Bunhill: Prime time

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The Independent Online
THAMES Television, which gives up its air space to Carlton in three weeks' time and is left to sell programmes like Minder and The Bill, is signing off with a bang. It recently flew 22 staff, media buyers and wives to India for five days at the splendid Lake Palace Hotel at Udaipur. They were led by Jonathan Shier, Thames's sales director. Then came a 'sales conference' in Sydney, Australia, for 80-odd salespeople - many of whom, presumably, also face a future as uncertain as Thames's.

A spokesman explained that Thames does not need to justify the expenditure of 'a few thousand pounds against the potential of earning millions of pounds in revenue'. The trips were part incentive, part 'thank you' for sticking with the station since it lost the franchise. Apparently, staff needed the promise of the trips to stop them leaving.

Australia was planned first and was chosen because . . . well, because Mr Shier is Australian. The India jaunt - the Indian government met some of the bill - was primarily for people not going to Australia. As to the choice of Udaipur and not, say, Brighton, he replied: 'They've been to Brighton.'

Bunhill welcomes any other examples of corporate largesse in these hard times.