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Nik Powell: 4 Nov 1950 - 7 Nov 2019

After Nik Powell co-founded Virgin with school-friend Richard Branson, he ran Palace Pictures with Stephen Woolley, and later Scala Productions, where they both produced and found some era-defining films and filmmakers (Neil Jordon, Sam Raimi, the Coen Brothers, Lars von Trier, Shane Meadows), before leading the European Film Academy, and finally running the National Film & TV School. Powell had the rare combination of creative and entrepreneurial vision – along with a perhaps even rarer warmth, openness and geniality. He passed away on 7 November 2019 at 69, during treatment for cancer.

Nik Powell photo by Doug Bolton

It was my good fortune to meet Nik a few times. The first, in Dundee in 2003, thrusting the first film funding book in his hand and taking his card. The second, two years later, a hastily arranged 8am interview in Marlybone, which follows. I was flustered with kit, having only bought a camera to film the interview the day before but not having packed the charged batter, so just recorded audio. He didn't react, shared some incredible stories, and left, an hour later, paying for our breakfasts. Despite it starting slowly as I tried to get my kit working, it gets more and more interesting and remains one of my favourite interviews; the moment when Tim Bevan enters the cafe just as he is explaining how he finds talented people would have been good on camera.

Photos by Doug Bolton.

What’s happening at the NFTS at the moment? what developments have you got planned for now and in the future?
At the NFTS we are basically shaking up the whole place, and revamping some of the courses - directing and writing in particular, other courses are fantastic so I’m not touching them at all. Sound, sound is fantastic - we’ve got two out of the five nominations for best sound on a student film of all film schools worldwide. Cinematography is still fantastic, and our graduates shoot Bond, they shoot Star Wars they shoot the Coen brothers, there’s a fantastic tradition.
Documentaries is fantastic, every single documentary sold to the BBC last year and I’m expecting to sell all this year, so that’s also good. So we’re revamping it. I’m also bringing it into the 21st century, so we’ve just started a digital post production course, which deals with all digital intermediate and digital processing and matting and so forth, and we start a special effects course in two months time and I’ve introduced a new one year foundation directors course which starts in the autumn.

Will there be any more places for directors, as that seems to be one of the most famous complaints?
We only have six. Well we actually have more than that, but between fiction, documentary and animation - and many of our most successful directors, even for live action - come out of animation and documentary. We’ve got 18 directors for each year, six for each of the disciplines in each year, so that’s 36 directors training in the school, this will increase that by a further 12, and then eventually 18 - so we’ll have over 50 directing places. But my advice to people is don’t apply for a fiction directing one. our most successful directors recently. like Sarah Gavron and so on, were out of documentary.

What do you advise producers who are trying to apply to the NFTS. To get lots of work done before they come, or come with just lots of good ideas that need developing?
Well I don’t really advise them. But the advice I would give is we would like people to be relatively mature, and have a reasonable amount of life experience. You don’t need a degree to come to the national film and television school, but you do need to show either a body of work, or from a producers perspective you need to be able to show signs anyway of either creativity or entrepreneurship. But we take people for producing from all backgrounds, because traditionally producers have come from all backgrounds. But most successful producers worldwide have come from other business first, all the way back to Samuel Goldwyn who was in glove-making, up to Arnon Milchan, who was an arms dealer, David Putnamm a photographers agent, through to myself and Saul Zaentz and quite a few others from rock and roll. But what we want is a bit of life experience because the producers have to be the most mature people in the school, you can hardly expect the fiction directors to be mature so we have too look somewhere.

Why do you think that is? Is it because you’ll have made your mistakes once and then you get to the film industry where you can’t make too many mistakes with features?
What coming from other businesses? It gives you an advantage over all these other idiots who want to produce. Because we know about business, we often come from other creative business, so even if you’re in crafts or design, you’re still used to working with designers, with creative people, so we’ve already got that under our belt. It also gives you a certain amount of steel. You can’t be a wimp. And so I think we have a big advantage, when we come into the business. It gives you a bit of time to build a bit of character as well. Whatisname, the famous Paramount head, who was responsible for Godfather and lots of others, he was from the underwear business, that’s how he began, selling underwear to actresses. And then there was the hairdresser Joel Silver, from the hairdressing business. Just life experience, understanding how people work and so on, to be able to pull things together and make them happen, leave the competition in the gutter.

