Episode 8 Call the Council


Episode 8

Council officers try to wipe Wigan clean of graffiti, help residents compete at the Tatton Park Flower Show and give young people a chance to win coveted paid placements.


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Transcript


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From rubbish and recycling...

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..to potholes and pavements...

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Another street down. Another street to go.

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..educating our children...

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-SHE EXHALES

-Fantastic.

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..and caring for the elderly...

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It does make a difference when you see what can be achieved.

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..we rely on our local councils to provide a huge range of services.

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You may kiss the bride.

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APPLAUSE

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In this series, we follow front-line staff

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working for Wigan Council in Greater Manchester.

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-SHE BANGS GAVEL

-Ooh, sorry.

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Like council officers across the country,

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-they're protecting us from hidden dangers...

-Oh, dear.

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..stepping in when there's an emergency...

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You never know what you're turning up to.

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-Thank you very much.

-..and responding to residents...

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-Thanks for everything.

-..when they...

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PHONE RINGS ..call the council.

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Coming up...

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..council officers search rotting waste for clues

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after bin wars break out in a local street...

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Why have they suddenly decided

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to dump all this waste in other people's bins?

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..a hoard of ancient treasure is discovered in the museum store...

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I just pulled something off the shelf and I thought, "Wow."

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..and officers confront their worst fears

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at an exotic animal inspection.

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-Are you all right?

-I don't like spiders.

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Wigan lies 20 miles west of Manchester.

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Good afternoon. Wigan Council. Arron speaking. How can I help?

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Its borough council looks after a community of over 300,000 people.

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Any problems, just give us a call back, OK?

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Rubbish collection is one of the key council services

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that we all rely on.

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It's only a plastic bin, but if it doesn't get emptied,

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or even worse, disappears,

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the council are quick to know about it.

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Bins are important

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to the general public because everybody has rubbish,

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everybody needs to get rid of their rubbish and at their convenience.

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This is why we provide bins.

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Some people will steal bins,

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some people will use other people's bins.

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They're probably a couple of things that we get a lot of calls about.

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In one of the borough's backstreets,

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local resident Yvonne Morrison is seething

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after someone dumped maggot-infested rubbish in her bin

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and has called the council to complain.

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Eugh.

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Nasty.

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I opened the lid and it was jam-packed full

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and flies everywhere,

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so I came in and called the council

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and told them that I'd just had my bins emptied

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and they were full again.

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I've got a job that is going to need two of us.

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We need to go through some bins.

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Environment officers Sue Catterall and Karen Foster

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have picked up the case, and today, they're going out to investigate.

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Sue's been told that five more bins in the same street

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have also been filled up.

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It's going to be a dirty, smelly job.

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We've got half a dozen black domestic bins

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with maggots crawling out of them

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because they've been refilled with rotting food waste.

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It won't be pleasant, but part and parcel of the job.

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It's what we're here for.

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We need to try and find out who's put the waste in the bins.

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-Times it is hard work, isn't it?

-Oh, yes.

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Sue and Karen have arranged to meet Yvonne by the bins.

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Eugh.

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Yeah. Well, we'll get the gloves on. So, it's these three?

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-Those three and those two there.

-Right, OK.

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There may be clues about where the rubbish has come from

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inside the bins.

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It's a grim job, but Sue and Karen are going in.

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Not pleasant, to say the least.

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Obviously, it's been there awhile.

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It's things like this... It's infuriating, really.

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I don't like doing it.

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It's really rotted at the bottom.

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It's probably been there for weeks, if not months.

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Towards the bottom of that.

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It's a hot summer day.

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The rubbish stinks and it's full of flies and maggots.

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This is the glamorous side of our job, this.

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Sue and Karen are hoping to find a piece of evidence

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that could lead them to the source of the mystery rubbish.

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Sometimes there's letters, sometimes there's parcels et cetera

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that have been delivered to addresses.

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I'm just looking for something that could tie us back to an address

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so that we can ask why their waste is in these particular bins.

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Why have they suddenly decided

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to dump all this waste in other people's bins?

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What issues have they got? Do they not have bins themselves?

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Yvonne's watching the investigation from a safe distance.

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-Would you like to be getting your hands in there?

-No, thank you.

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The flies are enough.

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Despite a long, smelly sort through the filth,

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Sue and Karen haven't found any clues.

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We have been through them as best we can,

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-but there's nothing with anybody's address on.

-Mm.

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Because of that, it's preventing us

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from trying to find out exactly where they come from.

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But Sue isn't finished yet.

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She's spotted a neighbouring back yard full of black bin bags.

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It could be that there's a new resident in there.

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It could be that there's somebody

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who's lived there for quite some while.

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This lady seems to think that the property's been empty

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and that people have been throwing rubbish into the garden,

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so it might be that the new resident

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or the landlord has been filling these bins.

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Still, we can't tie those bin bags back to this property.

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Sue doesn't know if the neighbouring property

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is linked to the bin problem, but the council can issue a notice

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asking the homeowner to clear up the back yard.

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We'll be tough when you need to be.

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-Advice and assistance first of all.

-Yeah.

-And then enforcement.

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So, that's when we go bad.

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We are happy to educate people, definitely,

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but if we need to, then we've got tools and powers to use

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in order to get things resolved for other people.

