Kendal 'pipeline anorak' to appear in TV show

John Butcher

John Butcher

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A KENDAL man is to feature in a six-part TV series featuring the ups and downs of life working for water company United Utilities.

John Butcher, 52, the company’s regional aqueducts manager and self-confessed pipeline anorak, will be seen on BBC2’s Watermen: A Dirty Business.

Although John did not appear in the first episode, screened on Tuesday, he is looking forward to seeing the series.

“When I saw myself on screen the first thing I thought was that I need to lose about three stone,” he said. “It makes you reflect on the job that we do when you see it through someone else’s eyes.

“It is really interesting. I am looking forward to seeing what people think. I knew I’d hit the big time when my photo made page 16 of TV and Satellite Weekly.

“I think they shot more than 750 hours of footage for the six episodes and at times it felt like we saw more of the film crew than our own families. They became friends.”

MORE TOP STORIES:

John joined United Utilities as a technician in 1987 and within two years was managing the company’s northern aqueducts.

“I had a Land Rover, the Lake District and the best aqueducts in the country, an association that would remain throughout my 26 year career.

“It’s still my dream job but these days much more of my time is spent above ground and in meetings. Fortunately I can still sneak out and hug the odd pipe from time to time,” he said.

Originally from Doncaster, John comes from good engineering stock. His grandfather was a driver on the Flying Scotsman.

He is married to Helen and has two sons, Ben, 20, and Tom, 18, and a black labrador called Charlie. None have any interest in pipes.

Outside work John’s second love is his KTM motorbike. He also gives evening lectures about his work which have earned him accolades everywhere from the Institute of Civil Engineers to Langwathby Women’s Institute.

Cumbrian employees who appeared in the first episode included catchment manager Paul Phillips, from Pooley Bridge, who manages the company’s 40,000 acres of water-gathering land and reservoirs in the Lake District, and headworks controller Dave Oakley-Jenner, who lives in Carlisle, who looks after dams including Haweswater and Wet Sleddale, both near Shap.

The documentary is made by Mentorn Media.

Executive producer Hannah Wyatt said: “Without clean water we couldn’t survive. It’s easy to think it just falls from the sky and someone collects it but in fact it’s a huge and complex operation from customer services to ground breaking engineering projects. The series goes behind-the-scenes of this process and meets the unsung heroes who keep our taps flowing.”

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:18pm Mon 21 Apr 14

tourer says...

Watched the first episode really interesting......
Watched the first episode really interesting...... tourer
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree