Nick Knowles and Julia Bradbury look at modern Britain. Ade Edmondson sees how a Christmas dinner makes it to the supermarket and Grainne Seoige looks into home heating costs.
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APPLAUSE Council woes, speed cameras, noisy
neighbours, That's Britain. Hidden heros and Samaritans, that
is Britain too. This is the show that explores the
madness of every day life, looking at the bad and marvelling at the
good. On tonight's show, heat or eat,
Grainne Seoige tackles the growing problem of fuel poverty.
Our insider, Ade Edmond, reveals the year-long operation that
delivers Christmas dinner. Personally I love them, that is why
I have so few friends. Angela Rippon fights to put humans back on
the other end of the phone. Name and shame, the bin cops bring
out the big guns to tackle litter louts. Sat next to the man with the
stripey jumper, can you pick up your cigarette end, please.
Let's find out what is getting stuck in your craw this week. Your
e-mails asks your gripe, the more you mail it the more it shows up on
the wall, if it shows up it means more of you have sent it.
This is what is driving you up the wall this week. You won't be happy
with that. I think with all the things to
worry about in Britain at the moment, wind turbines is the gripe.
Really, what is wrong with people. Here is one for you Julia, a lot of
people are worried about ramblers, Steve says they walk around the
countryside getting in every one's way, they go out for a moan and see
how many people they can upset. Correct me if I'm wrong, aren't you
the President of the Ramblers Association? It is not the case.
I'm very surprised it is the truth most people are moany. Walking is
proved to be very good for you, your emotional and mental well
being. Most people don't get enough exercise, the we help people get
out there. They are not complaining about rambling, but ramblers.
People want the whole countryside to themselves. Are they talking
about ramblers and their manners when they put it up there. We have
an e-mail that asks what has happened to please and thank you
and holding the door open for other people to pass through. In my
experience it is young women who appear to be the worst offenders s
that true? I'm not sure it is young women, there is a general feeling
that manners have slipped away. manners are a growing menace a208
survey showed -- a 2008 survey, showed most of us think it is the
biggest problem facing society. auntie said manners make the man.
It is something you can do easily, being kind to somebody, it is an
easy way of improving things. think if you respect young people
they respect you back. One topic we have seen on the word wall is cold
calling. According it a recent survey, three quarters of us want
it banned. We hit the streets of Manchester to find out why. I say
no thank you and put the phone down as quick as I can. Cold calling is
definitely out. It is a no-go. are only doing their job, you know
they will be sat in a call centre being paid nothing to do it, it is
just the annoying thing is they have some how got my details.
to be polite as much as I K asay don't call me -- I say don't call
me again. It is massive intrusion people passing on my number and not
telling me, and God only knows who has my number. You may not know
this, on average we get six cold call as month. I probably. Do you
can stop those calls with a scheme called the telephone preference
service, which blocked UK-based cold calls. This is interesting,
you could make a note of it, you can register your phone number with
the scheme, it takes about 28 days to take effect. If you still get
cold called after, that the company's actually breaking the law.
Make a note of their details and you can report them. All the info
you need is on the website. We are going to update the wall
later in the show. Tonight we are giving it faesive theme. It play be
a time of -- festive theme, it maybe a time of good will to all
men. Let's face it, there are some things about Christmas that make us
ba-humbug? I love Chris marks and there are things in the office --
Christmas, and there are things that people don't like. The
Christmas ad, inlaws. Not so sure? Your inlaws? No, laugh you. Please
put your gripe in the title of the e-mail, it won't make it on to the
wall. Keep the Christmas grumbles coming in by going to the website
below. Of course, you can join in with
everything else that we are talking about by tweeting us at BBC That's
Britain, or going to the Facebook page as well.
Ade Edmond's our insider, he has been slipping inside the system
that keeps Britain ticking to see how it works. Ade where have you
been rooting and rumaging. As you know I like slipping inside the
system. You're a bit younger than me, I know people will find that
hard to believe. I can remember a time when you go to the supermarket
and it would actually have run out of things. You would have empty
shelves, especially around Christmas. I'm a man who likes his
food, I don't like taking chance, I went to see how the supermarkets
make sure we get all the sprouts we need on Christmas day.
Chris marks my favourite time of year, the -- -- Christmas, my
favourite time of year, the Queen, Christmas puddings, but why does
everyone want to do their Christmas shopping at the same time as me.
Come on, out the way. Yes, it is the busiest time of year
in the supermarket. Last December we spent nearly �3 billion a week
on food. In the old days you would need to
shop well in advance, but with so much stack raeing stacking you can
now leave -- stacking and restacking you can now leave it
until Christmas Eve. How do the elves make sure you can do that.
