I emailed this to what I thought was all the writers of NewsRevue:
sorry for the group email; but I need some information. I haven’t received any money from NewsRevue for a year now, is anyone else in the same boat?
I know they say they wait until payments reach above five pounds before sending out cheques, so anyone who only occasionally submits/has material performed could be forgiven for not being paid promptly; but is there any of you who regularly have material performed and haven’t received any payment?
Does anyone have any words in defence of NewsRevue, anything which might defend their inability to pay up?I’m particularly interested in hearing from long standing writers who may have more experience of dealing with the show.
To which I only received two replies. One from a woman who asked me to keep her informed, without adding whether or not she was having the same problem; and one from a guy I’ve worked with on a separate project who didn’t really have anything to do with NewsRevue any more, but promised to see what he could find out.
Since that email, I’ve realised there are at least two writers’ lists for NewsRevue and I’d only emailed one list. Since I’ve only emailed at most half of the writers, I might have to send that one out again.
Investigation: a bit of a failure. I’m still none the wiser.
On the confrontation part; I sent this to Louis Brownhill at NewsRevue:
I’m not happy about the lack of payment from NewsRevue over the last year. I’m particularly fed up with being told “the cheques are being posted next week”. I’d really like to know if there’s some good reason why I haven’t received any payment since Run 44 and 45. If there is some insurmountable problem behind the lack of payment, it would be courteous to be kept informed.
At the moment I feel like you are using my material with no intention of paying and I’m deeply unhappy about the situation. I realise I am only one of many writers who submit to the show, and as such, the withdrawal of my material is probably of little interest to you; but I would appreciate a little more information regarding the current state of affairs.
and received this reply:
We are extremely sorry about the lack of payment for your work over the past year and the constant promises of receiving payment shortly.
The problem we are facing at the theatre is that our spreadsheets that calculate payment to NewsRevue writers, along with our files that organise our general accounts have somehow been corrupted due to a change over of computer equipment we installed just over a year ago. In basic terms, our spreadsheets are not able to calculate correctly.
The problem is being dealt with, and when ever I am assured that the problem will be solved, I relay this deadline onto any writer that enquires. Unfortunately the the date keeps being pushed back due to ‘more problems’. In short, at this point I do not know when the problem will be rectified. I wish I had a definite date to give you but, all I can promise is that as soon as the problem has been fixed all writers will be paid IMMEDIATELY for the runs 44-45 and payment for runs 46 up to the current run will be dealt with as swiftly as possible in one payout. After that, payments will be made every six weeks.
Please do not feel that your withdrawal from the show would be of little interest to NewsRevue. We value your contribution enormously, and we would incredibly be upset to loose you. Your material is always gratefully received by the directors, cast and audience alike and you are considered a great asset to the show.
Please accept our sincere apologies for the upset this has caused and please be assured that we are trying to rectify the problem as quickly as possible.
A year to fix a spreadsheet? Does that seem feasible/reasonable/possible?
If, as Christine Patton (whose co-writer, by the way, is Piers Beckley) says in her comment, they only pay out every six months anyway, then I’m due a cheque about now. If I get it, I’ll let you know; but since Louis can’t give a definite date and the ‘problems’ have now been ongoing for a year (couldn’t they use a pencil and a bit of paper?) I wouldn’t hold your breath.
I certainly won’t be holding mine, but then I’ve got asthma and have very little breath to hold.