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From the Editor

Australia was the flavour of the month in July, with UK Moorcroft designers Vicky Lovatt and Peter Harrison, and BBC TV's Antiques Roadshow expert Eric Knowles, all traversing the country.

Lovatt and Harrison criss-crossed the nation promoting the new Australian Moorcroft collection, The Great Southern Land. "There's nothing as crazy as a Moorcroft fan," Lovatt told The Chronicle in Toowoomba on her visit to Queensland. "Once they get started they can't stop. They're always a little eccentric - that's how we like them." Australia has a rich history of appreciating British pottery. Moorcroft, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood and Clarice Cliff all sent out large exports of their pottery at the turn of the twentieth century and the love hasn't waned. "People want to know everything about it [Moorcroft]," said Lovatt in The Chronicle interview. "Where the inspiration comes from, how the idea gets from the design onto the pottery, and then goes into production... The designers don't work by themselves, we work as part of a team."

Famed antiques expert Eric Knowles is used to working as part of a team on the Antiques Roadshow, but for his visit to Australia he was definitely in competition mode. He and Alan Carter were working together on an introductory programme for a hoped-for TV series called Clash of the Collectables (there's more about it elsewhere in this issue) and that meant they had to outwit one another. By all accounts it was challenging... and not just because of the rigours of filming (did you know that production crews never keep to the original schedule... or the revised one... or the updated and revised one...?)

The original plan for Eric and Alan was always going to be, shall we say, ambitious, with the TV filming interspersed with a road trip along the east coast of Australia performing live shows and valuations, and ending with a huge event in Geelong as the highlight of the TV programme. But as American broadcaster Paul Harvey said, "If there's a 50/50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 times out of 10 it will." And it did. Eric's wife Anita, who was accompanying him on the trip, went down with the flu after just four days in the country and she struggled to get better, which curtailed the travelling. The filming schedule - which took priority over everything else since the production company was footing the bill - had more changes than a traffic light, and that meant the dates of the proposed shows kept being revised. In between, the building that was booked for the final event in Geelong was closed, and the only alternative available had a veto on allowing filming. Alan and Eric had planned some side trips to country antique shops but they had to be canned when the schedules changed and anyway, both Anita and Alan's wife June each had a short stint in hospital to get over the dreaded lurgy. Meanwhile Eric and Alan soldiered on with the filming, and Christine and I tried to keep up with what was booked, what needed cancelling and who was or wasn't in hospital, whilst trying to keep everyone updated on Facebook as to whether an event was or wasn't on. Yep - it was challenging. But hopefully it was worth it, and you should be able to decide for yourselves when Clash of the Collectables airs later this year. There's also a DVD of Alan's and Eric's exploits in the pipeline - but I'm guessing it won't include the bits I just told you about!

Actually, speaking of things not going entirely according to plan, we did promote a feature on Shelley Art Deco for this issue of the magazine. It ended up being a bigger story than I'd expected, so it's been held over for the Summer issue, when we can give it more pages. In the meantime, I hope you find plenty to interest you in this issue!

Julie Carter.