The story starts here at a gigantic warehouse in Essex, the size of
four football pitches. In the week before Christmas, their depots
handle more than nine million cases. I'm going behind the scenes to
witness this extraordinary challenge. This is the place why
your turkey, your cranberries, your Brussels and potatoes meet up for
the very first time before ending up on your plate. Hello Brussels,
hello turkey, looking forward to the big day? Not really, no, my
performance last year was a bit dry. At least you get to eat, all the
kids left me on the side of the plate.
For supermarket strategists like Kate, this is where the year begins
as well as ends. How do you go about forecasting how
much stuff you need? We have already started for next Christmas.
We plan at least a year in advance. We will use this year's Christmas
volumes as a guide, we look Atticus tomorrow mer food trends, what --
we look at customer needs. How many Brussels proudzsprouts will you
sell? We will sell 520 tonnes of Brussels sprouts. Potatos? Turkeys?
176,000 fresh and frozen British turkeys. That is a lot of food.
What gets ordered by the supermarket first? Brussels sprouts,
the vegtable that de divides the nation, personally I love them,
that is probably why I have so few friends. During the Christmas
period we eat 300 million of them. No wonder we are having trouble
with greenhouse emissions! Like most of your Christmas dinner,
produce the sprout is an incredible technological feat. It is like an
army of sprouts. Farmer, George Reid sells almost a
third of his entire sprout crop in the fortnight before Christmas,
which means a fair bit of planning. Because the lazy old sprout takes
ten months to grow. These are already seeded for next year. These
we planted in the spring. Do you have dangers within the growing of
them, where you can get failure, and our Christmas could be ruined?
As long as we don't get a really bad freeze up, like we did last
winter with minus tens and snow, as long as we don't get that again, we
should have a good Christmas run for sprouts.
Now supermarkets also need to spot new food trends. Can breeze.
Canbury sauce may seem as British as Queen Vicoria, but it is
actually from North America. We still get most of our's from there
today. But ironically, it was Queen Vicoria who popularised the side
dish to go with it. Turkey.
We eat an astonishing ten million turkeys every Christmas day. Not
each, obviously. Although actually, by the time Great Escape comes on
the tele, it often feels that way. Turkeys take only four to five
months to grow, nearly twice as fast as a sprout. They hatch around
the end of July. The fresh ones will only arrive in store a few
days before Christmas. Right now, I'm going to have to make do with a
duck. That's everything ordered, let's
fast forward to the fortnight before Christmas. Normally when you
think of people picking vegtables, you expect human beings in the
field, chopping things down by hand. Here they have an extraordinary
machine. This is the sharp end of sprout
harvesting technology. The four people sitting on the back guide
these fiercesome looking blades with their feet, and feed the
stalks into the machine. Amazingly it take as photograph of every
single sprout to weed out any bad ones. So, I have my sprouts, my
turkey, can breeze, hang on, I have forgotten -- cranberries, I have
forgotten something, potatoes, stupid potatoes. Potatoes are
amongst the earliest of the Christmas vegtables to be harvested.
Huge steel monsters spit out a precise quantity with the pact
packets -- packets with the supermarket logo on it. These spudz
were grown in Cambridgeshire. It is now dash to get to the warehouse in
Essex. Our supermarket takes delivery of 56,000 orders in three
weeks. We're about two weeks after the
Christmas week, does it just go mad? It goes absolutely crazy.
if they haven't got enough stock, this entire process, from
harvesting, to depot, to supermarket shelf, can be managed
in as little as three days. That is just as well, as the shops
won't know if they got the predictions right until Christmas
week itself. So remember, the next time you leave your Christmas food
shop to the last minute, loads of people have been working for nearly
a whole year to make sure you have a brilliant Christmas dinner. Hang
on, I don't think I have enough sprouts, back up, back up. Happy
Christmas, peace and good will to all men, blah blah blah.
Some of that was strange and amazing, you don't think about it.
The most amazing thing was the sprout machine, it costs �200,000.
I want one dad! You don't want one. It is incredible they photograph
every sprout, what happens to all of the vegtables that doesn't pass
the beauty contest. At the farm I went to, the food chain ends up in
the digester, which makes electricity, sprouts, methane,
power, it all makes sense. happy the methane is happening
there and not around the tree or the table. What happens to the poor
bits of vegtables that aren't good enough to become electricity.
two are very sad. There are sad vegtables out there, there is this
unbelievable fact, I had this rechecked, I couldn't believe it,
280 kilos per person, per year, of fresh food and fruit and vegtable
goes to waste before it gets to the shop. I couldn't eat that a year.
Are they ploughed back into the land. Thrown into landfill.
Especially when you think about so many people struggling to make ends
meet. There is a charity called Fairshare that did 8.6 million
meals last year from food that was thrown away by shops. How many?
kilos per person. Imagine the number of people around the world
you could feed if you could get that food to them. Stay with us, we
have one more bit of judging we would like you to do. It is not
sprouts or funny-shaped vegtables. No, we asked you to send in the
most confusing signs in Britain. This is the rogue's GALry, spot why
This is the rogue's GALry, spot why There is fantastic ones there.
like the secret nuclear bunker, this way!