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First, they'll check if anyone's in.

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There's no answer, but Sue and Karen can leave a card

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asking the homeowner to get in touch.

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Right, we'll put both our names on there.

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'If we get no response, it'll go straight to enforcement,'

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and they will do a landlord check, get in touch with the landlord,

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issue a notice for the landlord to remove the rubbish.

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Probably be more likely sort of towards dinner time,

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-just after dinner, they tend to come out.

-Yeah.

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But, yeah, we'll get them sorted.

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After reassuring Yvonne that her dirty bins

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will be emptied tomorrow...

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-All right, thank you. Thanks a lot. See you. Bye.

-Bye.

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..it's time for home and a good wash.

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I put my hand on something, and then, when I lifted my hand up,

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it had what I thought looked like baby poo on the end of my hand,

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-but it was, like, rotted.

-SHE SHUDDERS

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I'm going to go home and have about three showers.

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SHE LAUGHS

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Coming up, Sue returns to check if the culprits

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have cleaned up their act.

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The smell was horrendous.

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I'm just hoping that there's not a re-occurrence of that.

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From local libraries to stately homes,

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our local councils own a wide variety of buildings.

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Museums also make the list,

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and there are currently over 500 council-run museums across the UK.

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Museum's teach us lots of things about the past

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and about the local place and the local identity

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and the history and industry of an area,

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but they also inspire new creativity.

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The Museum of Wigan Life is a small museum with big ideas.

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In a few weeks, a new exhibition is opening here

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featuring world-class ancient artefacts...

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..unique treasures that were discovered here in Wigan

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quite by chance.

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This is Wigan Museum's store.

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Any items that aren't on public display

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are kept here under lock and key.

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The location of the warehouse is top-secret.

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Lynda Jackson and museum collections officer Carrie Gough

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are part of a select group who know where it is.

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When I'm on my own, actually, sometimes,

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you have to sort of give yourself a talking-to

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not to get sort of creeped out

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because it can be a bit quiet and you are quite cut-off.

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-And you get pigeons on the roof as well that freak you out.

-Yeah.

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And there's odd noises and things and creepy old prams.

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We've got about 30,000 objects

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covering the whole history of the borough from,

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well, prehistoric times, really.

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We've got fossilised tree trunks and things in here

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all the way through to, you know, more recent donations,

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21st-century donations.

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So, this is where we keep everything

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and look after it with a view to getting it on display

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and getting it used by local people.

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The museum's collection of artefacts was moved here two years ago,

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prompting Carrie to start the painstaking task

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of updating the records of everything in the collection.

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Every item in every box needs to be looked at, catalogued and repacked.

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What nice spectacles.

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I do love old glasses.

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It's a labour of love.

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Um, I get really excited, generally,

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and that's probably why I do what I do. Things like this.

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I mean, this belonged to somebody, these headphones.

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And you will find some really amazing things.

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Carrie's passion for unpacking the past has already paid off.

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Two years ago, she took an ordinary-looking box off the shelf

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and had an Indiana Jones-style moment.

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I just pulled something off the shelf

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and it was a piece of wood, essentially, painted.

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But it was a statuette and it was very obviously Egyptian.

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And that was the first piece of Egyptology in Wigan

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that I'd ever seen and I thought, "Wow."

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MUSIC: Indiana Jones Theme

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Carrie had rediscovered the first piece

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of a world-class collection,

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originally acquired by local lawyer Sir John Scott.

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After his death,

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the pieces were donated to the Wigan Museum by his son in 1924.

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The team unpacked 50 more pieces, and in a few weeks,

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they'll go on display together for the first time.

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It's been really growing in momentum

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and everyone's become quite passionate about it,

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from the first stages of,

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"Oh, we've got some, like, good objects here"

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to, like, "Wow! We've got some amazing stuff

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"and it really needs to be displayed."

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So, for it to finally be coming together is...

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It's just, yeah, it's really, really exciting for everyone.

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-Coming up...

-Here he is. In one piece.

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..can a top conservation team return Wigan's ancient treasures

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to their former glory?

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Wow! It's Wigan's gold mask.

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From the ancient to the exotic, for front-line council officers,

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there's no such thing as an ordinary day at the office.

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Today, public protection officer Arron Hanson

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is preparing for a job that he's never done before.

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He's inspecting a house that's home to an unusual new business.

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Dan Jubb called the council

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because he needs a performing animal registration

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for his collection of unusual creatures.

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I wasn't made aware that I needed this licence.

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Obviously, I needed my insurance to cover

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in case there was any accidents,

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but I wasn't made aware that I needed this other licence as well,

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so it was a priority that I went forward and got it.

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Dan wants to take his animals out to schools and children's parties,

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but first, Arron and his colleague Steve

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need to carry out some important welfare and safety checks.

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If you want to show and exhibit animals,

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you need to have a licence with the council and be registered.

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So, this is the first one we've got while I've been here,

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so I've brought Steve with me as well

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so we can check the animals' welfare

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and also go through some of the finer details

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of what he's got planned to do and things like that.

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Under the Performing Animals Act, anyone showing, training

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or performing with animals in public places

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needs to register with their local council.

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This is only the second registration Wigan has ever dealt with.

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-Hiya.

-Dan, hiya. Are you OK? I'm Arron.

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If Dan hasn't complied with all the rules and regulations,

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he won't be able to continue his new business.

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Make sure the gate's shut.

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Don't want any animals getting out.

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The most important checks are the welfare of the animals,

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how they'll be transported to events

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and making sure everything possible is being done

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to prevent accidents when the animals are being handled.

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So, this is Tegu.

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Ah, right. OK.

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We usually take this on visits, depending on how he is that week.

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Right, OK. Are you expecting that to be a handled animal?

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-No, that's just a display one.

-A display one.

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-Yeah, so, I just show that.

-I just want to clarify as well

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which ones are being handled and which aren't.

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Steve's started to look a little uneasy.

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-You look scared.

-Are you scared?

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No, I'm just trying to keep out the way cos...

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They're not going to hurt you.

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Fortunately, Arron is more than happy

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-to handle the exotic animals.

-Ah!

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So, do these give a nip or anything?

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They could do a nasty nip,

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but it's very, very rare that they do it.

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This one usually comes on visits. This is a whip spider.

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I tell you what it looks like.

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-It looks like the one from Harry Potter.

-That's what it is.

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-Is it?

-Yeah.

-Oh, look at that. Harry Potter.

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You look petrified.

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-Are you all right?

-I don't like spiders.

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Steve's about to confront his worst nightmare.

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It's a creature that might be a danger to the general public.

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-I can see a tarantula.

-Mm-hm.

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Um, will people be handling that one?

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Not that one. That one's quite nasty.

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The one they hold is this one.

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When I go to a job,

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I would assess whether it's in a handable mood or...

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So, you'd make that assessment on the day.

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Steve's already planning his escape route.

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-I don't like spiders.

-THEY LAUGH

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Now, he's not in a good mood for me to get him out.

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He's quite skittish. He's moving around quite fast.

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Whereas, if he's relaxed and ready to be handled,

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he will gently walk onto my hand.

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-So, that would be now...

-On display?

-..on display, yeah.

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Today, the grumpy tarantula will stay safely in his box.

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It's not just Dan's insects that need Arron's attention.

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He's got a whiff of a new addition to the critter collection.

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-So, that's him.

-So, that's that smell?

-Yeah.

-Skunk smell.

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Obviously, it's not his spray. His spray is really, really strong.

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-Right.

-Like...

-I tell you what it smells like.

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-It smells like them children's stink bombs that you can get...

-Yeah.

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..where the kids used to throw them on the floor.

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Did you ever get them as a kid? No?

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The skunk is only nine weeks old

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and will grow to the size of a small dog.

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So, enrichment, sort of for him?

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What sort of things does he enjoy playing with and...?

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So, it's basically like cat toys. We have lots of cat toys for him.

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Little bits, games.

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You know, the rubber teething rings, things like that.

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-Cute little thing, isn't he?

-Yeah.

-Do you want to have a go?

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-Um, go on, then.

-Put your hand like this.

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I'm going to sit his back feet onto your hands.

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Just want you to put your finger over his tail. On you go.

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Hello.

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Oh, are you coming up here?

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Skunks don't make good pets.

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They need specialist care and should only be kept by expert handlers.

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It's illegal to remove their scent glands

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and being sprayed can be a nasty experience.

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Obviously, we don't want everyone to start going out buying skunks

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cos they start getting bitten and people don't realise

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that they need...what their food diet is.

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-That's right, yeah.

-And then...

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-So, do you talk about things like they're not...?

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Like, the bigger snakes,

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I encourage people not to have reptiles as pets, really...

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-Yeah. They get rid of them.

-..because they need a lot of work.

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You know, they're not like a dog.

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-You can't just lock them in a kitchen.

-No, no.

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The inspection is over.

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If Dan sends in the right paperwork,

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he can hit the road with his amazing animals.

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No concerns about animal welfare at all.

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The animals are well looked after.

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I can see that all from just going in there.

0:19:010:19:04

I was slightly concerned how he was looking after the skunk,

0:19:040:19:07

but that seems fine.

0:19:070:19:08

It's running around, it's got plenty of toys to play with.

0:19:080:19:11

It's important that the animals have enrichment.

0:19:110:19:13

Um, and the other thing was the risk assessments,

0:19:130:19:16

which we'll work together on.

0:19:160:19:18

It's new for us and it's new for him,

0:19:180:19:20

so it's about working together to make sure he gets it right.

0:19:200:19:22

Yeah, it's what I live for.

0:19:220:19:24

I mean, all my animals are my pets and that's...

0:19:240:19:27

To make a living from that, it's fantastic.

0:19:270:19:29

The spider was my least favourite.

0:19:320:19:34

-I hate spiders.

-Yeah.

-HE LAUGHS

0:19:340:19:36

-I were good that I got it that it were Harry Potter.

-Yeah.

0:19:360:19:38

He was from Harry Potter, that spider.

0:19:380:19:40

Coming up, Arron makes final checks at Dan's first show.

0:19:410:19:47

Now, what these like to do is they like to jump an awful lot.

0:19:470:19:50

Museum staff in Wigan have discovered

0:20:010:20:04

ancient Egyptian artefacts in their storeroom.

0:20:040:20:07

Wow. We've got some amazing stuff and it really needs to be displayed.

