Richard is the founder and head of the British Toilet Association which is based in his family home in Winchester and staffed by his wife and two daughters. The BTA’s purpose – and Richard’s mission on earth – is to campaign for more and better public lavatories in the UK: with half of public loos having closed down in the last ten years alone, the task is daunting. But to spur the nation on Richard set up the annual Loo of the Year competition, with the top prize of the Golden Loo Seat.
For three months of the year Richard and his team of ten toilet inspectors travel the country scrutinising loos that have been entered – everywhere from shopping malls to crematoria. On their way they find plenty with the all-important “wow factor” – but also numerous disappointments that have Richard despairing for the future of the country. “I don’t want to leave Britain,” he laments outside a boarded-up public lavatory in Preston, “but why do men still feel the need to have sex in public lavatories in this day and age?”
For the Love of Loos cuts through a cross-section of the UK: from Roger of Rhyll, a mobile toilet cleaner locked in an eternal game of cat-and-mouse with a serial urinal-soiler of North Wales, to the Duchess of Northumberland, whose water-themed Alnwick Garden is merely a scene-setter for her sparkling lavatories. We also meet Jenny, the attendant who knows the cadence of each flush on her lavatories, and hotelier John, whose comedy loos (complete with a farting machine which he operates from the hotel bar) have been surprising his guests for years. But then what would you expect from a chap named John?
Ostensibly about toilets, this film is a wider portrait of Britain – and by peering into people’s lavatories, it suggests, we get a more profound insight into people’s lives (and indeed the country) than we might at first imagine.
A Century Films production for One Life, BBC1
1 x 30 minutesNarratorKevin Whately PhotographyMartin LighteningChris Titus KingMusicSam HoopernAssistant producerEmma WilkinsonExecutive producerBrian HillEditorBen ChananDirected & produced byNick Angel
"A treasure chest of poignant social detail...Angel's achievement was to acknowledge the admirable aspects of this eccentric crusade in an unsneery way without missing the delicious social comedy of it all"The Independent
"Strangely touching...Nick Angel treads deftly the line between cruelty and respect"The Times