopen the escalators until Hussein has been moved,

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so rush-hour passengers are squeezed into one lane.

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Well, basically what happened was I was trying to come down the escalator

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and I just fell down.

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I didn't have no balance and I was saved by a guy

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and I think I'd have broken my knee even further, I think, if it wasn't for the person.

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Thank God he saved me.

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After 20 minutes, Adam decides to go up top and look for the ambulance.

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But on the surface, he's attracted the attention

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of two flustered foreign tourists in need of help from the law.

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So, what were you meant to be paying for?

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-What were you buying?

-A gift.

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-A gift. What shop?

-Not far away.

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The two lads think a souvenir shop on the street

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has massively overcharged them for something they've bought.

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-And they told him just

-£8. £8?

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They're having a laugh, aren't they?

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-Right, we'll go have a chat with them, shall we?

-OK.

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-So what were you buying?

-All they've bought is three e-cigarettes.

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The lads up here have come to me with these receipts here.

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Apparently they were charged £8 for an item,

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but on these receipts, they're saying they've been charged £240 and £180,

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so we're going to see if we can figure out what happened

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and hopefully clear this matter up.

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Later in the programme, we'll see if these are the three most expensive e-cigarettes ever made

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and whether Hussein gets home.

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If Oxford Street is to continue competing internationally for shoppers

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with New York's Fifth Avenue and Paris's Boulevard Haussmann,

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it's got to make sure it is kept as attractive a place to shop as possible.

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A large part of that job falls to Samuel Oyema and his Westminster Council cleaning team.

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Making sure all aspects of the pavements

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and streets come up to scratch falls on their shoulders.

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If you can pick up any litter bin lorry there...

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Environmental manager Samuel and his team have got a busy shift ahead of them.

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Samuel oversees the night cleaning of the street and, as it's a Friday,

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there's going to be plenty to clean.

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Everyone all over the world knows Oxford Street is one of the busiest streets in the whole world

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and that is why that street must always be kept clean.

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Oxford Street generates between 50,000-100,000 kilos of waste every single day

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and it's Samuel and his team's job to get rid of it.

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The team have some of the most sophisticated cleaning equipment going

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to help them in their mammoth task.

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For fellow clean team member John, it is his night to work the automated sweeper.

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It can be very messy.

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A lot of people, a lot of mess.

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It's not a bad bit of kit. 26mph, excellent turning circle.

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It beats pushing a broom.

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The average time to fill up the bins is five to ten minutes.

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Within ten minutes, we will go and come back in ten minutes

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and see the bins will be overflowing.

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A key problem for the team is the waste generated by customers from fast food restaurants.

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Anywhere you see the fast food, you will always see litter around.

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By the time they've finished eating, they leave everything and move away.

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Other waste left over is even less attractive.

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If you look on the floor here, that is a urination on top of the bag.

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Further down the street

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and Samuel is witness to just the sort of careless behaviour

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that creates unnecessary work for his team.

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Did you see? Watch, watch. Watch him throwing it on the floor.

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We just have to clean it and make sure it keeps to the standard.

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Later in the programme, as the evening wears on,

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the clean team come face-to-face with the general public.

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I'm Chris Cusworth, get to know.

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British Transport Police officer Adam Mee is on his way to an Oxford Street souvenir shop.

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Two foreign tourists believe they've been charged well over the odds

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for three e-cigarettes they've bought from the store.

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Adam is shocked and has agreed to get to the bottom of things.

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Who do we need to talk to then? Who sold him the stuff?

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You're all looking very blank here. Who sold him the stuff?

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-Finally, someone steps up.

-He's the manager.

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Right, these lads here, they've apparently bought these three items here,

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they've come up to me with these receipts here for £240 and £180

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and they're only meant to cost about £8, so I'm a bit confused

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as to why they've been charged this amount of money.

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-Really?

-Yeah.

-I was not even here, so let me find out who did that.

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These are £8. Are they meant to be £8?

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-How much are they all meant to come to?

-£10.

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-£10? So why the hell were they charged £240?

-I don't know, I was not even here.

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-Oh, that one was declined, sir.

-Yeah, so here we go. This one here.

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Wait, wait, wait, one second. This is your mistake, officer.

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-Can you read this?

-What about this one here?

-Can you hold on, please?

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-What is this?

-240, yeah.

-Declined.

-OK.

-What's this?

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-Yeah, yeah, declined.

-Declined. What's this?

-OK, we see that, but...

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-So this is nothing, they are just rubbish.

-But Adam's not letting go.

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-OK, so what's this for then?

-This one, why have they charged them £140?

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-Because that is... Did you buy something else as well?

-Just read.

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Yeah, they charged him only £120. That's the price for it.

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-They told me it was

-£8. Who said £8?

-Orange shirt.

-So why have they charged you £120? They are stupid.

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The manager has an answer for everything,

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but Adam thinks a mistake has definitely been made.

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-You said they were £10 a minute ago.

-Who said that?

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-I said how much do they cost, you said £10.

-Come here, I'll show you.

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Some of them, officer, they cost £20,

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some of them cost £80, £90, £100.

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They cost different prices. They're not the same prices.

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Orange shirt, a man with orange shirt, told him £8.

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-Don't worry, I'll help them out, officer.

-You sort the money out, OK?

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The boys have clearly been overcharged,

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-but staff are now promising to sort them out.

-We spoke to the manager.

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He seems as confused as to why they have been charged that much.

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Most of the receipts had "declined" written on them,

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but there was one in there that was still 120 quid

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so hopefully the manager will sort it out.

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We'll then go back and see if this ambulance has turned up.

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And thankfully, it looks like Adam's intervention has resolved the problem above ground.

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The tourists have their money back, to no doubt spend elsewhere on Oxford Street.

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They give £100.

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-So are you happy with that, yes?

-Yeah, OK.

-Excellent!

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Take care, enjoy the rest of your time, yeah?

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-Thank you very much.

-OK.

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That's two happy customers for Adam on the street, but down below,

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Hussein and his injured leg are still waiting at the escalator.

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Later in the programme, can Adam and Lauren help him get home?

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The central part of Oxford Street is synonymous with upmarket sophistication.

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In contrast to the somewhat down-at-heel eastern end.

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Most dilapidated of all is its Tube station, Tottenham Court Road.

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Every day, it's used by tens of thousands of passengers

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who have to contend with a cramped ticket hall and crumbling infrastructure.

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Something is broken down up there.

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The ticket machines are all busted.

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The machines are breaking down cos they're refurbished rather than new.

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This is a bunker, very old, and there is no fresh air.

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At over 100 years old, it's showing its age.

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But all that's about to change with Tottenham Court Road undergoing a £1 billion redevelopment,

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including a new station, brand-new railway line called Crossrail, road system, pedestrian zone and shops.

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In the meantime, most passengers would never guess that hidden behind the tunnel walls

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is part of the biggest construction project in Europe.

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Making his way through the crowds is Alan White,

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the station upgrade tunnelling supervisor.

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It's his job to look after the excavation side of the project.

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RUMBLING

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Yes, you can hear them there. Can you hear? You can hear them working.

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Just an ordinary door separates the public from the new station.

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Once it's finished, it will have eight new escalators,

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a ticket hall six times the size of the existing one

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and a two-storey basement.

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But at the moment, it still looks like a building site.

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The whole development is due to be finished by 2018

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and the section that Alan is working on has hit a crucial phase.

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They can't move forwards until a new lift shaft for the Central Line,

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providing step-free access, has been dug.

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This is a drawing of the lift shaft.

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We've got to dig in between the two running tunnels

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and prop it as we go down.

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It might sound straightforward,

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but it's actually one of the most fiendishly difficult tasks in the entire project.

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The constrictions on space caused by the layout of the existing tunnels

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mean there is no way of digging with modern heavy plant machinery.

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To do the job, they've had to bring in a specialist team, not of builders,

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but miners, and the success of a £1 billion project now comes down

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to two men and two spades.

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We use clay spades for digging, so it is all traditional methods

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we're using here.

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Working just inches away from the existing train line on either side of them makes this job unique.

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Patrick heads up the specialist mining team brought over from Donegal in Ireland.

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Well, we can hear the trains coming and going every couple of minutes

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and if you're not used to it, it can be a bit frightening sometimes.

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The ground shakes a bit.

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It's a specialised job and most of the miners are from mining families

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where the expertise has been passed down from father to son.

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It's hard work, I've been at it since I was 18 years of age

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and I'm used to it, it's all I know, so I've made a good living from it.

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Every day, we've got to excavate about a metre and a half of muck.

