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Friday, April 18, 2008

ASLEF protesting at Three & Out Premiere

Have ASLEF members not got anything better to do than
hand out leaflets of protest against the premiere of Tube movie Three and Out?

Aslef members to protest at premiere

The film premieres at Leceister Square on Monday and some trains drivers will be saying "down with this sort of thing", as led by general secretary Keith Norman, they believe that suicide is no laughing matter.

They will be handing out leaflets at the premiere which say "We hope you enjoy the movie tonight, but please remember that for train drivers like ourselves, deaths on the railway are never funny."

You may remember Aslef were up in arms about this before. "The row has increased after three people died on the railway lines this week: a couple in Essex and a 66-year-old woman killed after getting her foot stuck on a pedestrian railway crossing."

Keith Norman, general secretary of Aslef, said yesterday: "Last year 249 bodies ended up under trains. Of these, 194 were classified by the Rail Safety and Standards Board as suicides or suspected suicides.

"Behind each of these is undeniably a terrible and tragic story of loneliness and despair. The union's specific concern is a secondary victim - and that is the driver."

The film makers are naturally disappointed that ASLEF have reacted in this way. They added that everyone involved in the movie was aware of the "heartfelt issues that the film raises", and that filming was carried out "in close cooperation with London Underground".

Having seen the film already I would totally agree, the film doesn't laugh at suicide but actually makes you wonder how far you would go to carry out a certain action.

Update 18th April - from BBC's site - Lead actor Mackenzie Crook was asked: "if he was anticipating a backlash, Crook said he was more concerned "about seeing chewing gum on the end of my nose".

"I don't expect to be pelted with eggs or anything like that," he continued when asked if he had any concerns about using the Tube in future.

He did admit, however, it was "disconcerting" to see his face featured so prominently on the promotional material

Good on Mackenzie Crook!

Update 19th April - Very interesting development "Keith & Barry" have left a comment to this post of something that's purporting to be an apology from LU MD Tim O'Toole to his staff about Three & Out. I'm assuming "Keith & Barry" are LU staff. The memo sounds authentic enough to me and not a spoof from someone posing as Tim O'Toole.

As "Keith & Barry" say, funny that LU were happy enough to take production company's money for shooting parts of the film on the London Underground itself. Also as O'Toole says the ads that are now running all over the network don't contravene any of CBS Outdoor's standards so they can't pull them (were also quite happy to take the revenue from the ads too), without risking any more bad publicity - for themselves - in my opinion.

It seems to be slightly errr ... weird to be apologising to staff now, and not to have thought about this in advance. Presumably, they didn't know that ASLEF would take such a massive disapproval of the film (forget for the moment whether ASLEF saw the film or not).

If the memo is a spoof I take back my thoughts above. But if it isn't Three and Out is getting more and more interesting as a film by the moment!

Update 23rd April - Get to see a copy of the leaflet that ASLEF handed out at the premiere plus red carpet pictures of Mackenzie Crook & Gemma Arterton.

Update 25th April
- Three and Out is released nationwide. Later that evening Three and Out film makers announce they plan to sue LU for Tim O'Toole's comments.

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