Hello Joe – or should we say Hugo? Thanks for taking the time to answer these for us.
Got Your Back is back! How does it feel to be making another series?
It is an absolute thrill to be back! We have been working on this show for six months now and we have got so many amazing, shocking, brilliant stories. I cannot wait to share them with the world.
Did you ever think that telling a story about a parking ticket on Cats Does Countdown would result in your own consumer show?
Yes of course. My grand plan was to get a parking fine in York, contest it with a series of increasingly absurd emails, perform it on Cats Does Countdown and use its success to convince Channel 4 to give me a consumer show. It worked. My next plan is to convince Mark Silcox to run for Prime Minister and manage his, ultimately successful, campaign.
You described the first series as Sexy Watchdog. Will you be taking the sexiness to a whole new level for the second series?
If last year was sexy, this series is the resulting baby. And it cries and soils itself A LOT.
What can we expect from the new series? Can you tell us about a few of the injustices you will be tackling?
There is a really eclectic mix this series. Big fashion brands, a fly-tipper, insurance companies, local councils, estate agents and a man who doesn’t think Pot Noodle soy sachets are the right size.
Some special guests and celebrity consumer enforcers will be joining you during the series. Who do you have lined up and what sorts of things will they be tasked with?
I love the celebrities we’ve booked so much this series and they’re all used in such unusual ways. We’ve got amazing comics like Katherine Ryan, Lucy Beaumont and Rosie Jones, plus some classic television legends like Anneka Rice and Mr Motivator, and then cameos from people like Alan Sugar and Uri Geller. It's like a mad dinner party.
Mark Silcox is returning as your sidekick. The man seems to be fearless! What are you making him do this time?
I should make it clear I don’t make him do anything - he loves it. Mark has a film in every episode, and they are all so, so funny. Amongst other things he takes on brand slogans, tests what you get free for your birthday and gets kicked out of a Wetherspoons. He is extraordinary and I love him.
How important do you think humour is in righting consumer wrongs?
At first, I thought it was just fun to make a funny version of Watchdog, but it’s become apparent with some of the stories that using humour is actually really effective in getting companies to listen up and change their ways. It’s a bit embarrassing for a company to be exposed for wrongdoing, but it’s really embarrassing if it’s done by making them the butt of a joke.
You’ve talked previously about getting nervous before the bigger company confrontations. Have you become more steely this time round?
I’m definitely getting better. I’m so British and polite that creating a scene or being confrontational is SO not my vibe. But Mark Silcox said to me that you basically have to suspend reality on this show, and I’ve found that really helpful. As the series goes on, I think I get more courageous. But I still find it absolutely terrifying!
You kept the lawyers very busy in series 1! How did you manage to persuade them to come back for more?
By having sex with all of them.
You must get more and more people coming up to you asking for consumer advice and how to deal with certain companies. How do you manage that?
I pretend that I am Clare Balding and tell them to email Martin Lewis.
There were some amazing successes that came out of the first series – i.e. RBS agreed to refund contributor Claire nearly £10k after she’d been defrauded out of her life savings, Uber Eats changed their policy after you were able to open a restaurant from a skip and Spare Room introduced a new code of conduct for agents listing on the site – that must make you and the team incredibly proud?
Beyond proud. The team are so, so good at putting pressure on these companies and when we get a victory the energy in the office is electric. Not to blow our own trumpets but last series we got back thousands of pounds for consumers - this series we predict we may even get back MILLIONS.
What is the success you are proudest of?
I don’t want to spoil this series, but I was so delighted when Claire Leslie got her money back last series from RBS. To get a massive bank to change their course and refund one of their customers by being very silly at them was an absolute dream.
On a personal note, does anything particular rile you as a consumer?
Companies ignoring their customers. I think it’s unforgivable. And I count using a chatbot on your website as ignoring your customers. Stop doing it.
And finally, will you be Hugo Boss forevermore or will Joe Lycett make a return at some stage?
You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Thank you very much Joe.
You are SO welcome!
Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, Friday 10th April at 8pm on Channel 4