TV CHAT with Do­minic Lit­tle­wood

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television -

Do­minic Lit­tle­wood made his tele­vi­sion de­but on Chan­nel 4’s Fak­ing It in 2002, and has been a main­stay on the small screen ever since. He was born in Southend, Es­sex, in 1965, and he cur­rently presents Cow­boy Builders on Five along­side Melinda Mes­sen­ger.

WHAT CAN VIEW­ERS EX­PECT FROM THE SEC­OND SE­RIES OF COW­BOY BUILDERS?

In the first se­ries, we sent a shock­wave through­out the in­dus­try to the bad builders, and in the sec­ond se­ries we’re not look­ing for builders who do a bit of a dodgy paint job, we’re af­ter the peo­ple who are out there deceiving, de­stroy­ing lives and leav­ing peo­ple in debt. In the sec­ond se­ries, we’re leav­ing no stone un­turned to get these guys and bring them to jus­tice. We’ve man­aged to track down one builder who Trad­ing Stan­dards have been af­ter for five years. They couldn’t find him, he was very elu­sive, he kept mov­ing ad­dresses but we man­aged to track him down and as a re­sult he was ar­rested and charged.

HOW DO THESE ROGUE BULDERS GET AWAY WITH CHEAT­ING MEM­BERS OF THE PUB­LIC?

I am very anti-reg­is­ters. There are com­pa­nies that take builders on their books and those builders pay them an an­nual sub­scrip­tion to be on their books – so it’s not in their in­ter­est to say ‘no, I’m not tak­ing you on – you’re a bad builder’. They take ab­so­lutely ev­ery­body who says they’re a builder on their books and it’s only when they get lots and lots of com­plaints will they ever in­ves­ti­gate a builder. Un­for­tu­nately, the way they ad­ver­tise, they make peo­ple be­lieve all these builders are qual­i­fied and have good records. I found out that’s not the case.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORK­ING WITH MELINDA MES­SEN­GER AGAIN?

Melinda and I get on like a house on fire – she’s bub­bly, she’s lively, she’s jolly. She can de­mand things from the builders which I wouldn’t be able to get away with be­cause she’s pretty, she has a lovely smile and she’s a nice per­son. If I de­manded the work and ex­tra labour that she did, I’d prob­a­bly get hit over the head with a club ham­mer, whereas she gets a smile and they get on with it. I liken our part­ner­ship to Beauty and the Beast – the lovely Melinda Mes­sen­ger does the nice stuff while I chase the bad guys.

HOW DIF­FI­CULT IS IT TO KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN CON­FRONTING THE COW­BOY BUILDERS?

You have to keep your com­po­sure be­cause you don’t want to lower your­self to their level. Things can get awk­ward – I got at­tacked while film­ing the sec­ond se­ries. He lost his rag, he was a very ag­gres­sive, nasty per­son and af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing I found out the guy had con­vic­tions for GBH. But that doesn’t stop me – at the end of the day I’m there to bring them to jus­tice and if it gets a bit nasty then so be it.

DO YOU GET EMO­TION­ALLY AT­TACHED TO THE FAM­I­LIES WHO HAVE BEEN CONNED?

I do re­ally care be­cause I see grown men, woman and chil­dren cry­ing their eyes out and say­ing, ‘please help me, Do­minic’ and that does get to me. I’m very much a peo­ple per­son and I don’t want to see peo­ple be­ing ripped off so it does re­ally in­fu­ri­ate and an­noy me. The more I can do to help stop these peo­ple, the bet­ter.

IS THERE A THIRD SE­RIES OF COW­BOY BUILDERS IN THE PIPE­LINE?

We’ve al­ready filmed se­ries three – but that’s not com­ing out un­til later in the year. Se­ries three is much more pow­er­ful than se­ries one and two. Se­ries one was very eye-open­ing and pop­u­lar, we’ve upped the ante in se­ries two and, in se­ries three, we get them on the rails. There’s no short­age of bad builders out there.

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