City Diary: A man with a mission to bring films to London

David Potter, the charming chap who has breathed new life into mini merchant bank Guinness Mahon, is set to do the same for film-making in London.

Mr Potter has been appointed non-executive chairman of the London Film Commission, which is the creation of Christabel Albery of the notable theatre family, and aims to copy the huge success of similar bodies in cities like New York.

Mission: Impossible, the latest Hollywood blockbuster, was made on location in London, and Mr Potter hopes that more film-makers will choose the capital. "The City, Government and Labour have all come to see how films bring jobs and revenue," he says. The commission will promote London as a location and help provide facilities, by simplifying relationships with local boroughs, the police and residents' associations.

Guinness Mahon has been involved in raising film finance in the last 20 years, for projects such as Richard III, The Crying Game and Howards End. The bank's Global Rights Fund recently bought the rights to Sooty - although Mr Potter groans: "I think Sooty has had about as much coverage as he can bear."

Who is the Hot Tub Sheikh? Over the past few months a mysterious Middle Eastern investor has appeared on the Chicago currency markets, taking multi-million-pound long positions in sterling-dollar options (ie betting the pound will rise against the greenback). Dealing desks don't know who he is, but he has laid such large bets that the white-sock boys have paid him the ultimate punter's accolade and awarded him a nickname.

One senior economist recalls a similar anonymous investor who gave governments a fright by moving currency markets in the 1980s, who was dubbed simply "the Egyptian". No one ever found out who he was.

As for the Sheikh, who presumably phones in his deals from a hot tub, the economist muses: "He's probably just some lowly guy who works for Sumitomo."

The price per copy of the Treasury's summer forecast on the economy has risen from pounds 6.50 last year to pounds 7.50. This, as an economist points out, represents a 15.3 per cent increase, compared with headline inflation of just 2.2 per cent. Doctor, heal thyself.

When Granada's chief executive Charles Allen joined the company five years ago he suggested that they should buy five or six of the top UK football clubs as an investment. Boardroom colleagues thought the City would never wear it, and the idea was shelved. Since then, the City has done a 180-degree turn, feting clubs like Manchester United. Which does not console Mr Allen, since those clubs that have floated are already fully valued, with no bargains to be had. As ever with investment, Mr Allen reflected yesterday, timing is all.

John Menzies will step aside next year as chairman of the newspaper wholesaling company which bears his name after 45 years in the top slot. The Eton-educated Scot, who is 70 next year, becomes life president as part of a wider shake-up of senior management. His career spans an early stint in the Grenadier Guards and 11 years as a director of Vidal Sassoon, the upmarket shampoo company. Mr Menzies is a member of the Royal Company of Archers, a select body of men who make up Her Majesty's Bodyguard for Scotland. Sometimes they even don the gear (including a feather- plumed hat) and shoot some arrows. A long way from shifting newspapers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own