The great train comedy

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The Independent Online
One of the great pleasures of being a commuter is the sense of community it creates. The sense of common purpose and a common goal is both refreshing and therapeutic. Commuting is a great leveller. Whether you are the managing director or the managing director's secretary, if the train is 10 minutes late there is nothing either can do about it.

Over the past few months quite a bond has developed between me and my fellow travellers who each morning play the lottery of life as we head up to town. We tend to catch the same train at the same time. We do not know each other's names or what each does or where each other lives but that does not deflect us from our social harmony.

Each day we play a little game. Monday is Time the Train day where each member of the party guesses when the train will actually arrive. On Tuesday it is Travellers' Tales where we regale each other with stories about our worst journeys. Wednesday we play Due To. This is a good game where each member imitates the station announcer. "We apologise to customers on platform 2 for the late running of the 8.43 service to London Waterloo. This is due to..."

At this point some excuse or other is offered and it is for the others to assess whether the excuse is true or false.

On Thursday we play something called Any Questions. Here, one person asks a train- related question and the others provide a witty or amusing answer. For instance, to the question Why is South West Trains run by a company called Stagecoach? the answers included "because it is a cowboy outfit" and "because the trains are always being held up".

On Friday we take a break from trains and have a Quiz day. (For those of you wondering what all this has to do with property I can now put you out of your misery). The question on Friday was: name three TV estate agents.

It was a winning question. Even though we all gave the 8.43 semi-fast train a miss and took the later and slower all- stations train, nobody could name a single TV estate agent or even recall a series in which they appeared.

There are programmes about doctors, nurses, firemen and lawyers but nothing about estate agents. Even in the soap operas no one could bring to mind a character whose job was to sell property.

I have no idea how all those people move into Albert Square, Brookside Close or Coronation Street but they seem to do it without the assistance of an estate agent.

This might account for the disregard in which estate agents are sometimes held. The estate agent as hero is a concept which is alien to this country.

I will be submitting shortly a "treatment" to the broadcasting companies suggesting a drama series which features estate agents as the lead characters. It will be called The Loan Arrangers and will demonstrate the high drama of the property market and the immense contribution to social welfare which is made by estate agents.

Once the profession is brought to life on the small screen not only will there be a dramatic uplift in the nation's understanding of the property market, but also aspirational role models will be created,

Young children will no longer want to be Mel B out of Spice Girls or Robbie out of Take That, they will want to be Sally out of Loan Arrangers.

Once my treatment is complete I will provide readers with a synopsis in this column and keep you apprised of its progress with the broadcasters.

I don't know about New Labour, but New Drama for the autumn - now you're whistling, Dixie.

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