by Liz Williams
British Alias Smith & Jones Fan Club Newsletter
Superstar Magazine, May 1973

Unless a miracle happens pronto, it looks as though the so-called 'merry' month of May might see the disappearance of Ben and Pete from our screens again--at least for a while.

The last Beeb bulletin predicted enough episodes in the current series to take us up to the third or fourth week of the month--and no more! When asked (by yours truly) whether we could hope for another run SOON, the reply came:

"Oh, it's too early to think about that yet. After all, the programme is still being shown at the moment."

Now, I reckon I can count on you seconding my opinion that it's NEVER too early to start thinking about more 'Alias Smith & Jones'...Especially when the chances are that we're going to have to put up with a long, miserable gap anyhow!

Well, that's one piece of baddish news off my chest, so I'll brighten you up again with the outta-sightest scoop of the month...Ben will almost certainly be back in England this summer!!!

So be prepared to rush back from the Costa Brava, or Brighton (or wherever you're fixed to spend August) at short notice...

Now, back to more mundane matters...

The British Government--as we are all led to believe--knows a good thing when it sees it. Well, one day, it perched its spectacles on the end of its nose and took a long, slow look at the Alias Smith & Jones Fan Club...

"We can't just leave that alone," it said to itself, "without giving it something extra to help it on its way!"...

And that, folks, is how the story-books would tell the tale of V.A.T. being applied to fan clubs!!

Seriously, though, it really did hit us pretty hard, because, you see, we hadn't allowed a wide profit margin to cater for emergencies of this sort. Right from the start, we'd been determined to give you the best value for your money that we possibly could, which meant using it to pay for the best kit we could produce.

When we learned about V.A.T., we spent ages and ages trying to think up the best way of getting round it. But the Government is very much against people sliding through loopholes. So (as we couldn't find any holes worth squeezing through anyway!), we resigned ourselves to bearing the affliction.

We have, as you'll notice, tried to cushion the blow as far as possible from your point of view... We've done that by putting the basic cost of your annual subscription DOWN from 75p to 70p. But, I'm afraid that--with all the extras on top of that--you still end up paying more. And, unless we were to put down the quality of the fan club kit, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. You see, in addition to this basic sub., we have to charge 8p V.A.T. and then another 8p to cover our extra costs of packaging and handling. Which means that anyone joining the Fan Club, or renewing a subscription, from now on will have to send a postal order or cheque worth a total of 86p.

We really are sorry that, as a result of V.A.T., it's going to cost you more to stay faithful to your favourite stars. And I expect it came as an awful shock to you when you first saw the announcement about the increase in last month's newsletter.

But, now I've explained the whole complicated business to you, I'm sure you'll agree that we've done our very best to keep the increase to you as small as we possibly can.

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