fantastic BBC series exploring difficult working conditions in the developing world, this programme focuses on Manila, officially the most densely populated city on earth. Much of its 20 million inhabitants live cheek by jowl in grinding poverty and the city was no doubt chosen due to its appalling road conditions and chaotic infrastructure. The producers no doubt thought they would get plenty of mileage watching a naive Brit flounder in the midst of Manila's madness. Little would they have expected such an emotional human story to emerge.
A couple of years ago London bus driver Josh West visited the Philippines to trade jobs with local "Jeepney" driver Rogelio Castro to see what it is was like to ply his trade on the mean streets of Manila. Its is fair to say the experience was life changing for them both.
Before arrival, Josh admits to knowing little about the Philippines other than the infamous Imelda Marcos' shoe collection. On the face of it their lives could not be more different. Whilst Josh has a comfortable job driving a state of the art £35K Routemaster through London's well maintained streets, his conditions protected by a myriad of employment and driving regulations, Rogelio toils away for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a clapped out minibus through the chaotic, congested streets of Manila.
His gruelling days, where he acts as driver, mechanic, cleaner and ticket collector, earn him about £8 a day which is often not enough to pay for his wife's medication. Rogelio lives in a ramshackle, self built property with tiny rooms inhabited by ever growing collection of extending family.
What made the show powerful and pushed it beyond the bounds of the realms of poverty pornography was the human relationship that played out between Josh and Rogelio. Despite only staying with him for 10 days the visit made a profound impression on the Londoner.
"When you see someone working that hard, how can you turn your back on them?"
On Josh's first visit Rogelio broke down when explaining the arduous treadmill his life had become and his inability to escape from the crushing weight of poverty. He was basically running just to stand still. Josh was overcome with emotion as he realised that despite them both being bus drivers only one of them was destined for a life of drudgery.