Top of the (garbage) heap
It has been said that the three most important things in reality television are casting, casting and casting. How Foxtel stumbled on to the singular junk collector Lawrie Voutier, hailing from country Victoria, is anyone’s guess. But the resulting series is rollicking good fun.
The punch line is, of course, that Lawrie isn’t any old dishevelled dealer, despite his employees saying he looks like a “hobo”. He is in fact a very wealthy man, if his sprawling mansion is any indication. “Where you see mayhem, Lawrie sees money,” the narrator intones. Quite.
In this premiere episode, we meet his righthand man Benny “The Human Crane” as they salvage some ruby-etched stained glass from a soon-to-be-demolished country cottage.
Lawrie buys some vintage farm gates from another crusty old junkyard owner, before continuing down the road and selling them for twice the price to a buyer he had already lined up. Demolition Man He then uses the profit to buy even more objects from the second fellow.
Then it appears Lawrie and his crew might have bitten off more than they can chew when they try to move a large piano themselves. “It didn’t go to plan because we didn’t have a plan,” says Benny.
Lawrie is completely unpretentious, very passionate about his humble trade, and beneath the gruff exterior, appears to love his family and to be at least fond of his workers. “I just … love junk,” he says.
“This my yard. It’s full of shit but you have to go through the shit to find the good bits.” No doubt a sound philosophy for life.
His wife Sue, who has the thankless job of keeping the accounts, describes him at one point as a hoarder ... I sense a spin-off. Tuesday, 7.30pm, A & E.
Junk collector Lawrie Voutier with his assorted treasures in