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."

News
peopleTop Gear presenter and all-round controversialist is at it again
Life & Style
techHow a 'grey brick' took over the world of portable gaming
Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

VIDEO
News
Coren Mitchell, who is the daughter of the late broadcaster Alan Coren and is married to comedian David Mitchell, produced a hand to make poker history at the 98th EPT main event.
peopleJournalist and TV presenter becomes first ever two-time winner of the European Poker Tour
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Computer Science)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...

C#.NET Delphi SQL Developer (C#,DELPHI,SQL)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...

VB.NET SQL Junior-Mid Level Developer (VB.NET,SQL,Excellent com

£25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...

Trade Support, Application Support, Operations Analyst, CRM MS

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players