Ade we are going to give you the honour of picking the winner.
I have picked a winner and runner- up. Trust you. That is the one
outside Swindon, the one called the Magic Roundabout, I tour a lot, the
driver of my tour bus says whenever we approach this, he says, it is so
confusing you put your foot down and hope for the best. That is why
when I play Swindon I take a spare pair of underpants.
The winner, I'm going to have press you. There can only be one winner,
it is this one. My hope is it is an international
border and on one country they go on the left and the other on the
right. Nominated by Brenda Hider, taken on holiday in Scotland.
Congratulations, Ade will send the trophy to you. All the authorities
responsible for the signs, please don't ever fix them or take them
down, the world would be a much duller place without them. Thank
you to Ade Edmondson, our judge and insider.
When was the last time you tried to book a ticket or speak to bank and
as a human being, and then a human being answered the phone to you. It
seems the rise of the machine sun stoppable. One person who thinks so
is Angela Rippon, she's leading the fightback.
I really do love going to the cinema, you have the widescreen,
the comfy seats, great performances and movies, I love the whole
experience. Apart from one thing. This is what happens when I ring
for a ticket. Welcome to cinema line. A computer,
it will cost me 10p every minute I'm on the phone. Which cinema line
are you calling from. London? Please be more specific.
Kensington? Did you say Manchester. I said Kensington? Did you mean,
Kensington. Yes, I z I said Kensington. You are through to the
cinema in Kensington. There are 19 films currently showing. 19 films,
currently showing. Please choose from the following films. Tinker,
Taylor Soldier Spy. That will do. Did you mean the film Berlin fill
harmonica Live. I don't think I said anything like, that said
Tinker, Taylor Soldier Spy. I don't think in my entire career I have
been known for speaking anything but clearly. I want to speak to a
human being. How do you feel about t do you get upset with the
automated telephone lines. 80% of cinema chains have replaced old
fashioned humans with computers. The idea is, there is no queue, and
you can book your ticket at any time. Last year we bought a 169
million cinema tickets. They claim it is a win-win situation. Is it
really. The Broadway Cinema in Hertfordshire have agreed to turn
back the clock for a day, and make ticket booking a human activity, to
see if it works. I have volunteered to take on the job. Hi Oliver. I'm
ready for work. After a quick lesson on the
computer and the booking system. Do I click on to that before I click
on to that. Hello Broadway Cinemas Angela speaking. We have Crazy
Stupid Love. The Dead. Hello, Broadway Cinema.
Getting the hang of this! A satisfied customer, just proving
what I said, somebody there who would, Emma, who would much rather
talk to a person rather than a machine, one up to me. As well as
manning the phone lines, I got a chance to quiz people buying or
collecting tickets over the counter. 11 tickets for the kids' club.
When? On Saturday. New career? Absolutely, yes. Would you prefer
to book the tickets on the telephone or the computer? Why is
that? For the personal service. don't get that from a computer.
Tinker, Soldier Sailor Spy. Why are you doing this. Can I ask you a
question, when you book on the telephone, would you rather have a
human being on the end. I would want you on the end. A human being.
Which do you prefer? Human being. Every time? Yes. If it meant you
had to pay a little bit more to talk to a person? No, I like
talking to somebody. Enjoy the film, you brought your own cushion I see!
Having sold sold them their tickets and get them seated. It is time to
finish off with a refreshment run. I don't care if I look smug,
because I told you so. Not one single person that I spoke to,
either on the telephone, or who came to the desk said they wanted
an automated telephone system. Several of them even said they
wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for the cinema ticket if it meant
they could talk to a human rather than a computer. As far as I'm
concerned, I rest my case. Here to make her case in person,
please welcome the wonderful, Angela Rippon. What makes you think,
in this current day and age, where people are so strapped for cash,
they will pay an extra 50p just to have someone on the end of the
line? That is such a spurious argument from the cinema companies.
We already, if you go on the telephone, you can be on the phone
for at least three if not four minutes by the time they repeat
everything time after time, you are already paying 30p, 40p, then they
charge you a booking fee and for using your credit card, you are
already paying more than 50p as a premium to do it on the telephone.
