Demolition Man

"I just love junk," says salvage king Lawrie Voutier in A&E's blokey new observational series.

When you’re as true blue as Lawrie Voutier life’s biggest challenges are probably haggling over a junkyard price, wondering where to store the latest stainglass windows you’ve bought, and appeasing your wife who accuses you of overspending.

None of them are really challenges at all, and can be easily forgotten by the sight of a dusty old lolly jar in need of some TLC.

Welcome to the world of the Demolition Man, A&E’s latest character who himself was uncovered by producers whilst filming Aussie Pickers.

Catapulted into his own CJZ series, he is surrounded by two of his staff, ‘right hand man’ Jabba and Benny ‘the muscle,’ wife Sue and son Charlie. But mostly he is surrounded by acres of his trash and treasures, rescued from salvages across Victoria.

“I just love junk,” he admits.

Hauled from trucks to his Camperdown shop or Purrumbete Homestead, his predominantly-antique collection is mostly open to negotiation in ways that would make The Castle proud.

“Half the time I don’t know what we’ve got,” he explains, wandering around his storage that looks like a bad case of hoarding (it’s not, but it sure looks like it is).

In the opening episode he finds a 1902 society invitation whilst ripping out a mantelpiece from a Yarraville cottage over 100 years old. He buys iron wrought gates from Frank in Daylesford and tries to pick up a 1930’s baby grand piano from the 2nd storey of a Portalington home.

Assisted by Jabba and Benny, the removal of the baby grand risks turning Laurel & Hardy on them all (where’s the respect guys?).

For all his infuriating tunnel-vision on buying and selling more stock, Lawrie is treated with colloquial affection by those around him.

“Lawrie buys me lunch. That’s enough love for me,” says Benny.

“There’s no bullshit with Laurie,” adds Jabba.

But Sue insists, “You’re a spendaholic!” which fails to deter him.

Demolition Man may not be the most sophisticated TV around, but it knows its audience. It comes with very blokey narration by Ben Oxenbould, bluegrass music, plenty of bleeped out swearing, and avoids any manufactured constructs that re rife in other genres.

What you see is what you get: no frills telly where the main resolution seems to be the profit of a bargain resale (hey, it’s worked for Bargain Hunt for years). That said it offers little we haven’t seen before on this most male-skewing of channels, save for its central character.

I don’t think I am particularly the target audience for this one, but at least it doesn’t outstay its welcome, clocking in under 30 minutes. And if all else fails, you can always admire the fabulous old steam engine he has restored to glory.

Demolition Man screens 7:30pm tonight on A&E.

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