Jan Leeming Blog

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

ALL THAT GLITTERS

Date: 18th April 2021

ALL THAT GLITTERS

If you’ve read my last two Blogs, you might expect me to show a certain ‘Schadenfreude’ over the poor and lukewarm reviews but I actually feel sorry for, what I see, as a superb opportunity missed.

I believed the concept of a ‘Challenge Programme’ was to encourage ‘Audience Participation’. Had the programme been more ‘user friendly’ it might have encouraged others to take up Jewellery making as a hobby which can be lucrative or, even if you don’t sell, offers a lovely opportunity to make a bespoke piece for a friend or relative. Friends ask me to make on commission but I always gave them as presents - not considering my efforts worthy of a price.
The participants all seemed to be semi professional which perhaps would discourage a desire to participate.    Their pieces were complex which might have been a disincentive for members of the public to think they too might ‘have a go’.

I agree with Critics that the Judges were dull and didn’t seem to engage. Although he has a pedigree to fill a book perhaps all Shaun Leane’s enthusiasm goes into his designs because he seemed almost bored. Being the first progamme, perhaps they were nervous although it really should have been the competing jewellers who were so, having to create a piece against the clock

As for the Presenter, she obviously knew nothing about jewellery and didn’t engage with the participants. I am at a loss to understand why a Canadian Comedian should be chosen to do the job. One of her remarks was ‘smutty’ and another was unacceptable in today’s climate.

It was the first programme and may improve as it warms up - at least it isn’t another Cookery programme thank goodness. There’s nothing wrong with Cookery and I’ve presented two series in the dim and distant past but it does seem to rather dominate the Airwaves.

I sincerely hope All That Glitters will improve with bedding in, otherwise other programmes surrounding the fascinating story of Jewellery through the ages won’t stand a chance with the dreaded Commissioning Editors. They and producers all piggyback on success and most are not willing to take a gamble or think outside the box.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


ALL THAT GLITTERS - BBC series - First Programme

Date: 14th April 2021

ALL THAT GLITTERS

As you know I have a vested interest in this programme having made the same - or similar - approach with the idea to the BBC in 2017. It is well night impossible to Patent an idea. I was asked if I’d be happy to have my Proposal passed to a Production Company with whom the BBC were having talks. A few months later, I was told the idea had hit the buffers and thought no more about it. Not the first time I’ve been disappointed or missed out in 50 years of broadcasting. I’ve often been ahead of the curve having made Food Programmes in the 80’s which never hit the National Screens and also a Regional ‘Cook Back in Time’ combination of Cookery and History which again didn’t make it to National TV but has since been produced in a similar style.

So, as you can imagine, I watched All that Glitters last night NOT with an open mind:) and very much of a vested interest.

All, but two, of the elements I’d suggested in my original Proposal were there but with a few alterations which I do not feel enhanced the Programme.

Having attended Jewellery and Silversmithing Classes for many years, my concept was to have participants taking part in the Challenge who were hghly competent but not professional - so that the programme might encourage members of the public to consider taking up jewellery or silversmithing as a hobby and even a way of making some pocket money. (Most of the Challenge programmes from Baking to Sewing have engendered interest in the Crafts displayed and a desire to  ‘have a go’)

Last night the participants were more than capable. The pieces they produced were extremely well executed but of a standard which, I believe, would have deterred a beginner. The bespoke piece could well have been purchased in a High Class Jewellery Shop costing many hundreds. 

At my classes, it was lovely to see the progress we all made and how proficient many became. One very old lady of 90+ who’d been attending classes for over 20 years produced a superb Silver bracelet incorporating beautifully set stones and patterned piercing. It was so beautiful I asked if she would make one for me on commission. She declined saying she didn’t think it was good enough. It certainly would and I’d have been happy to pay several hundreds for it in a shop.

I had suggested two Famous Jewellery Designers as judges and would have chosen flamboyant designers like Andrew Logan or more traditional but still unusual designers like Wendy Ramshaw - they'd have injected Colour into the programme

Sorry to be so critical but I’d never heard of last night's judges and they were both rather dull. There was no warmth or fun emanating from them. In fact the gentleman looked as though he was bored and would rather be somewhere else. It was interesting to read that the female had never been traditionally taught.