It is a stupid excuse for doing that. It really is. I have to say
that 50p, we asked somebody to research it for us and come up with
how much it would cost on top, your theory is we shouldn't be paying it
at all? They can more than afford T the three major cinema companies in
this country make in excess of �automillion profit each every
single year. They -- �50 million profit each every single year. They
can afford to put someone on there. It is banks and utilities, they all
do it. Does it matter? I think it does. If you talk to people and ask
them their two biggest gripes as consumers, top of the list is poor
customer service, and those multichoice telephone systems. If
you go toson some of the very large retail stores, you will find they
don't do this. You phone and you have a person who answers your
query immediately. And then puts you through to another human being,
and if you look what we had today the unploilt figures, why should
you replace -- unemployment figures y should you replace a human being
with a machine, why should they do it. We will find out if the public
agree with you at the end of the show.
Angela Rippon everybody! Very strong argument, Angela says
bringing people back to cinema booking lines would bring back the
personal touch and get people back into jobs as well. The cinemas
should pick up the cost. Tonight we The results later on.
Are you too frightened to put on your heating because of the bill
you might get? Well you are not alone. There are 6.5 million
households in Britain, who are running scared of their fuel bills.
Over the last year the average annual household energy bill rose
by a gob smacking �230. Is there an end in sight to the higher bills.
We sent Grainne Seoige, to find out more about this heated debate. Our
household energy bills have gone up 50% in three years, and profits for
the energy companies have gone up 35%. Last year they made profits of
�8.5 billion. All why we pay record prices to heat and run our homes.
My current energy bill is high, it was roughly in the region of about
�400 a quarter, it has been pushed up to nearly �600. Try to keep the
heating bills down by wearing lots of layers. �100 a month.
The economic crisis has led to the biggest squeeze on family budgets
since the 1950, and to top it off, the big six energy companies are
putting up fuel prices by up to 18%. Some of these higher bills are
already landing on our doormats. One of the hardest hit places in
the UK is Wales. 40% of households here are now in fuel poverty.
That means that a household spends more than 10% of its income on
energy bills. Over 500,000 families are affected in Wales alone.
Where better to come than Power Street in South Wales, to see if
residents have to turn their power down as the energy prices go up. Mr
and Mrs Tanner are both retired and have an energy bill of �848 a year.
Keeping their home warm is a growing concern. With everything
going up in the air with the prices, it gets harder every year. We don't
put the heating on in the morning any more, we are frightened what
sort of bill will come in. Tanners are fuel poor, spending 20%
of their income on their monthly energy bills. The Jarvis family up
the road face an estimated annual bill of �2,600, they are teetering
on the edge of fuel poverty, and are now turning appliances off
every day to save money. You can be sat here some nights without
heating on. The girls go to bed, as soon as they are in bed and wrapped
up, we sit here and leave the heating off. The family are on a
pre-pay metre, and they chose this because they couldn't make head nor
tail of the tarrifs on offer. give have the figures and the
standing charges, it is not explained properly what you are
paying for. The Tanners are equally baffled? I couldn't understand it,
all the different tarrifs and different things, it is not simple
to understand. Perhaps the Jarviss and the Tanners
have God reason to be confused. There are currently 400 tarrifs on
the market. We took people's concerns about the prices and
tarrifs to the industry body, Energy UK. 400 tarrifs, why isn't
it simple letter? Companies are really listening -- Simpler?
Companies are listening to customer about the choices, and if there is
something they can do to help customers choose the right one.
There are large and small companies, each one offering a different type
of tarrif, depending on what you want to pay, by cheque or on-line.
Then, of course, the country is divided into different region,
there might be a different price depending on the network charges.
It seems the energy industry and their customers agree there is a
multitude of choice, but Consumer Focus is worried that the
combination of high prices and options is putting the squeeze on
customers from both directions. average bill is �1300 per household,
up 20% from last year. No surprise that energy companies think by
proliferation and complexity of tarrifs they can bamboozle you and
it is impossible for people to sort out the best deal for themselves.
That is a poor state of affairs. there anything to help customers
steer a course through this minefield. I have asked Mark today
from the Energy Helpline to come and give the Tanners and the
Jarviss some advice. What is the bill looking like at
What is the bill looking like at the moment? At the moment you are
spending to �868 a year, you could get it down by �11 pounds by
switching to a different tarrif. How can you find out about it?
need to use an independent comparison service, they are often
on the Internet, but also you can find them over the phone, and an
operator would talk you through the different deals on offer and tell
you about the cheapest tarrifs. the Tanners have learned how to
save themselves nearly �200. What about the Jarviss and their �2,600
on their bill? You are spending a lot of money, �50 a week, that is a
big old bill. You can save money, that is the good news. The way you
really save money is to change your metre, change it from a prepayment
metre to a credit metre, that will allow you to go on a monthly direct
debit tarrif, once you are on a credit metre, you can switch to the
cheapest deals on the market, that could save you �500 off your bill
in total. That is a lot of money. �500 a year, definitely looking
into that. It turns out that the prepay metre can be one of the most
expensive ways of getting your household energy. On Mark today's
recommendation, the jar -- Todd's recommendation the family could cut
their bill by 25%. We have one of the most competitive
markets in the world. If you look at the statistics right across
Europe, we have the cheapest gas price of all the leading countries
in western Europe, and one of the cheapest prices for electricity.
