Last night, Rentokil Initial technicians Michael Rolls, Mark Hardie, Lewis Jones and Marcin Antikiewicz, enjoyed a starring role in the ITV1 show, Dirty Britain. The team had a mammoth job on their hands as they cleared a house packed with bin liners, clothes, furniture, books, newspapers and household waste which should have been despatched to landfill decades ago. Whilst one of the cleaners cautiously peeked inside a cupboard to check for a rat infestation the camera zoomed in on a stained bag held at arms length by one of the cleaners. “I don’t like the colour” he said sniffing. Body fluids was the verdict. Foul this job might be to most of us, these guys are made of stern stuff. From suicide clear-up to the removal of maggot infested body parts the Rentokil Initial Specialist Hygiene team are thoroughly professional in their approach.
After three days and nine van loads of rubbish the team reclaimed the stairs from 21 years of debris. Above them lay a dense concentration of debris and the unknown. Gazing at the packed filth above them they were unaware it would take another seven days, working 10 hours a day and a total of 26 trips to a municipal waste and recycling centre to empty the house of its contents.
The programme highlighted the dirty secrets the general public rarely catch sight of thanks to an invisible army of cleaners and pest control technicians who make the nastiness vanish. At a racecourse the punters drank, tossing their disposable glasses beneath the table. Outside on a cold, windy evening cleaners chased litter around the grandstand.
Across the UK there are many people doing hidden but essential work with great commitment and pride. Dirty Britain puts the men and women of this industry under the spotlight and highlights the substantial contribution they make. According to Oxford Economics 2011 the combined support services sector contributes £115bn a year to the economy and employs over three million people, yet rarely receives prime time recognition.
Dirty Britain is a two-part series which reveals the dirty secrets about the way modern Brits live by following some of the men and women who clean up after us. As well as the Rentokil Initial team, the programme also follows workers unblocking a main sewer and armies of litter pickers.
As part of a campaign to champion the invaluable work achieved by support service employees across the country, Rentokil Initial commissioned former Times Young Photographer of the Year Matthew Lloyd to follow 26 people across all Rentokil Initial brands. The full set of photographs can be seen at www.rentokil-initial.com/who-we-are/our-people/.
The second episode of Dirty Britain will be air on ITV 1 at 9pm on 22nd May.