"Now I know my keys are here somewhere…" The Hoarder Next Door
“Now I know my keys are here somewhere…” The Hoarder Next Door

lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwTrouble is piling up under the noses of the must-stash brigade, to the consternation of Lucy Bellerby


bellers-on-the-box-logo-230When we were clearing out my grandparent’s house earlier this year, we found a dozen bin bags worth of unopened medication. There were piles of jumpers with sequined pineapples on the front and the tags still on, having been bought in 1982 and then relegated to the back of a cupboard for the past three decades.

However we also found every single newspaper clipping written about my dad, tiny trinkets made by beloved grandkids, secret pockets full of presents ready for our next ten birthdays.

So I can see why people become hoarders; life whizzes by at such a speed that by keeping everything you are somehow clinging onto every memory. Of course, the ladies on The Hoarder Next Door (Channel 4) take it way too far and end up coming across as absolutely bonkers. Alison collects anything to do with ladybirds and her entire house is stuffed full of the things; on the walls, hanging from the ceiling, on her bras.

Her pony-tailed boyfriend does some astonishingly over-dramatic weeping for the cameras, looking for all the world like a dad at a status quo concert who’s just had someone kick him in the groin and set fire to his favourite denim jacket.

His woe isn’t unfounded; who would want to wake up to literally thousands of red beetles smacking you in the face every time you try to make yourself a sandwich or go for a wee? At 8am, the discovery that I don’t have any yoghurts left is enough to send me straight back under the covers in despair – so if I was him I’d be dashing around the house in my pants screaming, traumatised till my dying days.

The programme has a psychologist on hand to help get to the root of Alison’s hoarding; so hopefully she will be able to work through her demons and start chucking stuff out. If not, I fear her partner’s skeleton will be discovered in a few years time, buried under a pile of red-spotted wellingtons.

The leader of the Chelsea gang: Spencer
The leader of the Chelsea gang: Spencer

Where is it that they find the new cast members for Made in Chelsea (E4)? Certainly not in York, for I have never met anyone so inexplicably, outstandingly, posh.

Fair enough, Jo-Ro isn’t exactly Eaton; my school days were spent smoking behind the leaky Portakabins rather than going on skiing trips and vomiting Chanel handbags. But the people on this show seem like another species; one that I’ve never encountered in real life. Watching the show feels like I’m David Attenborough, laid on my belly whispering about the rare and exotic Homo-Toffius.

There are around 14 girls on the show, eight identical blondes with white teeth and tight trousers, and eight identical brunettes with swishy hair and nice eyebrows. I can’t understand what they’re saying most of the time. They seem to communicate with each other via a series of grunts and nonsensical words, all the while sounding like talking is as boring as listening to the shipping forecast while eating cardboard. “Uhh. Yuhh” they say, staring at a fixed point in the distance, presumably busy thinking about caviar and boat shoes, “yuh, we holidayed in thuh ahhalps, uhh muh god, uhmuuuziung”.

The boys are your typical rugger lovers, with massive heads and tiny brains. They slap each other on the back, honking and congratulating each other on having ruddy complexions and £800 cravats.

Their leader is the diabolical Spencer. He sleeps his way through Chelsea wearing a series of stupid hats, cheating on his show-pony girlfriends and being vile to everyone. His female counterpart is Lucy (good name) who seems to spend 12 hours a day brandishing a large glass of red wine, one arm crossed defiantly across her chest as she sneers at people and inspects her manicure.

Perhaps it’s a form of reverse snobbery to feel a slight sense of disgust at these people. But it isn’t the fact that they are rich or posh that annoys me; it’s the way they live in a little bubble, grotesquely splashing their cash about and having no understanding of the wider world. We may not have a Harvey Nicks and there’s no polo club behind Morrisons, but give me Yorkshire over Chelsea any day.