0:20:070:20:11

In a few weeks,

0:20:110:20:13

thanks to local donations and a charitable grant,

0:20:130:20:16

the collection will go on display.

0:20:160:20:18

Going to see the mounts.

0:20:200:20:22

Today, museum collections officer Carrie Gough

0:20:230:20:26

and exhibitions officer Joan Livesey are visiting the Manchester Museum.

0:20:260:20:31

Experts have spent the last five months

0:20:320:20:35

restoring and conserving some of the treasures they uncovered.

0:20:350:20:38

It'll be the first time that we've seen the majority of them,

0:20:380:20:41

so, really excited.

0:20:410:20:43

We can't wait to see how they're going to look

0:20:430:20:45

and how they're going to appear in the cases, which will be amazing.

0:20:450:20:47

Here he is. In one piece.

0:20:510:20:55

This is how we're going to display him in the case.

0:20:550:20:58

John Miller and his team at the museum

0:20:580:21:01

are making display mounts for some of the objects.

0:21:010:21:04

They've nicknamed him Big Man.

0:21:040:21:07

He's actually an ancient Egyptian coffin lid.

0:21:070:21:11

This is the first time I've seen Big Man

0:21:110:21:14

with the completed conservation as well, so it's amazing.

0:21:140:21:18

All you used to be able to see, really,

0:21:180:21:20

was the horrible, bright, white fill of old conservation work,

0:21:200:21:25

and it really...

0:21:250:21:27

It took away from the object.

0:21:270:21:28

So, now it's been removed and blended in,

0:21:280:21:31

it just looks so much better.

0:21:310:21:33

The unique design on the bottom piece

0:21:350:21:37

marks him out as a world-class artefact.

0:21:370:21:40

It's this bit here. It's the funerary parade.

0:21:420:21:47

They're throwing sand over their heads in grief

0:21:470:21:49

and then there's a reed hovering between each person,

0:21:490:21:53

which seems a bit out of place, but in the Egyptian language,

0:21:530:21:57

a reed between a person with their arm raised

0:21:570:21:59

means, like, "Oh" which is a lament,

0:21:590:22:02

so it's giving a voice to the mourners.

0:22:020:22:04

I would desperately love to see the rest of the coffin,

0:22:040:22:08

but it could be...could still be in a tomb somewhere.

0:22:080:22:11

It could be anywhere. It's a shame.

0:22:110:22:13

It's time to go up to the conservation area,

0:22:220:22:25

where Wigan's number-one find is on display.

0:22:250:22:28

Those eyes are just absolutely incredible, aren't they?

0:22:310:22:35

This is the gold 18th-dynasty coffin mask.

0:22:350:22:39

The eyes are made from obsidian, which is volcanic glass,

0:22:390:22:42

and it would have been an important person in society.

0:22:420:22:46

Possibly a minor royal.

0:22:460:22:48

We've had people tell us it wouldn't be out of place

0:22:480:22:51

in the British Museum or the Louvre or somewhere, which is just...

0:22:510:22:55

When you hear things like that from Egyptologists

0:22:550:22:58

who know what they're talking about, it's just...

0:22:580:23:01

Wow! It's Wigan's gold mask.

0:23:010:23:04

Now the artefacts have been prepared,

0:23:060:23:08

it's all systems go for one of the most important museum exhibitions

0:23:080:23:13

Wigan's ever seen.

0:23:130:23:14

It's going to be a lot more high-profile

0:23:160:23:18

than what we've done before, which is amazing as well,

0:23:180:23:20

-so we're all so excited, aren't we?

-Yeah.

0:23:200:23:22

And plus, as well, the objects have never been seen

0:23:220:23:25

altogether ever on display in Wigan,

0:23:250:23:27

and it's going to be a first for Wigan again,

0:23:270:23:29

so it's going to be brilliant.

0:23:290:23:31

Coming up,

0:23:330:23:34

the ancient artefacts are returned to Wigan for the exhibition.

0:23:340:23:38

It looks amazing.

0:23:390:23:41

But the team are about to experience a major setback.

0:23:410:23:45

I don't know how that's happened

0:23:450:23:47

cos we did...we measured everything up,

0:23:470:23:49

but, obviously, it has happened.

0:23:490:23:51

Across the borough,

0:24:000:24:01

the council is keeping a more everyday show on the road.

0:24:010:24:05

Rubbish and recycling is a key service

0:24:070:24:09

that affects all of our daily lives.

0:24:090:24:13

The rubbish, it's never cleaned up.

0:24:130:24:15

There's rubbish everywhere and it's just...

0:24:150:24:19

It's gone downhill. Gone downhill altogether.

0:24:190:24:23

Every time I've had any problems, they've been good.

0:24:230:24:29

Provided a good service, basically.

0:24:290:24:31

Yeah, never had any problems...as yet.

0:24:310:24:34

They seem lackadaisical on the weekend.

0:24:340:24:37

The rubbish can be left.

0:24:370:24:38

They try their best on Sunday morning to clear it up,

0:24:380:24:41

but then again, Monday, there's a few leftovers knocking about.

0:24:410:24:45

Council officers were called to a street in Wigan

0:24:460:24:49

after maggot-infested rubbish was dumped in people's bins.

0:24:490:24:53

I opened the lid

0:24:530:24:54

and it was jam-packed full and flies everywhere.

0:24:540:24:58

A neighbour on the same street has been contacted by council officers

0:24:580:25:02

and told to clear up their back yard.

0:25:020:25:05

If we need to, then we've got tools and powers to use

0:25:050:25:08

in order to get things resolved for other people.

0:25:080:25:11

Today, environment officer Sue Catterall

0:25:150:25:18

is returning to the street to check if the situation has improved.

0:25:180:25:22

The last visit has left her with some bad memories.

0:25:230:25:27

The smell was horrendous. There was lots and lots of flies.

0:25:270:25:31

There was rotting meat in there.

0:25:310:25:33

It wasn't pleasant at all.

0:25:350:25:37

I'm just hoping that there's no more,

0:25:370:25:40

there's not a re-occurrence of that.

0:25:400:25:42

Sue arranged for the council waste services team

0:25:450:25:47

to empty the infested bins.

0:25:470:25:50

Well, it's looking pretty tidy. It is bin day today.

0:25:500:25:53

So far, the alleyway is looking much better.

0:25:530:25:56

She now needs to check the inside of the bins.

0:25:590:26:02

Only residents' waste should be in there.

0:26:020:26:04

It's empty. It's not in use.

0:26:070:26:08

So, that's a week since last collection,

0:26:080:26:10

so nobody's using this particular bin.

0:26:100:26:13

-Are you all right? Are we happy with that?

-Yes.

-Yeah?

0:26:130:26:16

Yvonne, the resident who called the council,

0:26:160:26:19

hasn't had any more problems since Sue's last visit.

0:26:190:26:23

The bin situation's improved a lot.

0:26:230:26:25

There's not as many spare bins that people just dump anything in.

0:26:250:26:30

The backs seem a lot cleaner. I'm a lot happier about it.

0:26:300:26:35

Time to check out the back yard further up the street.

0:26:370:26:40

Two weeks ago, it was full of black bin bags.

0:26:400:26:43

There's no evidence linking this property

0:26:430:26:46

to the rubbish dumped in Yvonne's bins,

0:26:460:26:48

and the owners said they weren't responsible.

0:26:480:26:51

But Sue asked the owner to clear the yard up,

0:26:510:26:53

and there's been a huge improvement.

0:26:530:26:56

Great. Absolutely no rubbish whatsoever.

0:26:560:27:00

Perfection. Brilliant. Brilliant.

0:27:000:27:03

I'm happy.

0:27:030:27:04

When we ring up people and we raise a concern,

0:27:040:27:09

we're raising it for a particular reason.

0:27:090:27:11

We're not there to be awkward or difficult.

0:27:110:27:13

And when people deal with it,

0:27:130:27:16

as soon as you've raised the problem, that's great.

0:27:160:27:20

I just wish more people would do the same

0:27:200:27:22

and you wouldn't have to keep revisiting properties.

0:27:220:27:24

It's a great result, but the job's not over yet.

0:27:250:27:29

Residents have spotted Sue on the street

0:27:300:27:33

and seized the opportunity to air their grievances about other issues.

0:27:330:27:37

-All right?

-The minute a back yard or a gate's missing,

0:27:370:27:41

-people are throwing the rubbish in.

-Right, yeah.

0:27:410:27:44

-People call themselves drivers...

-Right.

0:27:440:27:47

..but they're blind to "no entry" signs.

0:27:470:27:50

-I noticed that somebody's changed the lock on the top gate.

-Right.

0:27:500:27:53

You can only open it from the inside with your key.

0:27:530:27:55

Oh, I've just opened it from the outside.

0:27:550:27:57

-Well, it didn't work the other day when I tried it.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:27:570:28:00

Any ideas who's letting the dogs out?

0:28:000:28:02

So, the junction of Chadwick...

0:28:020:28:04

There's going to be a serious accident.

0:28:040:28:07

Your coping stones is a police matter.

0:28:070:28:10

The driving wrong way up a street - police matter again.

0:28:100:28:13

The uneven footpath - ring through to the council.

0:28:130:28:16

Obviously, we've got people who've come out with raising other issues.

0:28:160:28:20

They're not all for me. They're not all for the council, in fact.

0:28:200:28:23

And it's just pointing people in the right direction.

0:28:230:28:26

Sometimes, they do like to come out and share their problems,

0:28:260:28:29

but please don't wait for us to come.

0:28:290:28:31

Ring us up. Call the council.

0:28:310:28:34

When, obviously, everybody comes out and you give me lots of things,

0:28:340:28:37

there's only so much I can deal with as we...

0:28:370:28:39

Sue can't fix all the residents' problems in one go...

0:28:390:28:42

Appreciate what you're doing, anyway.

0:28:420:28:44

-Great stuff. Thanks, Yvonne.

-OK, thanks a lot.

0:28:440:28:46

..but getting rid of maggots in the wheelie bins was a good start.

0:28:460:28:50

Sue's handled it very well. She was...

0:28:520:28:55

You know, she's been on the ball with it and she's got the jobs done.

0:28:550:28:59

Sorted it.

0:28:590:29:00

It's nice to get a thank you. Really nice to get a thank you.

0:29:020:29:05

Doesn't happen very often, so...