There is a lot of competition out there, we would say make sure you
are benefiting from that. That sounds like let the buyer beware,
it is not cutting any ice with Consumer Focus? It is the single
most important consumer issue in Britain today. We have a closed
market, six suppliers dominating the industry, 99% of all households,
there is no threat that any big brute will come behind them and
take their market share away. While they don't have that threat of new
entry, they will behave as they have for years. A lazy, complacent
way, that assumes consumers will stay with them and pay whatever
they are charged. Powerful stuff. We have got the
Secretary of State for Energy, Chris Huhne MP, Luciana is living
in fuel poverty, paying 20% of her household income on fuel. What does
that mean, what choices will you have to make this Christmas?
means cancelling Christmas all together. Having to prioritise
paying my fuel bills first. I cannot count for a specific budget
to contribute towards Christmas, whether it is the cheapest toys on
the market, or Christmas cards to my friends. I can't even afford my
food bill, at the moment. Because of certain cuts, the �15 less a
week we are getting from housing allowances. But essentially the
fuel costs are weighing down on you very heavily, and affecting
everything else? Because they have increased so highly, compared to
the last few years, I was paying �40 including both dual fuel, and
now it is �1267 a month. Is this an -- �127 a month. Is this an
acceptable thing in the 21st century, a young mum struggling to
keep the house warm and having to cancel Christmas? It is a real
problem we have had this massive increase facing many people this
year. 38% increase in the world gas prices, because of events in the
Middle East, because of the Japanese nuclear disaster,
increased in demand for gas in the far east, this is coming through
into our own gas prices and into our electricity prices, because a
very large part of our electricity comes from gas. There is a big
problem there. What we can try to do to help in the short run is get
people to check, insulate, save, and the two examples that were
given there. I don't know whether you have had an opportunity to talk
to somebody from citizens advice bureau, about how you might be able
to save. But the two examples you gave in the film were very
substantial. You are not on a prepaid metre, and paying by direct
debit and you are still in fuel poverty, let's concentrate on the
profits? She hasn't taken all the steps. Energy prices in the world
have gone up, the point is that the energy companies are making �8.5
billion, how do you deal with that, where is the responsibility for
you? The most important thing can I do about the energy companies is to
make sure that people like Luciana are shopping around to get the best
possible deal. If we get, and you can go on to direct debit, that is
fine. Ofgem, the independent regulator calculated the sort of
savings that you showed on the film are typical. It is not working for
everyone? Have you tried to shop around? I have shopped around, and
I have gone on to the Internet, gone on to the calculator, and I am
on the best deal I can be. I have swapped two years ago from one
company to another. Are you looked this winter. Because they all
announced their tarrif increases now. They are fixes them for the
winter, this is a very good time to compare, and Ofgem says, people can
save �200 a year. What are you going to do, if people take every
measure they can, what will you be doing? We are simplifying bills, we
want to make it a lot easier for people to make that comparison. We
want much more competition in the market. We have already introduced
safeguards for consumers. For example, we are not allowing the
companies any more to do what they used to do, which is to put the
prices up and tell you. If they put the prices up they have to tell you
first, give you 30 days notice. If you decide to switch, they have to
do that within three weeks. We want to encourage more people to switch
and make it easier to do so. And we are getting tough through Ofgem,
the regulator, with any mis-selling through the companies. There have
been big fines for some companies for bad behaviour. You want to
eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, have you lost control of the
situation now, what are you doing for Luciana today, for Christmas.
Fuel poverty is on the up, it is increasing? The two key things you
can do right now, Luciana and anybody else in this position, one
is check you are on the cheapest tarrif right now. I have done and I
am. You said you changed two years ago. I keep on checking. The other
thing is your company will almost certainly, your energy company will
almost certainly have a deal on special insulation deal which will
help reduce your bill all together, by about �100 a year, simply
because of what they are offering in terms of cheap insulation. That
is short run, next year we have a major new programme coming in
called Green Deal, that will give real energy savings to people, and
businesses will come in, fit up your house, get your energy bill
down, and you will pay for that out of the saving on the energy bill.
That is one year down the line, what about now. This year we are
getting tough with the companies. Let Luciana have a final say? Are
you convinced and what about the �8.5 billion profit? You know when
you mentioned the companies are paying more money, wholesale prices
for the fuel. They are counting for an increase of 23% for electricity
and 40% for gas. On the figures it is still making a huge amount of
profit, when they increase their taxes or not and find them, they
will find a way of making consumers pay for that. We will have to leave
it there. Make sure it is a really competitive market, make sure they
have to fight for every penny. If it is a competitive market and they
are making money that is fair enough. We will see what impact the
recent fuel price increases have on poverty in the future. Thank you
very much for both of you. Now, from the burning debate about
fuel prices to something a touch lighter, earlier Angela asked if
you would pay 50p more per ticket if it meant speaking to a real
person at the cinema, we will tell you how you voted. The vote is
closed now, don't vote any mo, you will be charged but the vote won't
count. Full terms and conditions will be found on the website.
