A new 6 part series on the London Underground started this week. To sum it up quickly, I thought it was brilliant. The series focuses on the staff, this week looking at how they dealt with the boozey weekend crowds and engineering works, i.e. the people who have to clear it all up!
Code 1: Blood
Code 2: Urine/Faeces
Code 3: Vomit
Code 4: Spillage
Code 5: Broken Glass
Code 6: Litter
There were lots of individual stories, with a focus on ‘characters’, I particularly enjoyed the station controller comparing his job to that of strategy game, with him as the overlord commanding the staff to different jobs. Also, the story of professional cyclist turned cleaner story particular stood out as particularly depressing. The programme did seem quite alarmist, focusing mainly on very drunk people, vomit and generally the worst parts of the tube.
Incidentally I was actually in the crowd during one of the big scenes on the platform at Leicester Square, which turned out to be a lady being pushed on the tracks. At the time, I just saw the cameras running and a mass of people, quite scary now knowing what actually happened!
I’m probably not making it sound very pleasant, but it really was very interesting. If like me you wonder what happens to people who fall asleep at the end of the line or where the trains go at the end of the night (yeah these are pretty obvious) then you’ll enjoy this.
I followed the hash tag on Twitter, there was an awful lot of despair and disgust, and non-Londoners promising never to cross the M25 again. To me it showed just how amazing the Underground is, with a lot of staff dedicated to helping the customers. The irony of the family moaning about the disruption of engineering works (carried out to improve service) as they were led out to a waiting replacement bus, was clearly lost on some people.
But hopefully the next episodes will have little less vomit and bit more nerdy behind the scenes type stuff!
Watch it on BBC iPlayer here or 9pm on BBC 2 every Monday.