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We use this, it's called an FL22. It's quite noisy, as you can hear.

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This is basically what we do for ten hours a day.

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It's their hard graft that means the project is able to stay on schedule.

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Every day, about six cubic metres of clay is dug.

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It's then winched up in a bucket...

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..poured onto a conveyor belt...

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..removed in a tipper truck...

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transferred into a skip...

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..and then craned up to the surface.

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Because it's such a big project,

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new parts of the station are opening at different times.

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There's another year to go here on the Central Line.

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But elsewhere, things are more advanced.

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This is going to be the new station concourse. Welcome to my office!

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Mick Gould is a construction manager

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working on the section of the station that's only months away from being ready.

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These are our new ticket machines that are being installed.

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They'll be linked up to the new gateline that we've got here.

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Watch the old hole in the floor there.

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As you can see, the boys are working on the escalators there.

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That's the main escalators down to the Northern Line lower concourse.

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It's looking like a building site at the moment,

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but I guarantee you in January 2015,

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you'll see a big, massive transformation.

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Back below ground at the lift shaft tunnel,

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it's time for the weary miners to head off.

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The lads have finished for the day now, they've done a good ten hours.

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They're the type of men who just love digging every day.

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They'll probably go to the pub and have a few pints now.

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Their hard work means that soon, the east end of Oxford Street

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will have a state-of-the-art underground station

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fit to last for another 100 years.

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British Transport Police Officer Adam Mee is trying to help an injured passenger.

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Hussein Ali has taken a tumble down an escalator

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in an Oxford Street Tube station.

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The London Ambulance Service is taking a large number of calls at the moment

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and with his injuries not urgent,

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Hussein's not the highest priority call for them.

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With one Oxford Circus escalator still closed,

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Adam and Lauren decide on a change of plan.

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We might get staff to assist the gentleman onto the train

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and then get someone to meet him at the other end.

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I'll talk to the staff now, see if we can sort out some sort of service for this gentleman,

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we can get him on the train and get him to his next location.

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I'm going to have to take a risk

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because honestly, I've waited for over an hour now.

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I'm getting really frustrated and I'm going to try to...

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No, no, no, no, no.

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I think I might have damaged it further now.

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And that's a bad start, but as there is definitely no ambulance,

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he's going to have to pluck up his courage and go for it,

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-and with Adam to help, he's back on his feet.

-What are we thinking?

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-I just need to get to my destination as well.

-You want to try?

-Yeah.

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OK, matey.

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You've got to go for it here, matey.

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And on this down escalator, he's getting a hand from Adam and Lauren.

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-If I get closer, do you mind holding my crutches, please?

-Yeah.

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Just do a big hop and I'll support you.

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It's going to be a long trip to Walthamstow,

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where Hussein needs to get to, the last stop on the line.

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We've got a gentleman coming in on crutches.

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Do you mind moving up one seat for us, please? Thank you.

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Don't rush it, you're all right.

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You all right? OK, matey, good luck. Let them know where you're getting off at.

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He's away and it looks like he made the right call.

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We've had an update from our control room that the ambulance still hasn't been assigned to the call

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and he was adamant that he wanted to get home.

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The staff are going to help him off the train,

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he'll hopefully get home or if he needs to go to the hospital,

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he can get himself down there in a cab.

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With Hussein safely on his way, Adam and Lauren call it a day.

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They've helped one injured man and two flustered tourists,

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but most importantly,

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they've done their bit to keep the country's busiest station and most visited shopping street moving.

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Samuel Oyema and his Westminster Council clean team are doing their best

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to keep Oxford Street clean on a busy Friday night.

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Samuel's aim is for the street to be clean and safe enough

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that people could walk down it in bare feet,

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and tonight, some people are putting this to the test.

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Hello, how are you?

0:20:040:20:05

You're walking barefoot with confidence on the street.

0:20:060:20:10

Yeah, this street is clean.

0:20:110:20:13

For John in the automated sweeper,

0:20:140:20:16

some of his biggest obstacles are members of the public.

0:20:160:20:20

They'll just jump out in front of you and stuff like that.

0:20:210:20:25

Some of them even try and flag you down,

0:20:250:20:27

thinking that you're a cab, you know.

0:20:270:20:29

You've got to be very aware.

0:20:290:20:31

-Are we on TV?