It is time for a quick round up of the news around That's Britain,
with your host, Nick Knowles. Hello, welcome, just time for a
couple of the top stories, one man unconcerned about the rise in
energy bills, has put up so many Christmas lights in his home he
can't boil a Celt. Mr Skinner has put up 200 light displays inside
and outside his home, inspired by the Blackpool Illumination, once
they are switched on there is no juice left for hot water and
anything else except the TV. You can't visit the house any more
because of stringent health and safety rules. If you hate the fact
that council officials can now hand out fixed penalty notices, like our
bin cops, and I do, worry no more. A Conservative MP has plan, Tory MP,
Jacob Rees-Mogg, last week called for all council officials with the
power to hand out fines to wear a distinctive uniform like this, it
is a bowler hat. Mr Rees-Mogg reckons if council officials wear
bowler hats, people can see them coming and people can Scarper
without getting a ticket. If you are wondering what constituency Mr
Rees-Mogg represents? It is the 1950s. That is the news from around
Britain. That might not work for the bin
cops, but they have a new weapon at the disposal, it is this, you over
there, man in the tweed, stop smoking, pick up your butts, pick
up your butts? That is the last thing we need is a rambler with a
megaphone. That has made my Christmas. It works for us, but
will it work on the streets of Britain?
Environmental enforcement officer has a new deputy, Becky Williams,
before they hit the streets some pointers. With a cigarette it has
five mints before going into the bin or on to the floor.
challenge, and it is making a difference to the town and
community. Quite excited actually. It is time to get moving. This
street, just scan people, get your eyes going up and down, checking
people pltd. Now the real thing, they are passed by a smoker,
issuing a ticket here can be straight forward. Pick your pace up
a bit. It should be on the deck. Where did that go. Craig misses the
drop. Even I missed that one. the impression he wanted to give
his new deputy. Unfortunately she won't be getting a ticket for that
one. He put his cigarette butt into the bin, hasn't he.
Bit of a shame, there we go. But it is not long before another smoker
is in sight. Excuse me. I'm an enforcement officer with the
council, that cigarette butt you threw there, that is littering, it
is an offence, this is a fixed penalty. The fine is �80, reduced
to �50 if it is paid within ten days, all right then, cheers, thank
you very much. Another infringement punished. How did the new deputy
did. It was a good spot, coming along, walking up the high street,
Becky has seen the gentleman coming towards us spoking. Again, just
using her observation skills. I had already seen him as well. So it was
a nice spot, backed up, witnessed by two officers, always good. It
makes stronger evidence if it is ever contested in court. Another
culprit caught and the start of a successful crime-busting
partnership. Cot gentleman on the Bevan who
dropped his cigarette butt take it up. The gentleman in the brown
jacket pick it up. They can see the ban, they know the
cameras are rotating and we are watching people. It is the, oh God,
they are here again, we have to behave ourselves. The van has a
fully rotating and zoomable camera mounted on the roof, with more
cameras on the side and back. Giving a 360 view of potential
offenders. For this operation, Paul has a new partner. I'm the voice on
the microphone. It is all about education, that is my role. It is
to just try to remind people to think, and to try to keep the city
tidy, it is as simple as that. should be the peak time for
activity, this is when all the office staff are coming out for the
dinner breaks. Sloppy eater any way, the moment of
madness, she's listening to her mobile phone conversation whilst
having the fag, guaranteed the brain isn't engaged. The cigarette
is more than likely going on the floor. No it didn't, she has seen
the bin. Most people seem to be getting the message. Good lad.
He stuck it out to the bin, credit to him, he has used it properly.
Now we will watch his girlfriend. No, she has gone for the bin, good
girl. I don't suppose it take as genius to know that the camera is
pointing at you. Eventhough the van is only a few feet away, these two
smokers seem totally oblivious. think there is a good likelihood
this guy will throw his cigarette butt on the floor. He's having a
nice pleasant chat with his mate, he's not really thinking about what
he's doing, he a's having a quiet fag and he won't think anything
about dropping a cigarette butt on the floor. He just dropped it, Anne.
Could the gentleman in the black jacket that has dropped the
cigarette end pick it up, please put it in the bin. Tell him who it
is, next to the guy with the hat on. Sat next to the guy with the striep
striped jumper, pick up the cigarette end please. He has done
what we asked him to do. He will have a good gripe out of it, have
the council got nothing better to do. At least the message has gone
out to him and other people that we are watching, and we will tell
people when they are acting inappropriately.