Packaging something as a product seems to be something a lot of producers - who see it first and foremost as a creative venture - certainly indie producers that I speak to - seem to get more focussed on that than actual packaging it as a sellable thing.  Do you think that’s a key part? Or do you think if you focus too much on that you create a dry product?

They’re both key, you can be a creative producer if you’re in partnership with an entrepreneurial style producer, and you can be a creative producer if you’re employed by someone - at Working Title or whatever. But you can’t be an independent producer and only creative. You can’t be an independent producer and only entrepreneurial.  You know you have to have both sets of skills because they are both required, you need to create a script that will attract. The producers job is to create a script that will attract talent, the talent attracts the money, that’s how it works, there aren’t any real shortcuts. And there are certain kinds of money that are not casting sensitive, so cast doesn’t matter, certain kinds of money that are not director sensitive so therefore you can cast a first time director, there are certain kinds of money that are only really interested in tax deductions so they only real care about that you get the film made, they don’t care about quality or anything else. So you need the different skills, but you need to be able to create things that attract interesting talent. Because most of the producers - everything is a process - what we’re trying to do is make a film that stands up, gets released, and hopefully people go and see and the critics like. We might not achieve all these things, but that is really our goal, everything else is just a means to get that - so the process in itself is geared to that, it’s not geared to whether the distributors like it, whether financiers like it all of those things, I’m saying the obvious, but things you have to do to get to the end point. But we will not change things. most of my producer colleagues will not change anything if it will lose our main audience, even if it will get us some money. But it will be tricky because you don’t want to spend two years making a film that will go down the plug hole, that no-one ever sees. We’ve all made those films of course - just look at my CV, quite a few of them - too many. Sometimes a producer is far too focussed on the means and they’re kind of treating it as an end - get the film made and that’s all that counts. But it’s not actually, its the least important thing, the most important thing is to get a film that the people that you make it for want to go and see.

How do you advise people to approach talent - if you’re a first time producer without a track record?
Well I think in the proper way. You know I don’t think there are shortcuts in this. As lovely as it is to drink with Rachel Weisz till four o’clock in the morning, there are other things on my mind than selling her a script at that point, I’m sure. I actually think familiarity can breed contempt. So the best way is to create an interesting script and to therefore impress an agent with the script so that that agent can recommend it as something that their client must read.
Occasionally you bump into, someone I just had sitting next to me Juliet Stevenson, not Juliet Stevenson, um the younger one, one of my favourite actresses. And I don’t have anything in particular to put in front of her, but definitely it was good to just know her, so when I do have the right thing to offer her I know that I can talk to her about it.
You want to talk to them in sober circumstances. Of course I have given people scripts in bars and so forth, in the Majestic, but it’s not the best way, it’s a little kind of seedy, it doesn’t have class about it. But you can invite them to have a coffee with you at the Majestic in Cannes, or you can, you know, take them out and meet them the next day. Or with directors, obviously, there I think it is helpful to spend time with them, and go out into the night and so forth to earn some kind of trust and camaraderie. That does I think help and work.

With 24-7 which you produced for Shane Meadows - did he contact Bob Hoskins on the fly?
No we did it - because we’d had Bob in two films already, so we - I have done lots of business with his agent. So we spoke to Harriet Robinson, his agent, and we arranged for Bob and Shane to meet, which wasn’t difficult because Shane’s work sold itself, you know that could have been another director with nothing like as impressive short films and they wouldn’t have got to meet bob. Of course when Shane did meet bob they got on like a house on fire. They were the same kind of size and you’d seem them wondering around together like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and they got on as me and Steve expected them too - fabulously, like Shane and Paddy Considine - they get on like that and its fantastic. But that would never have happened if Shane had not made a great short, well not one great short but about five fantastic shorts, people think it has to do with contacts, but I think it helped me and Steve saying to Harriet this is a cool director, you’ve got to get Bob to look at these shorts this is out of the ordinary and then Harriet would look at them and she saw they were great and she told Bob he should bloody well watch them and he did and of course Bob loved it, because you know Bob’s gonna like those kind of shorts but we could have completely different type of shorts, wouldn’t have been up Bob’s ally and there’d have been no meeting. So it’s the work that sells itself, obviously people are a bit sensitive. but to me in my experience in general it’s the work itself that sells itself, that you sell, and if you haven’t got that it’s very hard.

If a director has got a great short - is the only way to get someone like yourself to see it to get it screened in a major festival
I watch shorts all the time, hundreds of them, and I love it cos there’s lots of great work in there but there’s also lots of crap. There’s lots of stuff where you think they’re not going to make it - we could be wrong. It’s part of my job, but obviously in terms of getting films into festivals, my priority is to getting my own students films into festivals, that’s what I focus on, but then I see at the festivals, and indeed people send me shorts, and I see them at the smaller festivals - watched all the shorts at Birds Eye, all the winning shorts, fantastic shorts at those, I did the Jury at Bristol, I did the Jury at Cardiff. I love watching shorts, because a lot of them are very funny, you know it’s a pleasure. So if people want to get their shorts into festivals, the programmers are pretty good, and it is worth getting to know the programmers, you know and befriending them - not the festival directors, but the short programmers, whoever’s in charge of each festival branch - they decide what gets accepted. you want to befriend them and make sure they do get a proper look.

Are there any particular UK short film festival the NFTS has a special friendship with?
I hope I’m friends with all of them. You know I’ve been showing my films at London and Edinburgh obviously on the feature film side for 25 years and I’m a particular fan of Edinburgh. I love Edinburgh film festival. and then on the shorts festivals, Bristol is outstanding,  and I don’t have such a long relationship with them, about two or three years.

Internationally where do you think you focus on when it comes to features and shorts?
They’re all good really, there’s a double trick - you’ve got to enter your short films into the festivals that qualify you to submit your short for BAFTA and the Oscars, if you’re at that kind of quality otherwise don’t worry, and qualify you for the European Film Awards, so on each of the sites, the EFA site shows 13 festivals and the winners of each of those festivals is the nominees for the europe. To get you film to be qualified for an Oscar, like Wasp won this year, you have to win at one or other festival or other big awards and there’s a list of them at the AMPAS site. BAFTA is, if you don’t have a film version which most people don’t then you’ve got to be pretty much any of the main festivals, and they list it on the site.

When it comes to features  where do you most of your business?
The big three Cannes, Toronto, Venice axis are all great places to launch films, but certain kind of films I would not bother at Cannes about. Because if you’re in competition at Cannes then your being watched by the Mediterranean bougerouisee and film industry and its not a real audience. but if you have the right kind of film then its a terrific place to be, directors fortnight is more fun and there are two other sections.
But most of us love Toronto because the audiences are so positive. They say you could film the yellow pages and you’d still get a standing ovation. But you gotta get them in, everyone can theorise but if they don’t select you it’s all a complete waste of brain energy. And a lot of its to do with timing in your film because we all know its finished, it’s difficult, you can sort of not do Cannes, but do Toronto but you wouldn’t be able to wait until Berlin the following year. And there are little festivals where you can kickstart things.

Nik Powell photographed by Doug Bolton

What was the first film you took to a festival or market to sell?
Company of Wolves was the first one and we took that to MIFED which is a market not a festival and we sold it to America, to Cannon, and they paid loads of money for it. It was a bit worrying because I did the whole deal with the famous partners at Cannon, Menahem [Golam] and Yoram [Globus], and at the end of the meeting Yoram said to Menahem, ‘don’t you think you should see the film?’, because we were number one at the British box office at the time, he was like ‘oh no it’s number one in England, I’m sure it’s fine’, and Yoram said ‘no before you sign this I think you should go see the film’ and I thought fuck me they’re going to hate the film, I thought I was going to get away without having to show it to them. So they asked me when the screening was, and I said there’s one tomorrow at 9am. So I came in at quarter to 9 and I went off to get a coffee, and I came back and it was about ten past nine and I looked in the hall and there was no Menahem in there where I was showing the film - there was only about 20 people in there, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning.
So I went down to the Cannon office and there was Menahem and I said - well I just assumed he’d hated it and walked out and that was the end of this my first fairly major international deal. I was about to say did you hate it, but fortunately I didn’t. He said, ‘ah Nik, we can close the deal now’. I said ‘what do you mean you’ve only seen like ten minutes of it’ - he said ‘Nik my own films I only see ten frames, I seen ten minutes of your films, it’s fine’ -  and the first ten minutes is just a Volvo driving, it’s got nothing to do with the rest of the film.
So he signed, it’s essentially an art film really, but they released it like a horror film. I remember me and Steve saw it in a house in New York, which was quite a downmarket horror house and they definitely didn’t like the film, but the critics loved it and it was a big hit here in the UK.

