Watch rare BBC video of angry Sheffielders branding city 'pothole capital of the UK'

A new archive film released by the BBC shows the day in 2007 when Sheffielders branded the city “the pothole capital of the UK” on national TV news.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 7:00 am
Catherine, talking about how potholes hurt her bad back when she drives over them

The film is one of a series from the BBC archives that are being released to local media, giving an often quirky picture of life in the Yorkshire region.

Reporter Mark Simpson of BBC News begins his March 2007 film by asking: “Is this Britain’s bumpiest city?”

He says that he was sent to investigate after two Sheffielders got in touch. One, called Catherine, came up with the pothole capital nickname, while another driver, Paul, calls Sheffield “the city of potholes”.

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Paul explaining that car repairs have cost him thousands of pounds

Speaking straight to camera, Paul says: “Car owners in Sheffield are sick of paying for maintenance to their cars. I myself have had to pay thousands and thousands of pounds out for my car to be mended.

“Enough is enough.”

Indicating the road where she is being filmed, Catherine says: “As you can see, it’s just a mass of potholes and shoddy repairs. I suffer from a bad back and I know about it – every lump and bump we travel over is agony, so I want the council to do something about it.”

Coun Bryan Lodge being put on the spot about the state of Sheffield's roads in 2007

The reporter says the duo blame a huge increase in car ownership and wonders what is being done about a dangerous pothole he spots.

He speaks to “the man from the council” – Coun Bryan Lodge, who was the council cabinet member for street scene and green spaces – saying that Paul and Catherine “don’t think you are doing enough”.

Coun Lodge replies: “We ask if people report these potholes through to us, we can do something about it. We have a team of inspectors who are out on the roads every day looking at the highways, regular inspections.”

Reporter Mark indicates the pothole he thinks is dangerous and Coun Lodge promises it will be dealt with within 24 hours.

And, sure enough, when Mark returns to the spot the next day, a team of workers are filling in the hole. He comments wryly: “One down, plenty more to go.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor