Archives for September 2008

Do you need a good woman to succeed?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:18 UK time, Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon
Pictured: Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon

The One Show's Gyles Brandreth has been looking at the power of women to make or break their men's political careers.

Over the years, British voters have been less keen on spouses taking such a prominent role, but lately this has begun to change.The leaders' wives are now well and truly in the front line.

So, do men in politics need the backing of a woman to succeed? What kind of woman should she be?

Minimum wage - a living wage?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:53 UK time, Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Can't see the video? Click here to watch

The One Show's been out onto the streets to find out whether anyone actually knows how much the National Minimum Wage is, ahead of its new increase.

The National Minimum Wage rises by 3.8% from £5.52 to £5.73 an hour for anyone over 22, on Wednesday 1st October 2008.

Could you live on the minimum wage? Are you living on the minimum wage? Are you an employer? Can you afford to pay it?

Debt after death

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:22 UK time, Monday, 29 September 2008


Dom Littlewood met widow Christine Briars, a university professor at her home in Trowbridge in Wiltshire. Her husband Alan died of stomach and oesophagus cancer in December 2007. He owed £27 on his Capital One credit card when he passed away.

Christine paid off this debt, informed them of her husband's death and sent in a copy of his death certificate. But the company continued to call and write letters to Alan, chasing the interest and a further charge on his debt (totalling £25).


Dom's top tip: With credit card companies you really need to check whether they'll accept a photocopy of the death certificate.

The copy you receive from a registrar is an original, certified copy and the recommended price is £7. It will be printed on watermarked paper. The registrar can run off as many copies as you need, but they will cost you for each one.

You can photocopy a death certificate but in order for it to be considered certified again, it would be need to be signed by a professional such as an accountant, doctor, lawyer etc. Or the bank can do it for free by stamping photocopies for you.


Capital One have now apologised for the distress they've caused Christine and promised to review their procedures.


More information: Age Concern, Cruse Bereavement Care and from the government.


Have you had a similar experience after the death of a loved one? What should be done?

Curious complaints - hiccups

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:16 UK time, Monday, 29 September 2008


Can't see the film? Click here to watch.


Dr Sarah Jarvis has been to visit Chris Sands. He can't stop hiccupping.

Chris' case is exceptional - he's tried every remedy going, but to no avail.

Unlike coughing or sneezing, hiccupping is a pretty useless human reflex and there are many explanations as to the causes.


Also: For the next series of Curious Complaints films, The One Show is now looking for people with these particular complaints: Dandruff, body odour, halitosis (bad breath), hairy women, blushing.

Click here to get involved.


Do you know how to cure hiccups? What's your solution?

Payday loans: 'Never a borrower or a lender be'?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:51 UK time, Friday, 26 September 2008


Dom's been looking at the 'payday' loan. They've come to the attention of debt charities and action groups in the UK because of their ease of availability and high interest rates. Credit cards can be 15% APR. Payday loans? Try 1286%.

If you're struggling with debt, one source of advice is the National debtline.

Have you been stung by a payday loan? Should more people ignore the culture of easy credit? 'Never a borrower or a lender be'?

Sleep watch - older sleepers

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:09 UK time, Friday, 26 September 2008


Over half of all over 65 year olds have problems sleeping. In our final Sleep Watch film, Michael Mosley met Beth - she regularly finds herself waking up at about 1-2 in the morning and can't get back to sleep.

Michael and Beth went to see Professor Dijk at the University of Surrey sleep lab.

Prof Dijjk explains that we have more deep sleep when we are young and this deep sleep declines rather dramatically as we get older. By the age of 75 many people are getting none of this restorative deep sleep at all.

The results of the test that Beth took indicated that she is alert. Despite this lack of sleep, she's not extremely sleepy. This is something that mirrors Prof Dijk's research - that healthy older people are very alert during the day and in fact they are less sleepy than the younger individuals,

Although Beth may be getting less sleep than when she was younger, in fact people her age don't need as much, which may be why she keeps waking up in the middle of the night.

The problem seems to be not that Beth is not getting enough sleep, but that she is in bed for too long. When you're in your 60s or 70s trying to get eight hours of sleep maybe not be the wise thing to do as you may only need seven.

To check whether lack of sleep is affecting your alertness take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale Test.

A normal score is less than 7, 8-14 is mild daytime sleepiness, whilst 14-20 is moderate to severe and 21 is the maximum. If you have a level of 20/21 it is very dangerous to drive.

Click here to see all of the One Show Sleep Watch films.

Caravan crime

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:11 UK time, Thursday, 25 September 2008


About 1600 caravans are stolen each year. The police have around 10,000 unsolved thefts on their books. Many of these stolen caravans then turn up abroad.

What to do?

There is a security check scheme available to people purchasing caravans.

co_caravan_203x152.jpgCRiS is the Caravan Registration & Identification Scheme, by the National Caravan Council.

All caravans manufactured since 1992 by NCC members are recorded on the CRiS database. For older caravans or imports there's a fee to register them.

A CRiS check will not only confirm the caravans true identity, but will also reveal if the caravan is subject to an HP agreement, reported stolen or been recorded as an Insurance Write-Off.

Another option are electronic trackers, which although expensive, can assist a speedier recovery.

This is reflected in the caravan insurance companies' willingness to offer discounts of up to 30% per year for caravans with trackers.

Have you had a caravan stolen? How do you secure your caravan? Let us know.

Sleep watch: Do you have sleep apnoea?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 25 September 2008


Can't see the film? Click here to watch.

The One Show's Michael Mosley meets Delia, who despite getting seven hours sleep a night, is constantly tired. During the day she falls asleep whilst talking to friends, travelling and even eating.

Delia has discovered that she is one of the 100,000's of people in the UK suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). It meant that Delia was stopping breathing and starting again, roughly 60 times per hour - and not sleeping for more than a minute at a time.

Click here for more information about sleep apnoea.

Do you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness? Click here to take a test - the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Do you have sleep apnoea? How do you cope with it? Please leave your comments below.

Energy Grants: Should energy be free?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 12:53 UK time, Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Can't see the video? Click here to watch

It's one of those impossible choices but with the credit crunch biting some people are being forced to make cutbacks on even the essentials like food, gas and electricity.

The cost of energy has skyrocketed - by over 40% this year bills are a struggle. The average household's spending an incredible £1,300 a year on their bills. So could energy-saving measures like insulation be the solution?

Gordon Brown recently launched the new CERT scheme where households can apply for money towards their energy-saving expenses. There's almost £3.4bn available for the public to claim and you don't have to be on benefit or income support.

To get your cash back all you need to do is get an application in.

You can get that from one of the energy companies, the Energy Saving Trust or your local Council.

Is it a sorry state of affairs that we have to have grants to heat up our homes? Or should energy just be free? 

Asthmatic? Do you have dust mites?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 12:51 UK time, Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Can't see the dust mites? Click here to watch the film.

In the latest of his Sleep Watch films Michael Mosley met Rob - he often struggles to get to sleep because his asthma flares up when he goes to bed. 

When expert Gary Farron takes a sample from Rob's bed it reveals flakes of dead skin.

Look closer at the flakes and they're seen to contain dust mites. Five thousand could fit on the head of a pin. Each of us shares our bed with approximately 2.5million dust mites. For asthma sufferers this can be a serious problem as dust mite excrement can trigger inflammatory responses. 

So, how to reduce dust mites? Here are some tips:

• Use complete barrier covering systems on your mattress, duvet and pillow.
• Remove all carpets and replace with hard flooring.
• Vacuum all areas frequently. Use a vacuum cleaner that has good suction and a filtered exhaust that does not scatter dust. Damp dust all surfaces or use an attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Be sure to vacuum your curtains.
• Remove all soft toys from beds. Put them into a bag in the freezer for a minimum of six hours every one to two weeks to kill house-dust mites.
• Hot wash (at 60 degrees C) sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases once a week. Although some people are allergic to feathers, there is no conclusive evidence to show that synthetic, 'hypo-allergenic' pillows are any better.
• Clean your soft furnishings with anti-house-dust mite chemicals.
• Use a dehumidifier to dry the air, as this makes it more difficult for the house-dust mites to survive.

Do you have dust mite banishing tips? Are dust mites a problem in your household?

Exclusive: Justin speaks to MI6 spy

The One Show Team | 16:45 UK time, Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Can't see the exclusive web-only SIS video? Click here to watch


After months of negotiation The One Show was finally granted access to a serving spy from the Secret Intelligence Service. It's the first time television cameras have been able to film a serving MI6 officer - and for security reasons The One Show had to disguise his voice.

The interview comes at a time when the SIS is on the look out for people from less traditional backgrounds to become the next generation of Her Majesty's spies.


The One Show's Justin Rowlatt, Lucy Siegle and Hardeep Singh Kohli were grilled by the serving spy.


Justin writes:


I was very curious to meet "John", the first serving intelligence officer the secret service has ever allowed to speak in front of the television cameras.  Of course I may, in my years as a journalist, have met secret agents before, but if I have I didn't know it.  John, however, was completely open: "I'm a spy," he told me.  "I am an operational officer".


Justin Rowlatt at SISJohn is a tall, good looking white man in - I would guess - his early fifties.  We met in the sort of place you would expect spies to be - a state rooms at the foreign office.


He's well spoken and relaxed with an open, candid manner. He's been an undercover agent for over 20 years and has worked abroad in a number of different countries.  His wife knows what he does but his two teenage sons don't.  He doesn't drive an Aston Martin or carry a gun but apart from that appeared to be pretty much a textbook secret service agent.


