August 2

Sir David Jason heads to the USA for new series

David Jason: My Life On Screen – David Jason

Sir David Jason is heading off on a trip along the west coast of America by road, rail and air exploring both the rich heritage of iconic American transport and glimpsing the high-tech future on offer for a new TV series.

Train buff, one-time mechanic and pilot Sir David Jason will embark on an epic month-long journey in this special travel documentary series. It will take him north to south, from Seattle to Los Angeles, travelling on the iconic Amtrak Coast Starlight train.

It’s the biggest and best train he’s ever been on, hugging the majestic west coast of the USA in all its 28-stop, 1,300-mile glory; truly the realisation of his lifelong ambition.

David said: “All my life I’ve been obsessed with planes, trains and automobiles. And, of course, I’m well known for my association with the odd motor (including a certain three-wheeler). The west coast of America has seen – and is still witnessing – some of the greatest innovations in transport history – I can’t wait to find out for myself how they do things over there. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be entertaining, and I get the feeling I’m going to learn a great deal about this part of the world on my journey too.”

This all-American travel experience captures numerous pit stops and excursions along the way as David disembarks for a series of encounters discovering the unique, pioneering history of the West Coast. A huge fan of all things mechanical, David also time travels between experiencing astonishing feats of engineering of the past to cutting edge technology of the near-future – everything from riding 100-year-old cable cars and Harley Davidson motorbikes, to flying on a legendary DC3 vintage airliner, driving the latest American Super Truck and investigating the prospect of sub-orbital space flight.

Executive Producer Mike Blair said: “This is a route that not only takes in some of the must-do ‘bucket list’ all-American travel experiences, but also reveals just how this part of the world has led the way in innovation. Everything there is bigger, better, faster… we’re so looking forward to going with David on this journey of a lifetime.”

David Jason: Planes, Trains & Automobiles will air on Gold in 2019.

Photo: UKTV
November 11

WARNING: Beware “fake” poppies being sold on eBay

Internet giant eBay is making money from fake poppy badges sold by unscrupulous sellers on the auction site.

People are being misled into thinking that charities like The Royal British Legion are benefiting when they buy the metal badges and brooches.

But the imitation badges have nothing to do with charity – and proceeds go into the pockets of sellers with eBay taking a cut of the sale.

If a trader is selling brooches featuring the Legion’s trademarked two-petal poppy without an agreement in place, then the Legion can take a number of different actions, ranging from reporting the trader to their local Trading Standards Officer or sending the trader a formal cease or desist letter.

The Legion has a number of registered trademarks, including the Legion’s iconic two-petal poppy. Anyone using the Legion’s trademarked poppy on their products without the Legion’s consent is acting unlawfully, and the Legion will take action to stop this infringing behaviour.

Alternatively, if a trader states that a donation will be made to the Legion for the sale of any their products can only do so if they have entered into a formal agreement with the Legion.

A breach of the Legion’s trademarks can range from traders unlawfully selling any product featuring the Legion’s trademarked two-petal poppy, or any trader dishonestly stating that a donation will be made to the Legion from the sale of any of their products.

Ebay traders are getting around these rules by selling very similar badges – some bearing the words Lest We Forget – which are clearly aimed to hoodwink purchasers.

A spokesman for The Royal British Legion said: “The Royal British Legion offers a number of poppy accessories which raise much-needed funds for our charitable work. By donating for a poppy through our official channels or corporate partners, the public can rest assured that their money will go towards supporting our Armed Forces community.

“Poppies are widely available across England, Wales, Northern Ireland from Legion approved Poppy Appeal volunteer collectors who will be wearing official ID, or online through the Legion’s website.

“Poppy accessories offer another way to wear the poppy which also help to raise funds to continue our work. These are available via our corporate partners and Poppy Shop.”

Ebay says it works closely with The Royal British Legion and takes down any listings that are reported to it by them.

A spokesperson added: “Every year we work with the Royal British Legion, hosting an area of their official poppy products on our site. We remove items at their request.”

Category: Uncategorized
August 31

The death of Diana: Private tragedy, public grief

It is 20 years since the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The loss of this undoubtedly gifted woman whose ability to connect with ordinary people and whose willingness to engage with unfashionable causes like her support for HIV victims, through her charity work helped to remove so much stigma and who did so much good, shocked the whole world.

But above everything, it was the most terrible and unimaginably awful loss for her sons William and Harry. Diana the mother was the role she cherished more than anything and the one in which she excelled.

However, 20 years on I remain as baffled by the public outpouring of grief for a woman few people really knew, as I did then.

I remember watching television coverage of her body being moved by car on the night before her funeral, accompanied by William and Harry. Vast crowds were there, but as the car continued on its journey, flash bulbs from the cameras not of the press but of mourners filled the dark sky.

Who takes photographs of a car containing a dead body, I remember wondering. If people were there to pay their respects, then show some respect. I felt so sorry for William and Harry. But it was the just the start.

Then there were the flowers piled up outside Buckingham Palace. I did not doubt the motivations of people who placed them there, but it just struck me as such a terrible waste of money. Surely Diana, whose commitment to a huge number of charities was so strong and genuine, would have preferred that people have given money to a charity she supported so that if there was to be anything remotely positive to come from her death it would be through helping those in need.

Most baffling for me was the need for people to go to London to mourn someone they didn’t actually know. This for me was summed up someone who wrote to The Guardian. She had bumped into a friend on the tube who was carrying a bunch of flowers and on her way to leave them at the gates of Kensington Palace. The writer had a lost both her parents a year or so previously in a car accident and the friend had never even mentioned it.

It struck me then, and my view hasn’t changed now, that as the spectacle and the piles of flowers grew people were swept up by their shock and sadness at the death of an iconic public figure. It seemed to me that many people wanted to be in London for the funeral to say they’d been there. It could almost have been any major occasion, I thought, but don’t tell me everyone was there to pay respects.

The day of the funeral itself was worse. As the coffin followed by Prince Charles, The Duke of Edinburgh. Earl Spencer and, so incredibly poignantly, William and Harry, people wailed.

But the very worse scenes for me took place as Diana’s body was taken to Althorp after the funeral. A time for silent reflection? No, people clapped. They actually clapped a coffin. I found that as baffling now as I did then. What happened to bowing of heads, standing in thought?

And the flowers. A carpet of flowers or petals for the car to drive over might have had some merit. But no, cellophane wrapped bunches were thrown at the car in the most undignified way.

I do not question that people were shocked, I do not doubt that people felt sad, but 20 years on I remain as puzzled by the way some people reacted to the death of someone they didn’t actually know, quite, quite bizarre.

The death of any public figure is unsettling for anyone who admires and respects them (I still remember clearly hearing of the sudden and premature death of Labour Leader John Smith, by all accounts a decent man who died just when he seemed likely to reach the pinnacle of his political career), but above all it is a personal tragedy for their loved ones and friends who have lost someone they actually know.

I am no fan of the idea of keeping a stiff upper lip. Indeed I think people should be encouraged to show their feelings but I will never understand people’s need to indulge so publically in “grief” for people they never met and didn’t actually know.

Category: Uncategorized