‘My name is Michael Cain and I am a nosy neighbour’ so said Paul Whitehouse in the Fast Show. It’s true of all of us a bit. We love having weirdos next door. We can’t help having a sneeky snoop over the fence or through the windows as we pass. Any attempts to look through the keyhole here, into the houses of Channel 4′s new documentary subjects (The Hoarder Next Door, Thursday, 9pm) would be met, quite literally with a pile of crap.
Nigel, or Miranda or Miss Bakewell Tart as he is otherwise known is a cross dressing, fifty–five year old, care worker from Birkenhead. Nine years ago he lost his long-term partner Sid and since has filled his home with his massive hoard. Jenny lives in Berkshire, she too suffered a traumatic event and now has a house full of junk, 5 dogs,3 cats and a chicken.
Both Jenny and Nigel have reached the limit as have their rooms. It is the usual premise for Channel 4, sometimes life goes wrong for some people and it’s sad, Nigel and Jenny are no exception. But what can be done? What can one man in the shape of psychologist Stellios Kiosses possibly do?
Channel 4 aren’t the only ones rooting through the rubbish, the BBC has its own series on hoarding starting next week. It matches the mood of the nation, we’ve no money to get Carol Smiley and her crew of mishaps round to change our rooms, so instead we’re resorting to rubbish rifling.
Apparently there are 1.2 million hoarders in the UK enough to keep Kim and Aggie in marigolds. I imagine they would be sent into paroxysms of cleaning madness, spinning uncontrollably, feathers flying from their dusters should they enter Nigel’s home.
They would also probably get on quite well with Miranda, the alter ego Nigel turns to, to help him clean up. Recommended by Stellios, Nigel harnessed one of his inner women, ‘sometimes we call her the bitch’ Miranda enabling him to start throwing out and even hire a skip.
Stellios himself appears to play very little role in Nigel and Jenny’s recovery. Not that he is needed with the daughters of Nigel’s friend on hand to berate him and call him weird. Poor Stellios was “overwhelmed” at the beginning and “overwhelmed” at the end. One starts to wonder if this really is his day job. In fact such was his distress presumably, in comes Zoe Steele to save the day. An expert in de-cluttering homes (that’s some job satisfaction) Her technique is to work fast to avoid attachment. She’s a lean, mean cleaning machine with an Aggie haircut but Kim’s “lovey” patronage. With her help Nigel turns his house around. And not an exaggerated shit collar or dodgy cut MDF decoration in sight.
I couldn’t say why we love getting through people’s front doors so much. But we do, our nation of DIY disasters, relocations and seeing where it’s all gone wrong. Am I a bad person for vicariously going through these hoarders rubbish? Bloody Channel 4 usurping my moral high ground again!
But it all ends rather well. Nigel managed to clear out his crap (or the cats as was the case in some boxes) revealing a beautiful house beneath. Jenny was starting to clear and the future looked hopeful. We can shut their front doors our nosy neighbour sated. Extreme A+E is on next let’s poke some wounds!