-Sorry, lads. Mind yourselves.

-What are you saying?

0:20:340:20:37

I'm Chris Cusworth, get to know. I'm from Essex, yeah?

0:20:370:20:41

You're from Essex as well, yeah?

0:20:410:20:44

As you can see, you do get some characters.

0:20:460:20:49

HE LAUGHS

0:20:510:20:52

Further down the street,

0:20:540:20:55

Samuel is putting the finishing touches to his tour of duty.

0:20:550:20:59

I'm checking around the area and I am happy. The sweeper has done his best.

0:20:590:21:04

He's got everywhere cleaned up.

0:21:040:21:07

So we'll come down here now and get all these bags off the street.

0:21:070:21:11

When we've done that,

0:21:110:21:12

you will see Oxford Street is as new as it is supposed to be.

0:21:120:21:18

We've left it in a grade-A standard.

0:21:180:21:21

-Get those bags there.

-While Samuel sweeps up the final bags,

0:21:230:21:27

John runs into an old friend.

0:21:270:21:30

It's you again, it's Joey Essex, look.

0:21:300:21:33

You all right?

0:21:340:21:36

About six o'clock in the morning.

0:21:420:21:43

I made a friend - Joey Essex.

0:21:490:21:52

Round on the other side. Get the red bags there.

0:21:550:21:59

The red rubbish bags are the waste from Oxford Street businesses

0:21:590:22:03

and all of these must be removed.

0:22:030:22:05

Dawn is beginning to break.

0:22:060:22:08

The team have worked all night and the sweepers have done their jobs.

0:22:080:22:12

Team leader Samuel can sleep safe in the knowledge

0:22:120:22:15

that the street is clean enough for people to walk on it, shoes or no shoes.

0:22:150:22:19

It's a wonderful night, I'm happy

0:22:190:22:22

so I'll give kudos to myself and the team for a job well done.

0:22:220:22:27

Thank you.

0:22:270:22:28

Being based in the West End of London,

0:22:350:22:37

it's not unusual for Oxford Street to be a place for young couples to meet, greet and celebrate.

0:22:370:22:44

And that's exactly the case tonight for one couple who got together a year ago today

0:22:440:22:49

and who have come to the street to celebrate in style.

0:22:490:22:52

Except theirs is a date with a difference.

0:22:530:22:55

For their anniversary, they've convinced Thames Water to take them down a sewer.

0:22:550:23:01

Meet Dan MacIntyre and Dunya Kalantery.

0:23:010:23:04

We hooked up around the time of the news of the fatberg,

0:23:040:23:11

that was found under Kingston upon Thames, first hitting the Metro

0:23:110:23:15

and we both became a little bit obsessed.

0:23:150:23:18

Fatbergs are massive build-ups of congealed fat

0:23:210:23:24

and other deposits so big they can block an entire sewer.

0:23:240:23:28

The one removed in Kingston the day Dan and Dunya met covered a vast area and weighed 15 tonnes.

0:23:280:23:35

The couple are hoping to see a fatberg,

0:23:350:23:37

but are worried about the smell.

0:23:370:23:39

They've been very reassuring, have Thames Water.

0:23:390:23:42

They might have been feeding us lies, but they've said that the smell isn't that overpowering and...

0:23:420:23:46

And it's been mixed with a lot of rain water

0:23:460:23:48

so it means that the rain is sitting on top of the normal sewage.

0:23:480:23:53

So they tell us.

0:23:530:23:55

It's going to be Gary and Dan's job from Thames Water

0:23:550:23:58

to take the couple down and show them the ropes.

0:23:580:24:00

But they're not just there as tour guides. They've also got work to do.

0:24:000:24:06

The Victorian sewer under Oxford Street that they're about to visit

0:24:060:24:10

had a mini-fatberg removed recently.

0:24:100:24:12

Today, they're checking if Fatty has returned.

0:24:120:24:16

I feel a little bit like I'm going to go and combat SARS.

0:24:190:24:22

Dan and Dunya are beginning to feel the love.

0:24:230:24:26

It's so romantic because it's realising this weird thing that you are into,

0:24:260:24:30

someone else is also really into it.

0:24:300:24:32

It's an amazing thing to do for an anniversary.

0:24:320:24:35

-Time to buckle up and head down.

-Just sort of edge down slowly.

0:24:370:24:42

Take it easy, yeah? Put your light on too. You're on now, yeah.