My idea of a perfect day, a van with a loud speaker. Last week a
Henley Business School study showed three quarters of us believed that
customer service in Britain is at its worst ever. We don't have to
sit back and look at advise, here to show us is our expert, Jasper
Griegson. Since Jasper came on the show last week we have been
inundated with requests for his help. Here is the first problem
from Joseph McCleary in -- Shaun McAleer? In August 2010 I bought a
brand new car from a main dealer. Soon after purchase the car
developed transmission problem, I have sense spent over 12 months in
dispute with the dealer and manufacturer over this fault. Some
work has been carried out under warantee, however the fault still
remains. At one point I was even advised to stop driving the car,
then the dealer and manufacturer changed their minds, and refuse to
co-operate with me any further, and are insisting the car is OK. Can
you help me out here, I don't know what more can I possibly do to get
my car repaired under warranty, and both the dealer and manufacturer
are refusing to co-operate with me. He doesn't know what else to do,
two parts of the same company shifting responsibility on to one
another, he has to get their attention? It is a brand new car,
the bickering between them is not his problem. It is their's. He has
to grab their intention, I'm a great believer of handing over the
hot potato to the company. In this case, I would send the piece of
equipment to the company concerned, the clutch, I'm not a mechanic, and
a few other bits to somebody else in the organisation. Why will that
work? If you get it through to somebody at the top of the
organisation, they will treat the complaint a bit differently. Who to
write to and how to find the name, go to the website, the boring bit
that gives the name to the directors, and ring up head office
and ask. They will say we can't tell you or reveal that information.
They can. Next up we have another problem to
solve with somebody in the audience, Sandra Pickett come up here.
What is your problem? Our local council are asking our children to
walk down a very unsafe route. is a different thing, dealing with
a company or companies, dealing with councils, we feel more
frightened taking on those bodies? We shouldn't be afraid, it is not a
commercial issue. You have to employ a bit of cunning, write to
somebody senior at the council, get the council leader involved, write
to maybe the person in charge of the department for transport. Get
your MP involved. This sounds to me more like a campaign than complaint,
you have to adopt a multiapproach to the problem, it is not just one
single strand. Your main concern is the safety element, it is not the
walking it is the fact that your son and other children are talking
on an unsafe route. What will you do? Also enlist the help of third
parties, get the police involved if you can. Health and Safety
Executive, get other people to buy into the idea that children's
safety is there. How will you tweak them and pull on their heartstrings.
One thing I have done is send them a drawing, by your children, pluck
on their heartstrings a bit. I have tried that with great effect. It
can work. You have got your children to do this. I have when
they are younger. Get the crayons out at home.
We always say Christmas is the time to help others, does it make us
more generous of spirit or too busy to lend a hand. Stanley Johnson has
been to Bradford to recruit some secret Santas.
This week I'm in Bradford, home of the reindeer Christmas parade, also
home to Santa's grotto, where every year children flock to meet Father
Christmas. But little do this group of local school kids and their
parents know, there is a problem. That's right, Father Christmas is
running late, rumour has it he has overdone the mince pies, I
personally blame his penchant for sherry. Our act stress's first
challenge is to ask -- actress's first challenge is to ask complete
strangers to dress up as Santas and wave to the kids. I will be
watching the action from behind the Chrimbo tree. Have you got one
minute? I haven't I have to go to work. Please will you stick the hat
and the beard on. There is the tiny little kids. Please. The kids have
now been waiting for over 15 minutes, Jennifer tries a new
tactic, getting the partners on side first. Excuse me I literally
need someone to put on a hat and a beard to wave at the kids, I have
the mums eyeballing me. Come on John. We are getting a shake of the
head. You have to go like that. finally got our first Santa,
reluctant John. Well done Jennifer. I'm really
sorry, I know you didn't really want to do this. He's looking good
in the Santa outfit a few more mince pies and he could pass for
the real thing. Can you do a ho ho ho. Go on, do it. Ho ho ho. Don't
laugh after it, do it again. Ho ho ho. And give a wave. After the
quick Santa lesson, it is time to meet the kids. Say hello Santa.
Merry Christmas. The kids are ecstatic, he's really convincing
him. Back in a minute kids. Success, and it wasn't just John happy to ho
ho ho, Tom, Glenn, Ben and Stuart went for it too. Give me a ho ho ho.
Jool ho ho ho. Who is ready for Christmas! Can't hear you? And now
we want our tree tend Santa to fill -- our pretend Santa to fill in for
the late Santa and meet the kids in the grat toe. Can you speak to one
kid? Just one. Can you go ho ho ho. A lot of them have already been in.
