Monday, September 20, 2010

So Wayne Rooney’s prick has got him into hot water yet again. Last time it was because he was having it off with a prostitute old enough to be his granny and everyone thought that was totally gross, not that it was any affair of theirs who has it off with whom. This time he was having it off not just with one girl but in a threesome as well and this while his wife was having their baby. Naturally she’s as peeved as all get out and evidently with tears in his eyes he’s promising to be a good boy and to please take him back. I don’t know how the story got out – was it kiss and tell? – but evidently there are already thousands of holier than thou folk on Facebook baying for blood. Rooney earns two and a half million a year from sponsorship and the mob are demanding his sponsors cut him off as he is no role model for the kiddies. One letter writer was complaining bitterly that her grandson had just forked out a small fortune, £95 for a Manchester United shirt and shorts. Guess the kid must have been loaded.
Talking of money, here is a letter I have written to the Film Editor of The Guardian -

Dear Sir,
I was most intrigued by Andrew Roberts’ article in which he mentions the Children’s Film Foundation, The Magnificent 6½ and The Double Deckers so, as the person initially responsible for bringing these to the screen, I thought I would add to it as there is a whole other story here.

The publicity blurb at the time for The Magnificent 6½ credited Henry Geddes as coming up with the idea. Henry had to get a credit somewhere down the line so this was it when, in actual fact, it was I who came up with the idea and this is how it happened. As the screenwriter I was working on the film ‘A King’s Story’ and was seated in the cutting room in Wardour Street with Harry Booth and Roy Simpson when Harry said, ‘The CFF wants us to come up with an idea for a series, any suggestions?’ Oh, how I’ve always wished I had had a tape recorder then because my reply was, ‘Why not do an English version of ‘Our Gang?’ To which they both replied ‘Who was our gang?’ So I gave them a brief description of the gang in the little movies I saw as a child and that is how The Mag6½ was born. Naturally I was then principal writer on the series and followed it up with some ghosting on the second series and then writing for and script editing ‘The Double Deckers,’ and this is where it becomes a whole new story.

Unfortunately at Elstree Studios where we were filming a crooked accountant was employed who stole some money. It was hardly a vast sum but it was the beginning of 20th Century Fox’s intransigence. ‘The Double Deckers’ was made literally for peanuts. If I remember correctly £25000 an episode and has been shown not only in the UK a number of times and syndicated in the states but released all over the world and has been a great success. Currently there are pirated DVD’s advertised on the internet that we keep on having to put a stop to as there is no official DVD as is usually claimed..

I know how well the series has done because I have four songs in it and consequently have received some royalties from Performing Rights whenever and wherever it was aired but have any of us involved, despite contracts, received one penny in royalties from 20th Century Fox? The answer is a resounding ‘no.’ And why? Because Fox maintains the show has never gone into profit.

Roy Simpson, the English producer went over to America to have a face to face and left with egg all over his when the executive he was questioning said, and these were his exact words or so Roy told us, ‘Roy, why don’t you take a beating and f… off?’ Great diplomacy from a major corporation.

A few years back I received a small cheque from France but this had nothing to do with Fox. The Writers’ Guild both here and in the states got nowhere with them.

So surely if you think at least we would make some money out of the songs again you would be wrong. Cherry Records have recently released a CD of the music but are paying no royalties whatsoever. When questioned they replied they bought the rights outright from the previous owners who bought them from the previous owner who bought them from the previous owners, 20th Century Music, who said they didn’t keep records going back more than twenty years!

So the poor writers and actors get nothing while others make money out of their work. And now as I approach my eightieth birthday I could do with some of it. So much for international copyright.

Three pages of my autobiography ‘No Official Umbrella’ are devoted to this story.

Yours faithfully,

(Since then we have news of another company putting the show out on DVD due for release in November. Shit!)

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