Did you sell the other territories one by one or did you have a sales agent?
The financier was also the sales agent - ITC - that was one of the most famous, one of the richest people in Australia called Holmse Court (??), he was really pleased, went to number one, he thought incredible - but then when we came to do our next film, we brought Letter to Brezhnev / Mona Lisa to him we heard that he eventually watched the film and hated  it and then didn’t want to do any more films with us even though it had been a big hit, so quite interesting

How do you take it as a producer if someone turns around and slates your product
Oh I don’t care because most people have lousy taste and judgment. It’s like the good script syndrome, it’s like every successful film has a great script, but when I’ve been involved in some of those successful films and taken the script around, 90% of people hated the script, but suddenly its a great script because its a hit, so these things are subjective. There are people in this business whose opinions I take totally seriously, like my ex- partner Steve Woolley. Jeremey Thomas, you know, heavyweights. But the majority of the industry, they’ve never made a film, they’ve never had a hit, it’s what do they know. they may be great script development executives but they don’t have any kind of proven track record. Most of the people - a lot of the people are just film employees. I say just - but I’m an employee myself now of the NFTS. so I don’t worry.
But if a film is not successful then I always look and analyse that to see where I’ve gone wrong. Maybe I didn’t develop the script enough, maybe I did cast it wrong - or or allowed the director to cast it wrong, or maybe it was the wrong story at the wrong time, whatever, I like to take a good hard long look when things don’t work, maybe it was just the execution of the film and we fucked it up and did a bad job - but I don’t need someone else to tell me that. But failure informs you.
And if it’s a critical hit and a box office failure then I don’t feel so bad because we’ve got a good film and we’ve got it out there and for one or other reason it hasn’t worked, but that people think its a good film, it just hasn’t caught fire.
But a general industry thing - the first screening I ever went to in the industry was a screening of The Killing Fields. So I went in and thought, fantastic film, playing Imagine at the end was a piece of genius, it’s a difficult subject matter, it really fucking delivers. I couldn’t find a single other person who was in that screening room and it was all people from the industry, who liked the film. They’ve all got an axe to grind. They all hate Putnam, I mean they would never say that to him, but they’re all jealous of his success. And it was all, ‘I don’t think that was very good’, and ‘playing Imagine at the end what a sell out’, and, ‘performance by Sam Waterstone, ooh I don’t know’ - he went on to be nominated for an Oscar of course, and nine months later when all that happened they were all ‘yeah yea thought it was fantastic, that Sam Waterstone performance was outstanding.’ and you go no no these are people who have to really run to keep their jobs. But to me it was just a really fantastic piece of filmmaking and it had to be admired and liked and made an important statement about the world, I don’t care about how untrendy someone is - Putnam or whoever - but the film speaks for itself, and so often I’ve been at screenings where 90% of people have walked out. Like my most famous example was Blood Simple, Coen brothers movie. And that was distributors seeing it, not English industry people who would have hated it even more.
I went in with Joel and Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi and Bob Tappert, and Sam Raimi had put me onto it and we’d done Evil Dead together already, and Paul Webster - I had in distribution at the time - and me. We sat down in this crowded screening, because it was called Blood Simple obviously all these distributors thought it was going to be a fantastic slasher movie, and of course it is a very slow paced movie. So when I woke up from the film at the end there was only Joel and Ethan, me and Paul, and Sam and Bob Tappert in the cinema, there were about three other people, it’d had been packed at the beginning but I hadn’t noticed because I’d been so involved in this incredible film. So I knew I could get the film for like next to nothing, which I did.
And when I saw Lars von Triers’ first film Element of Crime, most people have never seen it, I paid $5000 for that, in MIFED again, very weird film as one might expect from Lars von Triers’ first film. I brought it back and I proudly showed it to all the staff at Palace, showed it to Daniel Battsek who was head of distribution at the time, who now runs Disney. He and some of the staff came back to my office, and came to see me and said ‘Nik, we’ve just watched this film, it’s completely crap, and if you were not our boss, we’d fire you.’ That’s the advantage of being a boss is people can’t fire you. The banks can fire you, but they can’t.
So when Steve and I saw Diva, we saw Diva in LA, we flew from LA to Paris to make the deal because we thought it’s gonna be a hit. It’s a flash film about absolutely nothing, beautiful paced, beautifully made flash superficial film and it doesn’t matter that it’s in French, it went onto do huge business. Evil Dead Steve saw himself and came back and said we had to buy it, and they met this young filmmaker and I decided the only reason Steve wanted to sign this film was because Sam called Steve Sir. Steve’s a working class north London boy and sam is a mid-western, more middle class. of course they’re trained in those manners - they call you Sir. and so there’s 19-year old sam calling 22-year old Steve Sir, and that was too much for Steve and he had to sign it. No he loved it and he thought the movie was fantastic and he was right.
Very often you’re alone and very often you’re not. My Left Foot or Cinema Paradiso we were up against Harvey Weinstein, who we were also making films for them, so that was kind of tricky, there was lots of double dealing involved, but we won out in the end.