0:29:050:29:07

And to be really appreciated.

0:29:070:29:09

So...yeah, good.

0:29:090:29:12

-I've got a smile on my face, anyway.

-SHE LAUGHS

0:29:120:29:15

A unique collection of Egyptian artefacts

0:29:280:29:30

has been discovered in a Wigan museum storeroom.

0:29:300:29:34

I thought, "Wow."

0:29:340:29:36

Painstaking conservation work has been carried out

0:29:360:29:39

by specialists in Manchester.

0:29:390:29:42

It just looks so much better. So much better.

0:29:420:29:45

Today, the amazing artefacts are coming back to Wigan.

0:29:480:29:52

It's a big moment for Carrie Gough,

0:29:520:29:54

who rediscovered the hidden treasure trove two years ago.

0:29:540:29:57

There's about 50 objects ready to go in the cases

0:29:590:30:02

in the next couple of days, so, yeah, really excited.

0:30:020:30:05

Inside the museum, the exhibition Ancient Egypt Rediscovered

0:30:110:30:16

is coming together.

0:30:160:30:18

It's all right where it is now,

0:30:180:30:20

but you could put an extra thing at this end.

0:30:200:30:22

Or maybe put the little things down here or something.

0:30:220:30:25

It's a nerve-racking time

0:30:250:30:27

for community history manager Lynda Jackson.

0:30:270:30:30

She's overseeing the transfer of the precious items

0:30:300:30:33

into the display cases.

0:30:330:30:34

Obviously, everything's very precious,

0:30:340:30:36

very old and very fragile and vulnerable.

0:30:360:30:40

When you're moving it,

0:30:400:30:41

this is probably when it's most vulnerable cos it's quite...

0:30:410:30:44

It's a kind of risky...risky moment.

0:30:440:30:46

The museum gives visitors an insight into everyday life in times gone by.

0:30:480:30:53

Now they'll be able to see objects that were used 5,500 years ago.

0:30:530:30:58

It's a hair bead, or possibly an earring.

0:31:010:31:05

It just makes a difference having it...

0:31:050:31:06

Even on such a small mount,

0:31:060:31:08

it makes a difference having it on a mount

0:31:080:31:09

because it would get a bit lost otherwise.

0:31:090:31:12

But it looks really great.

0:31:120:31:13

John Miller and his team from Manchester Museum

0:31:170:31:20

made the mounts for the artefacts,

0:31:200:31:22

and today, they're helping to put everything together.

0:31:220:31:26

I think it's going to look fantastic once we're all done,

0:31:260:31:30

and a little bit of tweaking here and there.

0:31:300:31:33

It's looking the part already.

0:31:330:31:35

The next job involves one of the star attractions.

0:31:400:31:44

Looks amazing.

0:31:440:31:46

It's time to put Big Man into his display case.

0:31:460:31:50

Big Man is an artefact of world importance.

0:31:510:31:55

He's a major part of the exhibition.

0:31:550:31:58

-What's that?

-The internal size of the case...

0:31:580:32:00

-But John is worried about something.

-It's not right?

0:32:000:32:03

-We had designed the cases round...

-The objects.

0:32:050:32:08

-..those measurements that we gave.

-That's...

0:32:080:32:10

There's a problem with the new mount.

0:32:100:32:13

I don't know how that's happened

0:32:130:32:15

cos we did...we measured everything up,

0:32:150:32:17

but, obviously, it has happened.

0:32:170:32:19

The measurements for the specially designed mount were wrong.

0:32:220:32:26

It's difficult to get Big Man into the right position.

0:32:260:32:29

Well, we thought we'd measured...

0:32:290:32:31

I don't know where it's gone wrong, but, like,

0:32:310:32:35

they've had to put that on a lesser angle to get it fitted in.

0:32:350:32:38

It's not great. It's not great at all.

0:32:400:32:44

Could have done with the case being slightly higher internally.

0:32:440:32:48

After two years of preparation and planning,

0:32:490:32:52

this is a massive setback for the team.

0:32:520:32:55

An exotic animal handler has had a home inspection

0:33:060:33:09

from council officers.

0:33:090:33:11

This one usually comes on visits. This is a whip spider.

0:33:110:33:15

They had to carry out welfare and safety checks

0:33:160:33:20

before allowing him to take his creatures to visit local schools.

0:33:200:33:24

So, do these give a nip or anything?

0:33:240:33:26

Hi, Dan. It's Arron from Wigan Council.

0:33:320:33:34

Good news. I've been through your paperwork and everything's fine.

0:33:340:33:38

Council public protection officer Arron Hanson

0:33:380:33:41

has decided to award Dan his performing animals registration.

0:33:410:33:45

Now, this one is one of my favourite spider species.

0:33:450:33:49

This one is called a whip spider.

0:33:490:33:51

Today, the curious critters have got their first booking

0:33:510:33:54

at a local play centre,

0:33:540:33:57

and Arron is going along to check that Dan's complying

0:33:570:34:00

with the council's conditions.

0:34:000:34:01

So, this morning, I did sort of a stock check.

0:34:030:34:05

I went round and saw what I'd fed last night,

0:34:050:34:08

what I'd fed this morning, what needed feeding,

0:34:080:34:10

and I worked out what would be safe to bring.