0:24:420:24:47

Kev! We're going to go down, yeah?

0:24:520:24:54

In the 1850s, over 400,000 tonnes of sewage were flushed into the River Thames each day.

0:25:000:25:07

The river was declared biologically dead

0:25:070:25:10

and the stench became overpowering.

0:25:100:25:12

In the summer of 1858, Parliament had to be suspended

0:25:130:25:17

because of the vile smell known as the Great Stink.

0:25:170:25:20

As a result, Parliament passed an enabling act

0:25:200:25:24

to raise £3 million to build a network of giant intersecting sewers,

0:25:240:25:28

pumping stations and treatment works designed by the engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette.

0:25:280:25:33

This network still forms the backbone of London's sewerage system

0:25:340:25:38

and the King's Scholar Pond Sewer they're visiting today is a key part of it.

0:25:380:25:42

When Bazalgette's network was built,

0:25:530:25:55

the capital's population was around 2.5 million.

0:25:550:25:58

He planned for population growth of up to 4 million,

0:25:580:26:02

not the 8 million plus that the system now serves.

0:26:020:26:05

It means maintenance visits like this are more crucial than ever

0:26:050:26:09

to make sure the system is still working.

0:26:090:26:11

This is a little bit of fat here.

0:26:110:26:13

Just a little bit, it's only congealed.

0:26:130:26:15

-Would you like to touch it?

-I'd love to touch it, yeah.

0:26:170:26:20

I mean, it smells sewagey, but it's not like a pure poop smell.

0:26:250:26:31

It smells really bad, really bad.

0:26:310:26:34

As they continue down the sewer,

0:26:370:26:40

things are looking good for Dan and Gary.

0:26:400:26:42

The previous clearance of the mini-fatberg seems to have worked

0:26:420:26:46

and for the moment, the sewer is flowing fine.

0:26:460:26:49

Sorry about the fat though.

0:26:490:26:51

I know you got a little bit of it,

0:26:510:26:53

but as you can see, at least we're doing our job.

0:26:530:26:55

-We do maintain it a lot.

-Yeah, yeah, exactly, no fatberg.

-Nah.

0:26:550:27:00

Time to head back to ground level.

0:27:030:27:06

The lack of a fatberg's a clear success for the Thames Water team,

0:27:060:27:10

even if it's a disappointment for the happy couple.

0:27:100:27:13

-But there's plenty more for them to celebrate.

-Yeah, that's great.

0:27:130:27:16

I tell you what, it's really nice to be in fresh air again.

0:27:160:27:19

-After being down there, yeah.

-Yeah, it's beautiful down there.

0:27:190:27:23

-It's like...

-The brickwork's lovely.

-Yeah, the brickwork's lovely.

0:27:230:27:26

Also the way it's lit, like, with everyone's torches, is really nice.

0:27:260:27:32

-It was incredibly romantic.

-Aw, that's amazing!

0:27:320:27:36

I thought the romance was up here with the shops,

0:27:360:27:38

where you take your girlfriend or your lovely one to spend a bit of money on them,

0:27:380:27:41

not to take her on an anniversary down a sewer,

0:27:410:27:43

but everyone is different, they enjoyed it, I'm happy they enjoyed it.

0:27:430:27:47

At least they know that what I do is doing a good cause to London.

0:27:470:27:51

It's keeping London flowing, no blockages.

0:27:510:27:54

You never think of Oxford Street

0:27:540:27:57

as being a place where you get good fresh air.

0:27:570:28:01

It feels mighty fresh after that.

0:28:010:28:03

-See you later. You enjoy that, yeah?

-Yeah, so much. It was great.

0:28:050:28:09

-Thank you.

-Good. See you later!

0:28:090:28:12

The only question now is what Dan and Dunya will do for their second anniversary.

0:28:140:28:18

The British Transport Police deal with an injured passenger and two disgruntled tourists.

Is this the toughest commute in Britain? Abdi runs 13 miles a day to work on Oxford Street, but will it help him realise his dream of making the British marathon team?

The clean team deal with tonnes of rubbish and the general public as they get to grips with a busy Friday night.

Can a team of Irish miners stop a £1 billion London Underground project hitting the buffers?

Dan and Dunya are celebrating their first anniversary by going down an Oxford Street sewer in search of a fatberg.