A year ago, when Sam graduated with a masters in Modern History, and headed back to his hometown near Bristol, he had no idea what the year would bring. But it wasn’t this.
Suddenly, something Sam’s done has become an international news story. As he finished his degree, his friends convinced him to start up an Instagram page – rating public benches. It was a joke. But in the gloomy days of readjusting to life at home without a job, back sharing his childhood bedroom with his brother, it became a lifeline – something he bonded with his Dad over, and eventually, a hobby which got him a girlfriend. 180 benches later, he's never awarded a 10/10, but through the international trauma of 2020, his quest for the perfect bench has captured the imagination of the news cycle.
With this unexpected fame, he’s been faced with a dilemma. One of the marking criteria is whether the bench is dedicated to anyone. The page has become a touching tribute to deceased strangers he has never met. Now, bereaved relatives have begun contacting him, asking him to rate their loved one’s bench. To Sam, it would undermine the integrity of the page, and he would never want to upset anyone by writing something which might disappoint. Yet, as a consequence of his principles, something remarkable happens.
Presented by Grace Dent
Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston