Lycett to Investigate Rogue Water Companies as the UK Confronts a Major Sewage Crisis

In the face of ongoing sewage discharge into our waterways and seas by water companies, Joe Lycett aims to delve into the heart of the matter.

Renowned for challenging the oil industry in “Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant” and triumphing in the Bafta-winning “Joe Lycett vs David Beckham,” his latest investigative special for Channel 4 is set to explore the reasons behind the contamination of our waterways and the allowance of water companies to compromise one of our most vital resources.

In 2022, water companies in England alone were accountable for 301,091 sewage overflows, totaling 1,754,921 hours. This equates to a single discharge persisting for over 200 years. Only 14% of English rivers meet the “good” ecological status, with sewage pollution being a significant contributor. Simultaneously, privatized water and sewerage companies in England distributed £1.4 billion in dividends in 2022, as per one analysis.

As part of the program, Joe recently executed a attention-grabbing stunt to launch his latest mock podcast project – Turdcast – where a colossal inflatable toilet, dubbed the Turdis, inadvertently released simulated “sewage” into Liverpool Docks. Importantly, the stunt had no environmental or biological impact on the area, and the spillage was, in fact, marine mud.

Joe Lycett said: “I spilled fake sewage because I wanted to get people talking about the billions of litres of real sewage that are released every year by our water companies. Last year, according to one analysis the water companies paid shareholders £1.4 billion in dividends. That’s a lot of money that could have been used to improve the sewer network and reduce spills.

“We’re asking the water companies to stop paying dividends and instead invest the money in solving this problem. So please write to your water company asking them to sign up to what I’m calling Joe’s Poo Promise – not the first time I’ve used those words – there’s information about how to do this at turdcast.co.uk.”

Tom Beck, Head of Live Events and Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 said: “Joe is our leading mischief maker; he uses humour, wit and absolute fearlessness to call out companies, celebrities and even our politicians. He’s taken on the oil giants and David Beckham; now he’s highlighting one of our biggest environmental issues by diving into the murky waters of the utility companies polluting our seas and rivers. It will be provocative, revealing, important and feature lots of poo jokes. Who else could promise all of that?”

Iain Wimbush, Joint Managing Director, Rumpus Media, said: “Having tackled national treasures, entire states and oil giants, Joe has now set his sights on growing scourge of poor practice by British water companies. Joe has an innate ability to find new ways to get people engaged with subjects that might not be getting the attention they deserve, and we look forward to a day when we can all enjoy waters in the UK without fear of finding they’re filled with excrement.”