It seems getting the right producing partner must help a lot, how did your relation-ship with Steve come about, how easy was it to create?
I’ve been lucky in my partners. I’ve had the same number of partnerships as I’ve had marriages, but the partnerships lasted longer, tho they all ended at the end of the day because I’m not a believer that things need to last forever to be valuable. And you remain friends with your partners even when you stop being their partners. In fact I think one of the secrets of remaining friends with your partners - both in marriage and in business - is stopping them at the right time, and not getting to the point where you want to murder each other. So I’ve been lucky with Branson and Woolley - and I’ve always looked for people who are not the same as me, that are very complimentary to me, whom I deeply trust. Now not a lot of people would deeply trust Woolley or Branson, but I do, and I think they’ve got very special qualities that you don’t find in other people.
I specifically after [the partnership with] Richard ran out, I wanted someone who combined creativity and business and Steve had reprogrammed the Scala cinema that me and Branson had bought and put some money up to kind of rescue it because it was going bankrupt. And our friend Jo Boyd who was on the board of it had recommended this little punk guy to run it, so I met Steve and he impressed me and Richard hugely about what he was going to do to turn it around. And a lot of people do that - they have the mouth, but then they don’t actually turn it around, but Steve did and he turned it around with a mixture of putting on the Clash and the Sex Pistols who were unknown at the time and throwing out all the European films and programming it with American absurdist films, early John Waters and suchlike - good eastern European films because Steve loves films from everywhere, and he turned it around and we were in profit within 12 months of him taking over. The cinema never made money, but it was creative, you know Steve knew the value of having midnight shows by the Sex Pistols, its not easy to organise. So I thought that’s my man, and when I sold out of Virgin I approached him because he had the qualities I want.

It seems you had a remarkable range of talent working for you - people like Daniel Batsek, Robert Jones, and did you say Paul Webster as well? Was that just coincidental, or serendipitous even?
No, no it was because myself and Steven Woolley, and before that myself and Branson - I think our very hiring practices were very different to our competitors. We were never very interested in experience, for instance.
First of all we couldn’t afford to pay what our competitors could pay, both at Virgin and at Palace, so we couldn’t pay for experienced people. I learnt this off Richard really, we basically employed people who we figured were intelligent, had intelligence and insight and focus and ambition, and we didn’t really care if they’d worked for a farm.
And that’s what we required. So when Battsek came into my office he had worked in the mailroom at Hoyts in Australia and he was dead impressive, I sent him over to Paul. Paul, Steve had brought in because he’d programmed the Gate cinema and Steve was very im-pressed and Steve was saying we did need someone who knew a little bit about distribution.
(calls) Hi Tim, how you doing?
(welcome from Tim Bevan who has just entered the cafe)
Mr Bevan
So, that’s how we tried to find people. Er, yeah, intelligence and focus is much more important than anything else.

What about what happens when fallouts happen? There was that famous one with you and Branson.

What when I wanted to make Virgin a co-operative?


Well he got upset didn’t he so I didn’t - (laughter) I’m not stupid.
Richard exaggerates. I think to him it was quite big, actually I think he thought I was betraying him. But it wasn’t the case. But no I thought that he would be empathetic, you know, it was the sixties. But in spite of the fact I’ve known him since I was four I misjudged that slightly.

But that was resolved because he offered me 40%. So I thought fuck this cooperative (laughs), and that’s the end of my little cooperative ventures.

I was editing an interview with Gus van Sant and he was saying a remarkable number of people from the sixties and the hippie generation grew up to became almost neo-conservatives and arch capitalists, would you say this same shift happened amongst your contemporaries or was that just a natural thing, almost inevitable?
No, no, some of them are still, I mean some did. You know I mean Richard was always this sort of an adventurer rather than a hippy, and he was certainly not into cooperative type things from a early age like things since this was 1968... so he didn’t change, he remained exactly the same. People like Tarq Ali is still just as, if not more left wing than he ever was, Coen Bendit (?) is in the European parliament but is still very much in the left who led the 68 thing.
But then you’ve got Peter Hain who led the campaign against apartheid and was a mega leftie just forcing through these new - he’s the leader of the house - and he’s forcing through these new anti-terrorist laws.

I didn’t realise this
Yeah he was a total radical.
But then the German guy, he’s the number two guy in the German government, he’s the leader of the Green party and he’s always in the news, he was on the barricades as well, the famous pictures of him on the barricades in the sixties, and now he’s number two, the equivalent to Gordon Brown in Germany, not running as Chancellor, but running foreign affairs, he’s always in the news for this or that, he’s still I think really consistent in his credentials.
Ken Loach, you couldn’t get more consistent than Ken (laughs) he’s never veered one little bit.
Maybe in America more so, they’re more of an entrepreneurial nation, but still, still some that have remained very truthful - Jane Fondas ex husband, and Jane Fonda herself actually is a liberal, there’s a lot. But then - I don’t know when you look at Steve Jobs, someone like that, (taps my laptop) Mr Apple. Well. I dunno if he’s. I don’t think he is a neo-conservative, I think he’s still very much a liberal, if not - I mean the Americans are never left wing in the British sense of the word. But, I think he’s still pretty liberal.

Do you think there is still a place for co-operatives? Martin Spence at BECTU was suggesting that it may be the way to go for unpaid work on microbudget shorts.
I don’t think BECTU should be involved in 1000 pound films, they should let people go along with their DV cameras and make their stories and they should just not get involved. I think that their business is you know when people are making film or TV and co-operative ventures of course have worked in the past and there will always be a case for them in the future.
I don’t think they are necessarily the answer to any kind of general problem, but they’re good for an organisation that’s proven to work in all sorts of businesses and pulling people together - you know from United Artists onwards. They’ve been using co-operatives since last century, and they’re still around today, must be doing something right, they’ve survived, attacks from capitalists and so on, and they’re still there. I mean. John Lewis is a co-operative. Its owned by its customers
United Artists. Successful. I mean its not a co-operative now but it was when it started
There’s tons of them. But you know very often they don’t stay as co-operatives for ever, but they started effectively as co-operatives, between artists or indeed business guys. Combining.

Have you any advice for qualities producers should nurture to help build up a company?
Well I’m not the best person, as I said earlier to -

Well you’re one of the most prolific producers -
I know but I don’t I never believed in this building your company up. I think Tim has done it fantastically.
There’s only a few. Film producers produce films, that’s what we do for a living, and everything is simply to service that purpose. There is not a - other than the Working Title model, I think there’s not a business model that works.
And it’s only the people who are on salaries who think that there is a business model that works. You can have 500 examples to show that they don’t work, and you know producers should concentrate on producing, not on building businesses, and if they happen to have successful films they’ll have lots of cashflow and there’ll be a business there and if they don’t they don’t.
So my advice to a producer is concentrate on producing, because that is your core business, and people should stick with their core businesses, it’s not about building a business, unless you’re a real entrepreneur, in which case you know, Working Title, or the Palace model which could have worked, then your an entrepreneur and your core business is distributing and secondarily producing. And that can work, but that’s a different thing. I don’t believe a production company in itself is a viable business model. I think producing for yourself is a viable life, a very viable life, a nice life.

Final question - if you had three magic wishes for the British film industry to lift themselves up a bit a either at a government level or at a producers attitude level
I don’t know but do you know there’s this joke, there’s a producer a director and an actor stranded on this a desert island, and a genie comes along and says you’ve got one wish so the director says well I’ve just got my first Hollywood deal I’ve got to be in Hollywood. please that’s my wish, I’ve got to go, bom. And the writer says my wife’s just had a baby, I want to be with her in the Cotswalds, bom. And the producer says, genie you said I’ve got one wish? Yup. Get them right back here now.