As for the Presenter - a comedian- heaven knows why she was chosen except that other Challenge programmes are using Comedians and Actors and Producers rarely think outside the box. She knew nothing about jewellery and made a few smutty remarks.

I would love to have seen more engagement with the participants

So what were the missing elements which I’d presented. Well one of them I’m keeping under my hat because there could still be a series made of that one element. Though if All That Glitters kills interest in Jewellery, my proposal will struggle to find a market.

The other element was that I’d suggested, as a prize for the overall winner, a possible one year apprenticeship with one of the Jewellery Designer Judges.

Maybe, in a future programme a prize might be announced but I’m not sure I could sit through another 5 programmes. 

In my humble opinion, most of today's producers don't appear to understand that Presenting and Interviewing is a job in itself.  Actors should act, Comedians should stick to comedy and if you want to elicit information from a guest, use a presenter/interviewer.  That being said some, Actors do make good presenters but many don't.  There's one male actor whom I greatly admire as an actor but his voice, when not being seen, is too weak for presenting documentaries - again - simply my opinion.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


ALL THAT GLITTERS - BBC series

Date: 7th April 2021

ALL THAT GLITTERS - BBC Programme

I AM GUTTED

Nearly a decade ago, seeing all the Challenge Programmes on TV, and because I attended Adult Education Jewellery and Silversmithing classes, I believed there was mileage in a Jewellery Challenge. I saw the beautiful pieces being made by ‘ordinary members of the public’ from all walks of life. One of the most able was a 94 year old. She made a superb bracelet and I asked if she'd make one for me. She replied that she didn’t think she was good enough.

I tried to market the idea of a ‘Jewellery Challenge’ but got nowhere. I don’t have any friends in high places or any powerful contacts.

In 2017 I made an inexpensive Promotion Video and typed out the treatment including how to cover in an interesting way the more laborious and not particularly visually exciting elements of making jewellery such as polishing and filing.  I itemised details of Heats to be judged by Professional Jewellers such as Theo Fennell and Andrew Logan with a prize either financial or a Year's tuition with one of the judges.  

Decades ago, if you had a programme idea, you could contact the Commissioning Editors of both BBC and ITV and if they thought there was any mileage in the idea it would be passed to Producers and if anyone could see potential they’d adopt the idea and run with it.

All this changed and mere individuals could no longer approach Commissioning Editors but had to go through Production Companies who, by their very nature were also in the same position of having to work on ideas and present them, more often than not to meet a Blank Wall of rejection and a financial loss.

Because The Real Marigold Hotel was put up for a BAFTA, we were all invited to the Award Ceremony along with the Commissioning Editor for BBC Two - Claire Sillery. I did approach her and asked if it would be possible for me to submit my idea. She kindly agreed and then passed it on to another Commissioner Clare Paterson. The latter asked if she could pass on my suggestion to a Production Company with whom they were having talks. Of course I agreed and then heard nothing. Many months later I contacted Ms Paterson and was told that all had come to nought.

Then in 2019 I took the idea further and made a proper Promotional Video at not inconsiderable cost to me. Having been advised that the ‘Challenge’ Idea was Passé, I changed my approach slightly and kept the Challenge element but put more emphasis onto the time element to be covered whilst the ‘boring’ bits were being executed.

I’ve always loved Jewellery and am fascinated by the stories attached to some of the most famous. It was whilst doing research for a talk in Canterbury Cathedral that my interest was sparked by the story attached to the Black Prince’s Ruby which is in the Coronation Crown.
I did more and more research and came up with 13 ‘Cursed Gems’ the stories about which would have been interspersed into the Jewellery programme.

This Promo Video was also shown to several people and, of course, I had to talk about it in order to see if I could garner any interest.

Nothing came of all my efforts

Decades ago at some Charity Function Michael Grade (a real Kingpin of the BBC) advised me that if I had any programme ideas I should not only post them to potential users but also to myself in a Registered Envelope which I should not open

That envelope is still sitting in my Filing Cabinet but you can’t Patent an Idea and it all boils down to the word of yourself and someone else.

So I am left grinding my teeth with righteous fury but can do nothing about it. I’ve neither the funds to take on a Big Organisation nor the temperament to go through a lot of stress. There is no way I can prove anything - whether or not the Production Company producing All That Glitters has used any of my ideas.   And I repeat - it is impossible to PATENT AN IDEA.  

