By Claire West

Britain’s best-known plumber, Charlie Mullins, says young people should have more exposure to skilled jobs on television rather than the ‘pantomime’ of business shows like Lord Alan Sugar’s ‘The Apprentice.’

Charlie, who is the UK’s first millionaire plumber and founder of Pimlico Plumbers, heads the judging panel on new BBC Three programme, ‘Britain’s Best Young Plumber’, which airs on 30 November at 10.30pm, says:

“We need to start giving our young people the message that skilled trades are no less prestigious a way to make a living, and that no society can function with white collar workers alone. As a country we need to relearn the value of getting your hands dirty!

“What we need are more TV shows the put REAL apprentices on our screens rather than the pantomime of a bunch of jumped-up sales execs running round London trying to impress a Lord.”

“Hopefully it will also send a positive message into living rooms across the country that will inspire other young people to pick up the tools. There are too many so-called reality business shows on TV that don’t give a platform for the vital and irreplaceable skills of hard grafting workers.

BBC3’s Young Plumber of the Year sets out to discover and recognise the talents of young engineers taking their first steps into a career in the industry. Each of the trainees will undertake a series of plumbing and heating engineering challenges, which have been devised by Charlie whose celebrity clients include James Bond actor Daniel Craig and actresses Dame Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley.