Plus – thanks
I started writing out thanks by name to everyone who contributed to Episode 12 of The Great Post Office Trial and quite soon realised that if I did, this email would take about half an hour to read.
Could I instead, therefore, just express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed directly and/or indirectly to the episode. There were so many interviews which didn’t make the final cut due to changing editorial circumstances and then a further tranche which didn’t make it due to Nick Read’s decision to give his first interview on the matter.
There are so many people who helped out behind the scenes with information and documents and pointers and thoughts, and of course there are profound thanks are due to the world class production team, fronted by Bob Nicholson at Whistledown, who I had the pleasure of working with again.
The main thanks – as ever, goes to the Subpostmaster campaigners who gave up their time to allow us to try to do justice to their own personal stories. I know how traumatic/difficult/troubling it can be to keep articulating grim memories and ongoing experiences.
I have learned to try to request interviews sparingly, and I remain honoured and humbled by the willingness of so many good people to come forward and talk in very personal terms about what happened to them. I will not lose sight of how much of a privilege it is to hear those personal stories. There were many former Subpostmasters who featured in Ep 12, but particular thanks to Wendy and Parmod for opening up in the way they did.
Many contributors to The Great Post Office Trial series past and present read this newsletter. Please accept my, the BBC’s and the production team’s thanks and gratitude.
The doc features Dan Neidle, Ron Warmington, Paul Marshall, the minister Kevin Hollinrake and a first exclusive interview with the Post Office Chief Executive Nick Read which I grabbed in the House of Commons after last week’s select committee hearing. Both Read and Hollinrake committed to reopening compensation settlements if the schemes which are administering them are found to be unfair. I hope m’learned friends reading this will hold them to that.
I am grateful to the secret emailer who spotted the select committee transcript has finally been published. There will be more on the hapless Amanda Burton’s hopeless report into Bonusgate next week.
There will be more episodes of The Great Post Office Trial coming this year. Bob and I have got some fast-developing ideas about how to do it, and I am confident what’s coming will create an even bigger splash than before.
Noel has done it
I was delighted by the response from secret emailers to former Subpostmaster Noel Thomas’s crowdfunding campaign to get his book translated from Welsh to English.
He has smashed his £6,000 target, with the latest total standing at £9,092. That will be in no small part down to the people reading this who donated and/or forwarded the link to their networks. You are a generous, public-spirited bunch and I am proud to know you.
Those who have donated will have received an update email from Sian Thomas (Noel’s daughter) thanking everyone and making clear that the extra donated funds will go towards the marketing and publishing costs of the book. She adds:
“We are so moved and humbled as a family that so many people want to be able to read about my Dad’s story – through the medium of English this time.”
I’ve spoken to Aled (Noel and Sian’s ghostwriter) a couple of times and he could not be a nicer chap. It’s obvious the entire project is in very good hands. I cannot wait to read the finished product.
A bit busy
I’m having a bit of a rum week – I interviewed Harrison Ford and Mads Mikkelsen on the red carpet at the Indiana Jones premiere in That London’s Leicester Square on Monday, did a very early live into Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, got the doc away and then did a piece on a Paul McCartney photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery for the News at Ten (on ITV) last night.
Tomorrow and Friday I’m presenting BBC 5 Live Drive with the peerless Clare McDonnell in Salford and then on Saturday I’m doing a presentation on the Post Office scandal at Jesus College in Cambridge. This is all a roundabout way of saying I am deeply sorry I have not had an opportunity to acknowledge or respond to any of the correspondence you have so kindly sent about Post Office-related goings on.
I am very much hoping things will slow down next week so I can deal with my email mountain and try to reply to some of the people who have got in touch. Some emails have not been touched for more than a week. I am sorry.
I’m also going to start putting up more blog posts – there are a couple of outstanding matters which I think need getting into the public domain. I just need to find the time to push them out. Thank you for your patience.
Incidentally, one of the stars of Indiana Jones who was not available for interview on the red carpet on Monday was Toby Jones, who features in a significant part of the film. The reason, of course, for his absence, is that he is too busy being Alan Bates filming Mr Bates vs the Post Office for ITV.
It’s a funny old world.