It was actually a friend who sent an email and told me about the forthcoming series and expressed her surprise that I wasn’t involved. She was one of many friends well aware of my project. 

I"m sure you can imagine my Anger, my frustration.  The series is being presented by a Comedienne.  For several years now Documentaries and Travel Programmes have been presented by Actors etc.  A few of them make good presenters and many do not. Just because one can talk does not make for a good interviewer.   I am tired of those who ask a question of a guest and then say WOW and often miss the 'nitty-gritty' of getting a good answer.

Friends have suggested that I forget the Challenge and make a series of programmes about the Cursed Jewels for Youtube - but I've neither the Finance nor the Technical Expertise to do so.

Take care and stay safe.

Not a very happy Jan.   

Photo - a few of the pieces I made at Adult Ed classes. Centre of Crucifix was a brooch left to me by a friend and as I don't wear brooches I utilised it in a necklace cross.

 

ALL THAT GLITTERS - BBC series

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


VACCINE PASSPORT - ID cards

Date: 6th April 2021


Vaccine Cards and. ID Cards

Why are people so against a Vaccine Passport?

Could never understand the outcry against IDCards . Liberals decry them as infringing our Liberties. What liberties I ask you?

Put together what is known about us ON LINE , by HMRC; DVLA; NHS, the CENSUS etc and so forth and there’s little left to the imagination.

Just think what happens when you go to a shop (in the good old days) or when you order something online - you put in your name and Postcode and up comes your address. Some sites even store the last few digits of your Credit card. Somewhere, somehow absolutely everything is known about us

French have carried ID Cards for decades and they aren’t a nation known for ‘toeing the line’.

I also believe that an ID Card would help stop much Benefit and other Fraud. All the information already known about you in various departments, brought together in a One Stop Shop.
Just think if you were in an accident - your ID card would tell the rescuers what Blood Group if in need of a transfusion; if you were suffering from a condition like Diabetes for example. What could be easier and more efficient.

However, even if the majority did not object, there is the question of cost - and Governments don't like to spend money although they are happy to waste a huge amount on failed projects.:):)

If you’ve nothing to hide, why object? 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


THE OPRAH WINFREY INTERVIEW - Harry and Megan

Date: 10th March 2021

THE OPRAH INTERVIEW

WELL - What can one say. I think most of us were shocked that such a privileged couple should air their dirty linen in public and cause so much hurt to the Queen and the wider Royal Family

I’ve watched several panels discussing the Interview and read many articles.

Many points have been made about Harry’s trauma over his Mother’s death and how he’s never really forgiven his father Prince Charles. But how someone who has been totally open about his own Mental problems could not have helped his wife, or obtained help for her, if she really did have mental problems, is beyond my comprehension. I query the mental state because many women suffer greatly when pregnant and their hormones are going crazy. Megan always appeared to be a strong young woman perfectly able to hold her own - she was never a shrinking violet - you can’t be so in the cutthroat world of Theatre.

What really amazes me is the dissection of the so called ‘racist’ remark about the colour of Archie’s skin. Harry married a very attractive Bi-racial woman who inherited far more of her Father’s genes than those of her mother. Many times in the run up to the birth I heard all around me the comment about what colour Archie ’s skin would be. The comments were not meant in a racial way I’m sure but were purely natural curiosity. Who hasn’t heard comments before the birth of a baby such as will she/he inherit the mother’s naturally curly hair, father’s straight dark hair or, as in the case of Harry - would the child have ginger hair.

The Royal Family has made a few huge mistakes over members not being allowed to marry whom they wished - notably Edward V111 and Princess Margaret who, if she’d been allowed to marry Peter Townsend might have led a very different life and might even still be with us. Andrew was not allowed to marry Koo Stark because she’d posed for a nude photo long before she met him. The biggest mistake of all, was in not allowing Charles to marry Camilla and look how that turned out. If the Queen and the upper hierarchy of the Monarchy had an ounce of Racism in them, I’m sure Harry would have been told that he was free to marry his love but that he needed to step back from The Firm. After all their past mistakes, I feel sure they wouldn’t have wanted to make another.

No - Megan was welcomed and embraced and ‘spoiled’ with a Fairytale wedding in which the Public rejoiced. Harry was probably the most popular member of the Young Royals - he was a bit of a lad, not above getting into trouble, but served his country and, after the trauma of his Mother’s death, am sure most people simply wanted him to be happy and to be allowed to choose the woman he loved. Which he did.

It seems to me that Megan was quite happy to have all the ‘goodies’ which come with being of the Royal Circle but was unhappy with the tight rope which surrounds the Royals. After all, she was a woman who’d been married, had a career and was also very outspoken. Other women have walked away from the Gilded cage of marrying into Royalty. I simply do not believe she’d no idea of the strictures which would be placed upon her life.

The couple have opted to leave the Royal Family so I was shocked to hear Megan complaining that Archie had not been given the Title of Prince and the Protection which goes with it. I understand that further down the Royal line, Prince and Princess is not an automatic title. Look at Princess Anne - the hardest working Royal by far - her children have no titles and they earn their own livings. Who knows what went on behind the scenes? Perhaps Princess Anne wanted a less restrictive life for her children and chose for them not to have any titles at all.

Yet here is Megan having taken Prince Harry away from his total family - decamping to live amongst Hollywood Royalty yet still wanting the privileges associated with Royalty in the UK. They have been bankrolled by Harry’s father to the tune of millions and now they’ve signed mega deals with Netflix. Does it all rather smack of ‘Having one’s cake and eating it?”

I feel very very sorry for Harry, Duke of Sussex and only hope he never lives to regret his decisions. They have cost him a huge amount emotionally.

As one paper quoted 'They haven't just left the House of Windsor, they've decided to burn it down on the way out!

All so very sad.


 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


MIRACLES MISSION - Raising funds

Date: 3rd March 2021

I made a flip remark on Twitter about raising funds for Miracles Mission and said I was too old to strip but there was a rather flattering photo of me taken 10 years ago which I did for the Daily Mail with permission from my son. It was to promote the Male Cancer Charity ‘Orchid’ which deals with specific male cancers. My son had Testicular cancer when he was 25 so we were happy to promote the charity. The fee went to the charity.

Although it was only a throwaway Tweet I was immediately offered £25 for a copy - money to go to Miracles Mission Silent Auction to raise funds to buy land and erect building in which to assess, treat and if possible fit prosthetics to disabled dogs and cats.

I’m a trifle reluctant to post the photo on Twitter for all the world to see but thought I could post it on my website with far fewer readers.  The butterflies on me were proper artificial ones but there weren't enough so the surrounding ones had to be photoshopped.

I’ve 2 copies and will leave the bidding open until 14th March when the official Silent Auction begins for Miracles Mission.

If anyone would like the photo - signed if you wish - then contact me leemingjd@gmail.com and after the offers come in (hopefully)  I will give you the Paypal link for Miracles Mission.  A follower on Twitter has already offered £25.

Hope you don’t mind my being cheeky but if you don’t ask you don’t get. I don’t think the photo was photoshopped very much and anyone looks better being shot from above as all the floppy bits and wrinkles sink to the side??

Hopefully thanking you. Jan 

MIRACLES MISSION - Raising funds

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


COME DINE WITH ME

Date: 3rd March 2021

A Twitter follower told me that Come Dine With Me is to be repeated - yet again - this Sunday on More4.

I’ve lost count of how many times the programme has been repeated - if only we got repeat fees!

The programme has to be over 10 years old because my son - though edited out of the programme - chose the wines and served them - and he went to Australia 10 years ago

I remember the recording because we had heavy snow and it complicated matters when one had to wait around before being allowed in to a house - yes we were in cars but they grow cold after a while.

I had wanted to invite a friend to play the harp and then thought it might look too posh. Donal Mcintyre had a guitarist so if he could do it, so could I and went ahead and asked my friend to play. He was a great hit I’m happy to say especially with the person I'd least expected to enjoy harp music.

It was a fun programme of which to be a part. By the time they got to me the production team were running out of time so asked me to pre-prepare everything for the meal. I am a relatively organised cook and measure out ingredients in advance but when it came to the Cheese Soufflé I forgot the all important Cheese! Loved the VO artist - he was very good and very funny.

If you watch it, hope you will enjoy. Jan 

COME DINE WITH ME

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


TWITTER ACCOUNT - CHARITIES I SUPPORT

Date: 3rd March 2021


I have a Twitter account which I use a great deal especially for promoting and fund raising for the various animal charitiesI support.