I can't do this. You can, pleats, please, please. I'm going now.
not going ahead with this. I have done my bit now, you said just wave
and I did. It was all a bit much for Santa John, but Santa Ben is
one round. See, look they believe you. Just one. One child. He stays
put for the kids. You might say she has her claws
into Santa. That's it, the first child and parent is going in.
Christmas little boy, what is your name? Rhys, have you been a good
boy this year.'S Doing a first rate job. I think you deserve a little
present as well. Thank you Santa. He's playing the
role well, and this kid believes he's met the real Santa. Will our
Santa agree to see more than one child? Two, three, four, that's
five, amazingly, our other three Santas, also played the role for
more than 20 minutes. What's your name? Hello, I'm Santa. Do you want
a surprise. Can we do that. What would you like me to bring you
Christmas Eve. Until the whole class got to see Santa. Well, the
kids are happy, Santa has come to town well and truly several times,
Christmas wishes have been granted. Stanley's here with one of his
stand-in Santas. Stuart why did you decide to join in? After I realised
it weren't a joke, I thought why not step in and make somebody happy.
I reckon, not only with this film, you have proven that Britain is a
great and warm and cuddly and helpful place to be? It really is
so, particularly up north. That is where we have been, I want to move
up north. Is there a chance that have? I had four years in Oxford, a
bit further north now. I don't think Oxford is up north! People
will band together and help each other out in extremes? As far as
I'm concerned this has been the most uplifting experience I have
had for a long, long time. I'm very pleased. Ladies and gentlemen,
let's hear it for Stanley and Santa Stuart!
These days when the cashpoint says there are insufficient funds
available, you don't know if it is you or the bank itself. Who keeps
the cash in the machines and our pockets, time to meet another
hidden hero! Ron moves van loads of cash around Britain daily. My job
is to make sure that ATMs are supplied with cash. Millions upon
millions go out of here every week, keeping ATMs in the London area
supplied. Ron's staff, not identified to protect them from
possible kidnap or violence, start by sorting the money and preparing
it for delivering. We process all the �10, �20 and importantly, the
�5 notes in the ATM, they are loaded into cassettes and secure
vans and taken off to be put into the ATMs. Three quarters of a
billion pounds are on the roads every day. Without it, Britain's
economy would grind to a halt. When vans leave the warehouse on a cash
run, Ron's first priority is the security of his staff. We have to
protect our staff and the cash that our staff carry for us. Our people
here in the control room can see that van, they can track it all the
time. They can detect any threat to the van whatsoever. It is while
dropping off cash to ATMs that his security team are at their most
vulnerable. It is one of Britain's most dangerous jobs, with 15
attacks every week. Today everything runs smoothly and
the British public can continue to get access to their money. Some
people would say working in hospitals vital, some people would
say working in the fire brigade is vital, I see the service we provide
as being as vital as any of those public services. It gives me,
personally, a huge boost, to get up every morning, knowing I'm doing
something important. That is what keeps me going.
Earlier we asked whether or not you would be willing to pay an extra
50p for your cinema ticket if it meant you could speak to a human
being while buying it. Do you think you pulled it off? It will be
interesting to see what people think. It is a smoke screen to say
we will charge you an extra 50p, they charge you for going on the
telephone and doing your thing. If the people I spoke to at their
lovely cinema are anything to go by, people would rather have a human
being than machine. Let's see if the great British public agree?
Well done. You know I actually said I will eat my hat, I will have to
eat that bowler hat. Thank you very much. It is official the majority
who voted would be prepared to pay an extra 50p to have someone to
talk to. You couldn't have expected that? I'm afraid I did, because I
know that the thing that really annoys people and makes them think
they are not getting good customer service, is they get a wretched
machine rather than a human being and can get an answer who can deal
with their query and question in a matter of seconds, rather than
being minutes on a telephone. you to everyone who voted and
thanks so much to the lovely Angela Rippon.
Quickly, we will have a quick look at the change and see the quiz.
Let's have a look and see what is the change, wind turbines, what is
the matter with people. Still not festive. A couple of people have
complained, kids, interestingly enough, the average person has told
off their child by 11.07 on Christmas day. Sprouts and
Christmas shopping. That is it for night, and the series, thanks to
Warm-hearted studio show about the things in modern life that drive Britain up the wall - from queues to fuel costs, and from airport check-ins to fly tipping. Presented by Nick Knowles and Julia Bradbury, the show reveals how Britain works and attempts to make life a little more bearable for everyone in the UK - or at least have fun trying...
In the final episode, Grainne Seoige looks into the price we pay to heat our homes, Ade Edmondson gets inside a supermarket to see how they get our Christmas dinner onto the shelves, Angela Rippon tries to bring back the human touch to cinema booking phone lines and Stanley Johnson tries to persuade the public to become stand-in Santas with a hidden camera sting. We also try to find the most confusing road signs in Britain and celebrate another hidden hero doing a job that keeps the country ticking.