The Human Footprint, Channel 4

by | Apr 16, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

A fascinating look at what the average Briton ingests, excretes and uses over their lifetime. There was wonderful narration from the hardest working man in television these days: David Tennant; and a simple explanation at the beginning as to the need for averages (to forestall all those, “I don’t drink/eat/drive that much” comments) and show what the typical UK resident consumes. Showing all the various bits and pieces piled up in one place was a highly effective if sobering way of getting the point across, as well as providing some bizarre sculptures on the landscape, especially the homage to Ridley Scott’s Hovis ad by paving the Haworth hill in loaves of bread and the Hansel and Gretel chocolate house. And the one thing we all have in common? We’ll all die.

Our favourite stats?

• We get through 15,951 pints of milk; 4 cows, 21 sheep, 15 pigs, 1,200 chickens and 13,345 eggs by the time we die.

• We’ll eat more than 10,000 bars of chocolate, 2,327 kilos of potatoes, 4,283 loaves of bread, 5,272 loaves of bread and a bathful of beans.

• We’ll generate a 35,815 litre fireball of fart gas and just under three tonnes of crap (though 50,000 tonnes goes in the other end)

• There are 25,000 words in the average vocabulary – which is only four per cent of the OED. We speak 4,300 words a day – 123,205,740 words in a lifetime.

• We all know an average of 1,700 people over our lifetime, and have 300 people as part of our social group at any one time.

• We spend £30,322 on clothes

• The hair-raising fact that we grow 9 metres 42 cm of it on our heads and 9m 15 cm of beard hair.

• 10,351 pints of beer, 1,694 bottles of wine and 77,000 cigarettes are consumed. And coincidentally, 5 buckets of vomit produced over a lifetime.

• We’ll have 10 sexual partners over a lifetime, and sex 4,239 times. The average marriage lasts 11 and a half years.

• We’ll spend £1,537,380. Quite how Colleen and Posh Spice skew the figures wasn’t explained.

The most worrying stats?

• By using nappies, we are responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions in our first 2.5years than the average Tanzanian produces in their lifetime.

• 95% of our fruit is imported.

• We’ll throw away 8.5 tonnes of food packaging.

• Every day we flush away 270,000 condoms and even more assorted female sanitary products

• We use 1,000,000 litres of water to bathe ourselves.

• We’ll have £286,311 of tax deducted.

• We’ll own eight cars each and travel 452,662 miles a year using 135,950 litres of petrol.

• We’ll spend eight years in front of the TV – more if you’re a reviewer or Jim Royle.

• 40% of people choose not to read, and more houses have two cars than two novels.

• We’ll cry 61.5 litres of tears and live 78.5 years.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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