0:34:100:34:13

So, these are more of the friendlier, hands-on animals,

0:34:130:34:16

whereas some of the species I have at home are more display.

0:34:160:34:19

Obviously, a tarantula, for example -

0:34:190:34:21

that's not really a good environment to be bringing to this morning.

0:34:210:34:24

-It's a bit too noisy, should we say?

-Yeah.

0:34:240:34:26

Now, first of all, what's really, really important

0:34:290:34:31

is that we wash our hands,

0:34:310:34:33

and that's to get rid of all the smells that may be on our hands

0:34:330:34:35

and all the germs that could be there.

0:34:350:34:37

The hand-washing was something Arron was keen to see in action.

0:34:390:34:43

It's going well so far.

0:34:430:34:45

So, he's taken some of the recommendations we gave him -

0:34:460:34:51

washing hands all the time.

0:34:510:34:53

And he's constantly doing that, so that's good.

0:34:530:34:55

So, this is a crested gecko.

0:34:570:34:59

Now, can you all look at his eyes for me?

0:34:590:35:01

His eyes are really, really big.

0:35:010:35:03

Now, what these like to do is they like to jump an awful lot,

0:35:030:35:07

and that's how they move around from tree to tree.

0:35:070:35:10

CHILDREN LAUGH

0:35:100:35:13

Boxes are labelled with what type of animals they are.

0:35:150:35:19

He's not leaving the animals out too long.

0:35:190:35:21

They're only out for a few minutes,

0:35:210:35:23

and then they're back and covered up.

0:35:230:35:25

So, yeah, it's good and the animals look happy and safe.

0:35:250:35:30

-OK, so, this is a corn snake.

-Can I wrap it round my neck?

0:35:300:35:34

Round your neck? Are you sure?

0:35:340:35:37

The children seem comfortable with the critters,

0:35:370:35:40

but Arron's not feeling as adventurous.

0:35:400:35:42

I think the kids are a lot braver than I am.

0:35:430:35:46

I wouldn't like a snake wrapped around my neck.

0:35:460:35:49

It's all going safely to plan.

0:35:500:35:53

Tex is my Argentinian tegu, and he's really, really big.

0:35:530:35:56

Everyone seems to be enjoying the animals.

0:35:560:35:59

-CHILDREN:

-Wow!

0:35:590:36:01

So, his favourite vegetables are courgettes,

0:36:010:36:04

and his favourite fruit is blueberries.

0:36:040:36:06

But do you know what his favourite meat is?

0:36:060:36:09

He likes baby mice.

0:36:090:36:10

But Dan's not done.

0:36:120:36:14

He's still got a final smelly surprise in store.

0:36:140:36:18

So, skunks are known for being quite smelly,

0:36:180:36:21

and that's because, if they get really, really scared,

0:36:210:36:24

they can spray something from two glands in their bum,

0:36:240:36:26

and that liquid is really, really smelly.

0:36:260:36:29

Now, Pepper is only a baby.

0:36:290:36:31

Now, he's quite friendly, but at the minute, he's teething,

0:36:310:36:34

just like a kitten or a dog would do,

0:36:340:36:37

so I don't want you to touch his mouth.

0:36:370:36:39

-Do you want to smell?

-SHE SNIFFS

0:36:400:36:42

What does he smell like?

0:36:420:36:44

-Smells like Chinese.

-He smells like Chinese?

-Yeah.

0:36:460:36:49

HE LAUGHS

0:36:490:36:51

Arron's confident that awarding the registration was a good decision.

0:36:530:36:57

Yeah, it's good that he's showing the kids and they're learning

0:36:570:37:00

and the kids are seeing different types of animal.

0:37:000:37:02

And, hopefully, you know, they'll have a better understanding

0:37:020:37:06

of how animals should be treated.

0:37:060:37:08

-Have you all enjoyed yourselves?

-CHILDREN:

-Yes!

0:37:080:37:10

The show's been a big success.

0:37:100:37:13

For me, having the licence enables me to go and do what I want to do

0:37:130:37:16

to educate the kids and make them realise that animals are dangerous,

0:37:160:37:20

but with the respect and the knowledge,

0:37:200:37:22

they can be quite friendly.

0:37:220:37:24

An important exhibition of ancient Egyptian artefacts

0:37:390:37:42

is about to open in Wigan.

0:37:420:37:45

The unique collection was discovered in the museum's storeroom.

0:37:450:37:49

But there's been a last-minute setback.

0:37:490:37:52

Big Man, one of the star pieces,

0:37:520:37:54

won't fit properly in the display case.

0:37:540:37:57

It's not great. It's not great at all.

0:37:570:38:00

It's 24 hours to the big opening.

0:38:030:38:06

Staff have worked round the clock to alter the mount for Big Man.

0:38:060:38:10

But museum collections officer Carrie still has concerns

0:38:100:38:14

about potential damage to this priceless piece of history.

0:38:140:38:18

Just, um, easing the mount, which, as you can see, is enormous.

0:38:190:38:24

You know, there's a small amount of room for manoeuvre.

0:38:240:38:27

You have to be careful not to hit the lights at the top.

0:38:270:38:29

It's the moment of truth.

0:38:320:38:34

They want the coffin lid to look as upright as possible in the case.

0:38:350:38:39

They're desperate for this to work.

