Wednesday, 2 November 2016

80 years of TV

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Today marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of the first regular TV service. It started at 3pm and was the BBC broadcasting live from Alexandra Palace.

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So the Press Association have released a chart detailing the most watched programmes since that day. Obviously, as TV's got more popular the numbers of viewers grew, but the peak happened a number of years ago. These days we all have a multitude of ways of consuming our programmes and it means that the viewer figures are never likely to reach the heady heights achieved in the 80's and 90's.
Can you guess what is the most watched programme? We'll let you know later. The oldest programme to make the list is a Royal Variety Performance from 1963 when 21.10 million tuned in. It did have one advantage though, the Beatles were performing.

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The most watched factual programme of all time was the 1995 interview with Princess Diana by Martin Bashir. A whopping 22.8 million people watched it, just going to show you just how popular she was.

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So did you guess right about the most watched programme of all time? To qualify, repeats are not added, this is sitting down and watching the programme when it was broadcast. The most watched programme of all time was.... Only Fools and Horses, specifically the programme from 1996 when Del Boy and Rodney find a valuable watch and are actually made millionaires. An amazing 24.35 million tuned in to watch it. That's more people than the entire population of Australia!!!
The list itself is below. The obvious missing programme is Eastenders. Back when Dirty Den asked Angie for a divorce, the BBC reported that 30 million people watched it. However the Beeb was adding repeats to the number, so it didn't count.


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1 - Only Fools And Horses (BBC1, December 29 1996): 24.35 million
2 - To The Manor Born (BBC1, November 11 1979): 23.95 million
3 - The Royal Variety Performance (ITV, November 19 1967): 22.80 million
4 - Panorama (BBC1, November 20 1995): 22.77 million
5 - The Royal Variety Performance (ITV, November 14 1965): 21.70 million
6 - Dallas (BBC1, November 22 1980): 21.60 million
7 - To The Manor Born (BBC1, November 9 1980): 21.55 million
8 - The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show (BBC1, December 25 1977): 21.40 million
= Coronation Street (ITV, January 2 1985): 21.40 million
10 - Only Fools And Horses (BBC1, December 25 2001): 21.35 million
11 - Only Fools And Horses (BBC1, December 27 1996): 21.33 million
12 - Only Fools And Horses (BBC1, December 25 1996): 21.31 million
13 - The Morecambe And Wise Christmas Show (BBC1, December 25 1977): 21.30 million
14 - The Royal Variety Performance (ITV, November 10 1963): 21.20 million
= The Silver Jubilee Royal Variety Gala (ITV, December 4 1977): 21.20 million
16 - Bread (BBC1, December 11 1988): 20.95 million
17 - The Benny Hill Show (ITV, March 14 1979): 20.85 million
18 - Coronation Street (ITV, December 18 1980): 20.80 million
19 - Just Good Friends (BBC1, December 21 1986): 20.75 million
20 - Sale Of The Century (ITV, November 19 1977) 20.60 million
= Coronation Street (ITV, January 9 1985): 20.60 million
= Coronation Street (ITV, January 16 1985): 20.60 million

Thursday, 27 October 2016

An extra hour in bed...







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It is the time of year when the mornings are dark still when you leave for work. So, the clocks go back an hour. They actually go back this Sunday morning, October 30th, at 2am. This is our time reverting back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and is most people's way of saying that's officially the end of summer.

Time's have changed. We used to have to remember to go and change all the clocks in the house and definitely change your alarm clock. You would also be able to enjoy your car clock being right for 6 months. These days loads of clocks change themselves. With smartphones being a lot of people's alarm clocks, they might not even know it has changed...


Image result for warm for winterSo when the clocks go back we are officially heading into hibernation. When you think that on 21st June we get a lovely 16 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight, but only 7 hours and 40 minutes on 21st December - bit depressing really.

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We wrote a blog piece before about William Willett and his idea of British Summer Time. We are no nearer at all to abolishing Daylight Savings, even though a recent YouGov poll found that 53% supported moving time forward permanently for an hour, 32 % opposed it. The Scottish are particularly against the idea, for very obvious reasons.

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We are not the only country to use Daylight savings. The map shows how it is done all around the world.

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One final thought is the staff of the Royal collection. It takes them over 50 hours to adjust over 1000 clocks spread across the Royal Estate. They have to get up early in the morning and make sure all of the clocks are accurate.

Of course, being a direct debit bureau, we use computers to collect your money etc. so you don't need to worry about whether your money is being collected on time.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Stoptober - not our usual subject



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Now we know we are a direct debit company, and as such we tend to be about people's money and how to collect it efficiently and on time. But October is upon us, and it has now become synonymous with Stoptober, or stopping smoking if you prefer. It is an NHS campaign that has really started to get some traction. For more details go to https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober

So we thought we would look into what happens when you give up smoking. According to http://www.healthline.com there are some very surprising benefits of stopping smoking.