Just in case you are interested - here’s a run down of the links

Twitter account @Jan_Leeming

Patron. Animals Sri Lanka. @AnimalSOSSLanka

Ambassador Miracles Mission info@MiraclesMission.org

Supporter. Animals Asia @AnimalsAsia

Supporter. The Brooke @TheBrooke

I’m also Patron of Souvenir Française UK - an organisation which exists to maintain and remember the Graves and Memorials to those Frenchmen who lost their lives in the 2nd World War and who are buried far from their homeland. @SouvenirUK

This came about because of my work on honouring Free French Pilot René Mouchotte who fought in the Battle of Britain and died fighting in 1943. There was a short (15 minute) Documentary on BBC1 in 2013. https://youtu.be/oVNwEZ8KriM.

I also have a Facebook account but rarely use it. I spend too much time on Twitter as it is and have seriously neglected my Website blog - an omission I’m trying to rectify.

Take care and stay safe. If we all obey the rules, the sooner we will be able to come out of Lockdown and return to some kind of normality. I’ve found the lack of Social Intercourse very difficult and thank heaven for my two little dogs who’ve kept me sane.

Best wishes, Jan xx 

TWITTER ACCOUNT - CHARITIES I SUPPORT

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


MIRACLES MISSION CELEBRITY AUCTION

Date: 2nd March 2021

As my regular readers will know, I support several Animal Charities.

Miracles Mission is desperately trying to raise the funds to purchase land on which to build a Centre where Disabled animals will be assessed, treated and if necessary provided with Prosthetic and Doggie and Cat wheels.

For the Auction I’ve already donated the Indian Dress I wore in The Real Marigold Hotel, my very first Nine O’clock news script, and the Headband worn when I presented the Eurovision song contest. The dress was given to a charity years ago. The lots will be accompanied by the appropriate signed photos.

The other evening I was desperately thinking of more ways to boost their funds and thought of offering Tea for Two hosted by me at the RAF Club London in the beautiful Cowdray Lounge overlooking Green Park.

I was fortunate to be elected an Associate Member because of my work on the history and a documentary on the Free French Pilot René Mouchotte who took part in the Battle of Britain. https://youtu.be/oVNwEZ8KriM.  I support the BOB Memorial Fund and have also contributed to the RAF Benevolent Fund and feel very honoured to have this Membership.

The Club is iconic and very beautiful with walls festooned with RAF Memorabilia - so this would be a lovely treat particularly for anyone with an interest in the RAF.

The Auction is on March 15th but you can get your unique bidding number now at 

https://www.facebook.com/events/710290026329411/

Many thanks, Jan

MIRACLES MISSION CELEBRITY AUCTION

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


ZEN - TV Crime drama

Date: 25th February 2021


In The Times TV guide for 14th February there was an article promoting ZEN on the DRAMA Channel starring Rufus Sewell. I admire him as an actor and liked what I read in the article. Thoroughly enjoyed the programme and again this last Sunday. Was curious as to when it was made and how many in the series and was surprised to see that it came out 10 years ago and dismayed to read the series was cancelled after 3 programmes.

This was the reason, copied from Wikipedia

The series was cancelled by BBC One in February 2011; BBC One controller Danny Cohen later said there were already enough male crime-fighters on TV. Left Bank, the show's producer, tried to find other broadcasters to fund another series but were unsuccessful.

Although I enjoy Vera and other ‘Female-led’ Crime dramas, I find this PC reasoning absolutely MAD. In my humble opinion Zen is one of the best Crime Dramas I’ve watched in an age.

Perhaps the series was expensive to make as it was shot in Italy but it was a wonderful alternative to the drab home grown Detective and Crime Dramas. There are intriguing twists in the two stories I’ve seen so far - you are never quite sure who’s side Zen is working for. And his love interest is gorgeous - Caterina Murino.

I’m looking forward to the third and sadly last episode this coming Sunday.

Never used to watch Crime on TV but there’s so much dross I’ve found myself watching more and more Detective series. At least it gives some exercise to the little grey cells!

If you are interested in good Crime and Detective TV, then turn to 5USA - a channel dedicated to the medium. I’ve watched NCIS for a very long time but now have seen virtually all of them. Even the old ones like Columbo are enjoyable.

Happy viewing

 

 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.