0:38:400:38:42

Obviously, it's quite a tall object,

0:38:530:38:57

but it's got about half a centimetre to spare,

0:38:570:39:00

so it's not touching the top of the case, which is what we want.

0:39:000:39:04

There's relief all round. Big Man is finally inside his case.

0:39:060:39:11

It's just so good when you see it out,

0:39:110:39:13

and to have it on display for the people of Wigan is amazing.

0:39:130:39:18

-LAUGHTER

-It's in. Hurrah. Whoohoo! It's in.

0:39:180:39:23

The big day is here -

0:39:290:39:31

the official opening of Ancient Egypt Rediscovered,

0:39:310:39:35

the culmination of two years' work for museum staff.

0:39:350:39:39

It's a bit...

0:39:390:39:40

Down a tiny smidge.

0:39:400:39:41

-I think that that...

-Yeah.

0:39:410:39:44

You are causing a shadow as well, I think.

0:39:440:39:46

Time to unveil the specially designed entrance to the exhibition.

0:39:480:39:51

For Joan, the exhibitions officer, it's an important moment.

0:39:540:39:59

-Oh, my God. That looks amazing, doesn't it?

-Yeah, it does.

-Get in!

0:39:590:40:03

Oh, that looks amazing. It's brilliant. It's really good.

0:40:030:40:07

It looks quite big, actually, doesn't it,

0:40:070:40:08

when you see it like that?

0:40:080:40:10

-Can't believe it. Are we in Wigan?

-THEY LAUGH

0:40:100:40:12

Everything we do, we've got to do it to the best of our ability,

0:40:130:40:17

and more, you know.

0:40:170:40:18

And we do. We strive for that every time.

0:40:180:40:20

And, hopefully, people appreciate what we do and what we've done.

0:40:200:40:25

And I can't wait for people to see it. I'm really proud.

0:40:250:40:27

The only thing that's left to do is staff hair and make-up.

0:40:290:40:34

The important thing now is to make this look beautiful as well.

0:40:340:40:38

So, yeah, we're going to go and get dolled up, ready for the opening,

0:40:380:40:42

and print out my speech again cos I've lost the other one.

0:40:420:40:46

And then that's it. Everything else is done.

0:40:460:40:48

120 distinguished guests have arrived

0:40:530:40:57

to view the artefacts for the first time.

0:40:570:40:59

Among them, professor of Egyptology Joann Fletcher,

0:40:590:41:03

who will do the official opening.

0:41:030:41:06

I'm always seduced by a nice bit of bling,

0:41:060:41:08

and I have to say, that death mask is exquisite.

0:41:080:41:11

It is everything Ancient Egypt is.

0:41:110:41:13

It's a mask to be worn over the face of an embalmed, mummified body

0:41:130:41:17

and yet, it's smiling, it's gold, it's shining, it's beautiful.

0:41:170:41:21

And it's such a positive face,

0:41:210:41:23

you can't help but look at it and be moved.

0:41:230:41:25

It is stunningly beautiful.

0:41:250:41:27

Members of the local Egyptology society are also here.

0:41:280:41:32

They're really proud

0:41:320:41:33

to have such an important exhibition on their doorstep.

0:41:330:41:37

You could come here with an interest in Ancient Egypt

0:41:370:41:40

and see the civilisation of Egypt.

0:41:400:41:42

You could see everything.

0:41:420:41:44

Perfect. This is the finest set-up of Egyptian antiquities I've seen

0:41:440:41:49

for a town of this size. It's magnificent.

0:41:490:41:52

So, it's therefore, with the very greatest pleasure,

0:41:560:41:59

I give you Ancient Egypt Rediscovered.

0:41:590:42:02

For Carrie, Joan and Lynda,

0:42:070:42:10

the opening has been a massive success.

0:42:100:42:13

It's just lovely to see people enjoying the collections.

0:42:130:42:16

And so happy and thrilled. And that's what it's all about -

0:42:160:42:18

putting the objects on display for the people of Wigan.

0:42:180:42:21

And the country. Not just Wigan.

0:42:210:42:23

-We've got amazing collections, though.

-We have.

0:42:230:42:26

Even though this is amazing Egyptology,

0:42:260:42:29

it is just a part of the whole collection.

0:42:290:42:32

-We have to go some to top this, haven't we?

-Yeah.

0:42:320:42:34

-We will. But we will.

-SHE LAUGHS

0:42:340:42:36

THEY CHEER

0:42:360:42:39

Council officers nationwide

0:42:470:42:49

are trying to improve life in their borough

0:42:490:42:51

in lots of different ways.

0:42:510:42:53

From keeping streets clean and safe...

0:42:540:42:56

-Much appreciate what you're doing anyway.

-Great stuff.

0:42:560:42:59

..to regulating the local reptiles...

0:42:590:43:02

Could take him back to the office and put him under someone's desk.

0:43:020:43:06

..and sometimes, even helping to make history...

0:43:060:43:10

Oh, my God. That looks amazing. Get in!

0:43:100:43:13

..they're here to help residents when they call the council.

0:43:130:43:17

Wigan's council officers unearth a precious collection of Egyptian artefacts, inspect a business with exotic performing animals and rummage through rotting rubbish when bin wars break out on the borough's streets.


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