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1. Apparently, within 20 minutes your heart rate will begin to drop to a normal level.

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2. 2 hours after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate drop to almost normal levels. Your blood circulation improves, which will mean your extremities feel a bit warmer.  The nicotine withdrawals start though, giving you intense cravings, anxiety, tension or frustration. You may also start to feel a bit drowsy and your appetite could increase.

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3. 12 hours after that final puff your carbon monoxide levels will decrease and your oxygen levels will increase.

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4. We get a bit more real here - smokers have a 70% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. The good news is that just 24 hours after quitting your risk start to decrease. You are still at a higher risk, but the recovery has started.

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5. Ask any ex-smoker about how they can smell and taste so much better after giving up. The really great news is after just 48 the nerve endings you have been damaging will start to regrow and your taste and smell senses start to return.

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6. 3 days after you quit the nicotine is now out of your body. This is the danger zone. Your body will start to crave nicotine. You need to push through this stage, you will probably get some of the symptoms we mentioned above...

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7. 3 weeks after you will start to get your breath back. That's thank to the increased oxygen and circulation. For most smokers the most challenging part is over, you can start to enjoy life.

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8. 4 weeks after your ex-smokers journey your cilia will start to repair themsleves. This means you will be better at fighting off infections and clear your lungs of that nasty mucus.

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9. After 9 months your withdrawal symptoms will probably have gone away altogether - pat yourself on the back.

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10. 1 year is the time to really start celebrating. You have halved your risk of heart disease.

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11. 5 years after you put the cigarettes away, you have decreased your risk of having a stroke.

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12. When you list out the list of cancers associated with smoking, it really is quite frightening

Oral Cancer
Throat Cancer
Esophageal Cancer
Lung Cancer
Kidney Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer

Of course, Lung Cancer is the most associated disease due to it causing 90% of all Lung Cancer deaths worldwide. After ten years of not smoking, you will have decreased your risk by half.

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13. It may take a while, but it will be worth it. 15 years after qutting your risk of heart disease will be the same as a non smoker.


If cigarettes were invented today they would be made illegal, but they weren't so we have to make a decision to stop smoking. The great news is that if you stop today you may well have managed to avoid some of the horrible health side effects. Good luck





Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Brexit - 2 months on, the good and the bad












2 months on from that Friday morning where we all woke up to the news that Britain had voted out, we thought we would have a look and see how things are going.

It didn't matter which side of the argument you were, most didn't see it coming.


Some were devastated...


Others were over the moon...

Regardless of your pre-brexit opinion, the fact remains that the UK voted to leave. After the initial shock, most were left asking "what now?" or "what does that mean?". Nobody knew the answers. The immediate response was the pound plummeting against the dollar. But the FTSE after an initial free fall bounced back.



Since then we have had warnings of financial meltdowns, using words like armageddon, tsunami and apocalypse. We have yet to see any of those things happen, but the pound has remained very weak against the dollar. The FTSE however, has performed very well. Experts are saying the pound has bottomed out, gained some footing and may start to creep back up again.


As we came closer to the referendum date, we had Obama telling us he would stick us in the naughty corner and then at the back of the queue if we voted out. Since then we have had both Presidential candidates step well away from that and talk about the 'special relationship' and making it stronger.

The economy as a whole was expected to freefall, but the opposite has happened. With a new Prime Minister, optimism has returned. Retail sales were up 1.4% in July, which was much higher than expected. The IMF believe the UK will grow faster than Germany, France and Italy this year and next year. House prices, that were said to drop 18%, but they have stayed buoyant and are expected to do the same next year. One of the most pessimistic on house prices, Countrywide, have predicted only a 1% drop.

The Bank of England have been more cautious, Mark Carney gave a really great speech directly after the referendum telling us that every possible measure would be taken to keep the economy on a sound footing. Since then, we saw an interest cut to a record 0.25%. The BoE also said they would make available £100billion of cheap money available for banks to lend. Tey also said they would buy £60billion of government debt and £10billion of corporate bonds. A rate cut is good for borrowers, but bad for savers. Satander immediately cut the rate of their 123 account by half, from 3% to 1.5%, and other banks such as RBS are going to start charging major financial institutions to hold their cash...


On the whole though Britain has done what it always does, it has just gone on with it. As the very popular keep calm series shows, we haven't panicked we have just said right, let's get on with our lives and keep the economy and our country going. When we know what we can expect from Brexit, we'll deal with that too...