A Life Of Grime (BBC1); Hollywood Greats (BBC1)

NO amount of jolly jokes from narrator John Peel can disguise that A Life Of Grime is grim stuff, and a sad reflection on the disgusting habits of some people.

I certainly wouldn't wish London environmental health officer Milly's job on anyone. She was investigating at a block of council flats where tenants had complained about a terrible smell.

At this point anyone eating or about to eat should skip the next bit. Inside the flat, she and colleague Desmond found the cause of the pong - 12 years of rubbish. Not just the old newspapers that dated how long the place had remained uncleaned, but the urine, faeces and rotten food piled layer upon layer in every room. As for the toilet, they retreated rapidly and understandably in search of fresh air.

There was no sign of the tenant described, unnecessarily, as a hoarder and someone who just dropped things on the floor.

After four days of clearing and cleaning, the refurbished flat was ready for a new tenant to move in. If they recognise the place on the TV, they may feel like moving out again.

The council was obliged to rehouse the previous tenant, although Milly warned that the chances were he'd do exactly the same thing all over again.

New health officer Yunes Teinaz was determined to make his mark, closing down a chicken takeaway whose meals contained more than poultry. An infestation was mentioned, along with mice and cockroaches.

Things were jollier at the public mortuary where technicians were investigating a badly decomposed body (cue Peel to joke about them smelling trouble). The first job was to make a breathing hole to evacuate the gas in the corpse. "Must have had a curry," joked one of the cheery slab boys as the fumes wafted around.

Working all day with dead people has taught them to make the most of life. Always leave home on a good note and always put on a clean pair of pants was their good advice, whatever job you do.

Sir Michael Caine is celebrating a long and fruitful life as he reaches 70. Hollywood Greats paid tribute to him, and the programme gained enormously by having the talkative subject interviewed at length about his life and work.

This son of a Billingsgate fish porter has achieved the impossible dream of fame and fortune, along with disproving the idea among relatives and friends at the time he entered the profession that "all actors are nancy boys".

He enjoyed the swinging 60s as an eligible bachelor about town ("I've got to be a gentleman and not talk about it") and drinking a lot ("I was not an alcoholic, I just got drunk a lot").

At 38, he met the woman, model and actress Shakira, who still shares his life 32 years later. He must be thankful that she ignored the advice of her five female flatmates not to have anything to do with him.

The hard-working Caine has made good films and bad ones (The Swarm and Jaws 4, anyone?) but regrets nothing. "I wouldn't change anything because I learnt something from everything," he says.

Despite international success and a knighthood, he remains disarmingly level-headed and honest. As Shirley MacLaine says: "He was popular from the beginning because he was his real self."