Joe Lycett's online campaign for clean water overrun during sewage documentary

The comedian fronted new Channel 4 documentary Joe Lycett Vs Sewage and his campaign website was down after being flooded with users.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22:  Joe Lycett attends the
Comedian Joe Lycett took on the water companies in his latest documentary, Joe Lycett Vs Sewage. (Getty Images)

What did you miss?

Joe Lycett's Turdcast campaign site to help consumers encourage water companies to spend money on keeping sewage out of Britain's water ways crashed during his documentary.

The comedian fronted new Channel 4 documentary Joe Lycett Vs Sewage and appealed to viewers to write to their local water company, asking them to stop paying dividends to shareholders and use the money to improve the sewers in order to keep water clean.

By the end of the documentary, his dedicated website was down after being flooded with users.

What, how and why?

Joe Lycett Vs Sewage. (Channel 4)
Joe Lycett Vs Sewage featured Gary Lineker in a fake podcast. (Channel 4)

Lycett used his documentary to highlight the thousands of sewage spillages into UK rivers and the sea that happen every year. The former presenter of The Great British Sewing Bee explained that spillages caused by heavy rainfall are not accidental, but occur because the outdated sewage system, owned by private water companies, needs £350bn spending on it.

The comedian confessed that he himself owned four shares in Severn Trent water which his parents had bought him when he was a baby and he had received a cheque for a dividend of £2.56. He said: "I'm going to need to do something big to get people to care."

Joe Lycett's website petitioning water companies crashed. (Turdcast)
Joe Lycett's website campaign asking viewers to write to their local water companies crashed. (Turdcast)

As part of the programme, and in a bid to get media attention for sewage spills, Lycett staged a cancelled podcast with Gary Lineker and used a giant inflatable toilet dubbed the Turdis to accidentally leak fake sewage into Liverpool Docks.

But he then revealed it was another of his stunts and asked people to campaign their local water companies through his website, which then crashed.

Viewers were outraged by what they learned in the documentary.

One wrote on social media platform X: "Really can’t believe what I’m watching and hearing. Unbelievable !!!! #JoeLycettvsSewage" Another said: "Shareholders getting richer and richer, getting away with flooding our seas and waterways with s**t… the money should be directly reinvested into improving the infrastructure. But while they can get away with it they will. #JoeLycettVSSewage"

And a third posted: "#JoeLycettvsSewage so it seems CEOs of water companies DO get to be chancers. They DO get to pass <Go> and collect £ squillions for polluting UK waters."

Lycett has become as famous for his political protests as he is for his comedy.

Joe Lycett & Jenny Powell attend the
Joe Lycett and Jenny Powell launching fake podcast Turdcast at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool in November 2023. (Getty Images)

In a statement to Yahoo UK, A Water UK spokesperson said: “More should have been done to address the issue of sewage spillages sooner and the public is right to be upset about the current quality of our rivers and beaches. We have listened and have an unprecedented plan to put it right. Companies have set out proposals for a record £96 billion of investment, to ensure the security of our water supply in the future and reduce spills into rivers and seas as fast as possible.

“This problem cannot be fixed overnight, but we are determined to do everything we can to transform our rivers and seas in the way we all want to see.”

And a spokesperson for the Environment Agency said in a statement to Yahoo UK: “Our pension fund is a legally separate entity and managed as such – meaning it has no role or influence in how we regulate the water industry.”

“We take the management of any conflicts of interest very seriously and have systems in place to manage and monitor these. None of our Board members or Executive Directors have an interest in a water company.

“We will always hold water companies to account and have secured £150 million of fines through prosecutions since 2015. We are also conducting our largest ever criminal investigation into potential non-compliance at sewage treatment works.”

In 2021 he took on oil giant Shell in his documentary Joe Lycett Vs the Oil Giant, where he investigated whether the company was as green as it claimed to be.

And in 2020 he changed his name to Hugo Boss in an act of protest against the fashion brand. Lycett shared the official deed poll changing his name to match that of the German fashion brand's treatment of small business who use the word 'boss' on social media.

In 2022, he called out David Beckham's support of the Qatar World Cup by pretending to shred £10,000 in protest - although he later revealed he had donated the money to LGBTQ+ charities.

Read more: Joe Lycett