Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Blair's best-selling move?

Tony Blair with troops

Cynics everywhere must have grinned from ear to ear when the news broke that Tony Blair planned to donate the profits from his memoirs to The Royal British Legion's Battle Back Challenge Centre.

Newspapers across the country have questioned the former prime minister's kind gesture towards the charity and some ask if it is a choice made due to guilt over the 2003 Iraq war. We question it too.

Sales figures of Blair's new autobiography, A Journey, should now boost with the public knowing their money is going towards a good cause and not to fund Mr (and Mrs) Blair's luxurious lifestyle. Although the final amount will depend on sales of the book, it is expected that the Centre will receive a £4.5million advance and subsequent earnings.

One person who will be hoping for a top-seller is Dame Gail Rebuck, the chairman and chief executive of publisher Random House and a close friend of Mr Blair.

Industry insiders predict that the book has a bleak future and it was revealed that 500,000 copies worldwide had to be sold to break even, but the recent publicity will more than likely reverse the situation.

The Blairs are coming out in force to promote the book and will appear as a family in public for the first time since leaving Downing Street in 2007, during which time Tony is thought to have earned around £15-20million from consultancy work and public appearances.

On the plus side, this is excellent news for the British Back Challenge Centre, which will receive some much needed funds and publicity.

The Centre will be available to any member of any armed forces as long as they have been injured while on duty. It will focus on physical rehabilitation through sport and adventure activities with state-of-the-art facilities.

Hit or miss? A tricky one. A hit because the war victims have more support but a miss as they're only in the position because of Blair. And did we need reminding?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

It's grim up North?

BBC North's Peter Salmon

With the world of business and media becoming more evenly spread across our fair isle, it was only a matter of time before the BBC upped and moved from its South East barracks.

The news of the BBC's move from London to Manchester came in 2007, seeing thousands of new jobs created in Salford's new 'media city', but this week Northerners have been given some confusing news from BBC North director Peter Salmon.

Despite being the creative mind behind BBC North and overseeing the £877 million relocation, Salmon says he has no intention of moving to Salford, instead staying in his Twickenham home and renting an apartment in Salford - at the expense of the license payer.

Salmon explains his son, with wife ex-Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire, is at a 'critical time' in his education, and believes the move would be detrimental to the family, who will stay behind in their £1.85 million semi-detached home in South West London.

But others are more sceptical, and are bemused by his wife's decision to stay in the South after spending five years playing lovable blonde - and iconically Northern - Coronation Street character Raquel Watts.

Just five days before Salmon announced he wouldn't be making the move up North, he's been quoted at a press conference saying: "We're really trying to change the relationship fundamentally between ourselves and license fee payers in the North of England."

The majority of Northern viewers already disagree with the license fee, as studies show. Mr Salmon should be careful not to further damage the reputation of the BBC in the North.