Filming starts on litter parody - with a serious message

Thomas Black. Picture: Dan Oxtoby
Thomas Black. Picture: Dan Oxtoby
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A West Yorkshire businessman and prolific anti-littering campaigner will make his third film on the subject in Ilkley this week.

Thomas Black, the former joint chairman of the Keighley-based Peter Black Holdings, is fed up with the “horrible litter which is desecrating our beautiful Yorkshire countryside” and has taken it upon himself to raise awareness of the issue by making humorous films.

His first, Don’t Drop Litter or Else, attracted 200,000 views on YouTube and he is hoping his third, which begins filming in Denton near Ilkley today, will do the same.

Mr Black, 79, said: “I care passionately about littering, and in this chapter of my life, I’ve found that rather than being on committees or bodies, I prefer to take action.

“I’ve produced two clips so far, and the first in particular was a great success.”

The film being made this week is a George Formby parody, based on his most famous song, When I’m Cleaning Windows.

Mr Black enlisted the help of writer John Hirst to pen the lyrics to When I’m Picking Litter, and ukele and banjo player John Toothill takes the starring role. A team of dancers will star alongside.

Although the films have been light-hearted parodies, the issue of littering is something Mr Black takes very seriously.

Mr Black said: “It carries a very serious message. Litter is an absolute disaster, and it’s up to us all, plus manufacturers such as Cadbury and Coca Cola, and business like supermarkets and fast food restaurants, to take action.”

In March we launched the Keep Leeds Tidy campaign after revealing the shocking cost of fly-tipping and littering in the city.

Leeds came 8th in a national league of shame of fly-tipping hotspots, with clean-up costs for one recent year soaring past £1million.

The number of incidents of fly-tipping reported to Leeds City Council last year also surged to more than 16,000, a five year high and more than double the fines for 2013/14.