Pugwash might be worth a punt as he sets sail for US

People & Business

Fancy taking a punt on Pugwash? Britt Allcroft, the AIM-listed company headed by Angus Wright, owns the world-wide rights to Captain Pugwash and has begun shooting 26 new episodes of the cartoon pirate show.

The programmes should be shown in a year's time, and while Britt Allcroft's share price has been a party-pooper over the past year they might perk up when the market hears about plans to screen Pugwash in the US.

An industry source said: "This could be bigger than Thomas the Tank Engine. It knocks the spots off Sooty and Noddy in the popularity stakes."

Britt Allcroft also holds the licence to develop products based on another cartoon hero, Thomas the Tank Engine, including toys and T-shirts.

Watch out in your local shops for Pugwash T-shirts. Other piratical clothes are mooted. Such products will never compare however with "Thomas the Tank Engine Fromage Frais" as well as Thomas rice seasoning, popular in Japan, apparently.

There has never been a better time to be a slimming trainspotter, it appears.

Thomas alone generated sales of pounds 11.5m and profits of pounds 2m for the year to June 1996, with this year's results due out on Monday. City sources expect the numbers comfortably to beat analysts' forecasts thanks to pre- Christmas sales of Thomas.

James Sherwood, the larger than life millionaire industrialist who owns the Great North Eastern Railway, has given an interview to this month's issue of The Railway Magazine which makes sobering reading for anyone planning a train journey.

At one point the American-born tycoon was asked about the telephone inquiry bureaux (TEBs) the Government ordered the new rail owners to set up after privatisation, to enable passengers nation-wide to find out train times, despite the fragmentation of the industry.

The TEBs were criticised in a recent report for failing to answer up to half of customers' enquiries. Mr Sherwood was unimpressed by the fuss.

"As far as I'm concerned, every phone call which comes into a TEB is an opportunity to sell, so we are going to have a blitz on our network and are going to say to everyone who calls in: `Don't call the TEB in future, call telesales.' "

Great North Eastern's telesales departments are separate from the TEBs and, unlike the latter, can actually flog tickets.

The rail mogul continues: "After a while, we will be able to go to the regulator and say, `Look, the number of calls we are getting to our TEBs is miniscule, so why not do away with them?' It will happen eventually, anyway, for as the number of calls to the TEBs drops we will reduce the staffing levels."

Mr Sherwood concludes with a flourish: "I know the regulator and the franchise director might not like it, but I couldn't care less what they think! Train operators have to be motivated and this is one way of doing it."

Rank Holidays is planning a big announcement for its Butlin's holiday camp business next Monday, which is why perhaps it has recruited Ken Johnston as Butlin's sales and marketing director. Mr Johnston joins from Pepsi Cola Company, where he was director of brand marketing for Pepsi's investment into central Europe.

Prior to that he was the country manager for Pepsi's launch in Israel, so he has plenty of international experience. Perhaps Butlin's is going to take on Euro Disney in France?

Back to reality. Mr Johnston, 37, got a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Lancaster after attending Exeter School, and he also has an MBA.

One of his first jobs was at Wella, the health care company, in 1986.

In 1988 he joined Pepsi Cola and spent the next eight years working abroad for the fizzy drinks company, including stints in Cyprus and Vienna.

Part of the reason for his joining Butlin's, I hear, is that he wanted to come home. Hi de Hi.

Hearing that Michael Hardern, the zany freelance butler and building society carpetbagger-in-chief, had been expelled by the Coventry Building Society before he could "make any trouble there", I phoned him up to hear his reaction.

I got a recorded message, addressed, no doubt, to the many people interested in obtaining his "Carpetbagger's Guide" on how to pressurise building societies into converting to bank status.

Mr Hardern's message says: "This is the close season for building societies until Michaelmas - 29 September. If, however, you can't resist helping, please consult carpetbagger.com [on the Internet] or send us a self-addressed envelope.

"We will send you information when hostilities re-commence in October."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Property Underwriter

£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week