Not such a stupid question... £600K in the UNDERCOVERS pot 10/10/2014

Hello all,

Hmmmm, to start with the good or the bad, the hopeful or the desperate...

I took my kids to Chamonix a couple of weeks ago to introduce them to my adopted grandfather, Age of Stupid's wonderful French mountain guide, Fernand Pareau. He’ll be 90 next year, but is still going for “short walks, just one or two hours” in the mountains every day, and he skied “only 60 days" last winter.

Another Armstrong female falls for Fernand’s charms

Fernand took us to see the glacier we filmed for Age of Stupid, the Mer De Glace. You remember the scene where he guides the English windfarm family and says the glacier has melted about 150 metres in his lifetime? So how far do you think it’s melted in the seven years since we filmed Age of Stupid?? I made a 40 second video to show you (which has been most my shared Facebook video with 116 shares). There’s also an image at the bottom of this message which shows the other angle. Get yourself a stiff drink before clicking or scrolling down…

(By the way, what does anyone think of Age of Stupid being on YouTube now? I just linked to one of the many illegal copies that are up there. On one hand, it’s annoying that random people are profiting (if they’ve added adverts to the film, which most have) from all our efforts - and any money being generated is not going to our crowd-funders and crew. On the other, the film is now six years old, and some of the youtube copies are getting 50,000+ views, which is a good thing what with the climate crisis and all. I’d be interested to hear anybody’s thoughts on whether we should get these illegal copies taken down, which is easy enough for us to do, as the copyright owners.)

Moving quickly on, those glacier images are far too frightening….

I’m sure most people on this mailing list were on the People’s Climate March a couple of weeks ago. So good to see climate change hitting the streets again, it’s been a long, fallow six years since Copenhagen (also good to see 2,500 people at the launch of Naomi Klein’s new climate book This Changes Everything, this week). There’s a fabulous round-up video of the march here: (Since when did campaign videos have Hollywood production values?? Only the punctuation gives them away...). On a personal level, it was my first time on a protest with my little ones, which gave it a whole new dimension of poignancy and power. (“What are all these people doing Mum? Why are they all walking together? Are they all going to the same place?”)

Eva and me (back left, both in red) on the London climate march… I would no doubt have been on my phone, like everyone else, except my hands were full

Tomorrow my Eva and her little brother Zac are doing their first ever sponsored walk, raising money for our local women’s centre, Women+Health which, like so many organisations doing vital work, has had its Government funding slashed. They are walking in honour of my sister, their Auntie, Boo Armstrong, who used to run the centre. They are trying to raise £500 so if anyone on here would like to give their first fundraising effort a boost, that would be much appreciated. Here’s the webpage:

Speaking of Boo, I never know what to do with myself on October 8th, the day she died two years ago, so Lizzie and I decided to bunk off work and go to the movies. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when we innocently bought tickets to see PRIDE… It's the true-life story of the gay rights activists who joined forces with the miners in the ‘80s. The main character is basically a male version of Boo, who was herself a gay rights activist in that era - complete with the same haircut, boots, passion, originality and spark in the eyes - and it also stars our Welsh granny and uncle, gay switchboard, vegans, Boo’s 80s haircuts, all our friends, the van we used to drive round in, the music we listened to obsessively…. and it’s set in Camden and the Welsh valleys where half our family comes from… When I wasn’t bawling my eyes out, I was clutching my sides from laughing so hard… Honestly, if you haven’t seen it, you absolutely must. It reinspired my belief in campaigning, in social action filmmaking, in everything Boo fought for and, most of all, in the hope that we can together change things for the better.

All of which leads on to the GREAT news. Don’t suppose you remember that my last mailing list message was titled “This may be a stupid question”? It wondered whether anyone on the list had a spare £600K they’d like to invest in our new drama series, UNDERCOVERS about the women who unwittingly had long-term relationships with police spies. Well, guess what? Someone does and someone did! Yes, we’ve just confirmed the first £600K, meaning the UNDERCOVERS pot is now 1/4 full. And the extra beautiful thing is that the contact came via our beloved Pete Postlethwaite. Olivia Bowen at GAEIA Global and Ethical Investment Advice signed up to our mailing list after she came along to the premiere of Age of Stupid as a friend of Pete’s and when she read about UNDERCOVERS she thought it might just appeal to one of her clients... I just love how these connections happen…

In other UNDERCOVERS news, we are storming ahead on all fronts (scripts, director, cast, crew), but I can’t really tell you about any of them until we are just a few more steps along. Please check out our new website - - “like” our Facebook page - - and follow us on twitter - @tv_undercovers - to hear regular updates. We are going to be launching our crowd-funding campaign in about a month’s time and of course you’ll be the first to know. Unless we tell someone else first.

Anyone fancy coming to see a TV show about inequality being filmed? My partner, Adam Wishart, is producing “How Rich Are You?” for Channel 4. Here’s the blarb: ”Featuring thought-provoking studio stunts, leading experts and touching human stories, ‘How Rich Are You?’ will reveal the shocking truth about where the money is in Britain today and how inequality affects us all.” We have 20 tickets to the filming at the ITV London Studios on the South Bank on Saturday 1st November at 6.30pm to give away - just hit “reply” to this email, with your name, email and phone number in the body of the message, and the first 10 people picked out of the electronic hat will win a pair of tickets. Lizzie and I will definitely be going along to heckle, so may see you there.

Getting back to climate change (though of course climate change and inequality are inextricably linked), I’ll leave you with the image I’m having difficulty not seeing every time I close my eyes…

Photo showing how far the Mer De Glace glacier has melted in the seven years since we filmed Age of Stupid

Onwards and upwards,