SIS - that's MI6 to you - allowed us to interview John to publicise their new open recruitment programme.  Now you don't need to wait until you get a tap on the shoulder - you can apply right now online


John is the head of recruitment for Secret Intelligence Service and had agreed to spend a morning putting me and my One Show colleagues Hardeep and Lucy through the paces of the MI6 recruitment process.


As part of the deal we were allowed to quiz John on recruitment - but also on what spies like him actually get up to.  So what was the most revealing thing I learnt?  Well, to be honest it was what spying isn't.


sis_three203.jpgTo my disappointment I learnt that spies don't tend to get their information by seducing the president's daughter or breaking into the safe in the Foreign Ministry.  Successful espionage is about finding people who have access to the information you want and then persuading them to give it to you. 


Which is why the key quality SIS want in new recruits is empathy:  "what makes a really good spy stand out from his peers", Agent John told me, "is the ability to relate to people, the ability to understand other people."


I'd been told that John was not his real name and that he'd be in disguise.  So right form the off I was looking for flaws in his cover.  The high cheekbones had to be real but I reckoned the glasses were probably fake.


His tousled brown hair with a touch of grey could have been a wig but if it was, it was a good one.  Which leaves the moustache.  It's the obvious one isn't it?  So I checked out the trim little brush that decorated his upper lip pretty carefully, moving round to check it out in different light. 


If I had been forced to bet I'd have said the moustache was a double bluff - I'd have said it was real.  How wrong I was.


In the afternoon we sat John under our bright television lights and it was my turn to ask the questions.  This was no interrogation but I did want to get under his skin, to find out what spying is really about.


That's when his cover started to break - or perhaps more accurately - wilt.  I noticed he began to touch his upper lip a bit nervously.  Then I noticed that the edge of his trim little salt and pepper 'tash had begun to peel away.


In a break in filming I felt obliged to draw this fact to his attention.  "John," I said, "your moustache seems to be coming off." He was admirably cool about it.  "I was worried that might happen," he said.  He'd been wearing the thing for something like seven hours without a break and now was sitting under hot lights.


"Perhaps you should get Q to make up some better glue," I joked.  John laughed gamely and peeled the moustache off completely.


The rest of the interview was conducted bare-faced, you can watch it here


Would you consider joining the Secret Intelligence Service? Would you like to be a spy? Have your say below.

Sleep Watch - Night terrors

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:23 UK time, Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Can't see the film? Click here to watch.

As Sleep Watch continues Michael Mosley goes to Cambridge to meet Jody. Her night terrors are keeping her awake at night.

This is what's called parasomnia.

Our night-vision footage shows just how distrubed Jody's sleep along with her poor partner's sleeping patterns.

When she's having night terrors - Jody appears to be awake because she's talking, sometimes arguing and even getting out of her bed but she is actually asleep.

Have you heard of night terrors? Or do you know someone who suffers from this?

Are you an owl or a lark?

The One Show Team | 15:01 UK time, Monday, 22 September 2008


Can't see the video? Click here to watch it

According to studies a lark is a morning person. You know, the type that's annoying alert, awake and wants everyone else to be as spritely.

And then there's the Owl, who comes alive at night. Given the choice they'd shun the nine-to-five life for working into the early hours.

Studies have even shown that genetics can also explain the unconventional hours that larks and owls keep.

Michael Mosley helps a doctor who's sleep patterns have disrupted by her night shift working.

Clare finds out the secret to a goodnight's sleep is down to her being an owl or a lark. though at The One Show we reckon your bedroom might also have something to do with it. We're looking for the nation's most bizarre rooms...send us your photos and tell us how your room helps you get a goodnight's sleep.  

Did you know we all have a Daily Rhythm which tells us when to wake up and when to feel sleepy? Take the Daily Rhythm test and let us know the results.   

Too loud?! How can we give our ears a break?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:19 UK time, Friday, 19 September 2008


Can't see the video? Click here to watch the report on hearing.


The One Show's resident GP Dr Sarah Jarvis has been out on the streets of London.

She was out with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People to test how loud Londoner's personal steros are. The people they checked seemed suprised at how easy it was to damage their hearing.


Click this link for more information about the RNID's phone-line hearing test.


Nearly nine million people in Britain are deaf or hard of hearing. Only a third of people who could benefit from wearing a hearing-aid actually wear one.

So, in an ever-louder world, how can we give our ears a break? For example, should the playing of music on public transport be banned? No more hissy-loud personal stereos on buses?

What do you think?

How many hours do we really need?

The One Show Team | 18:53 UK time, Thursday, 18 September 2008


Can't see the exclusive video interview? Click here to watch.

Sleeping person

Next week, The One Show is devoting a whole week to Sleeping!

But we certainly won't sleep on the job! Instead our resident science expert Michael Mosley will be exploring some of the fascinating issues surrounding sleep.

And have you created THE perfect sleep haven? Do you have a themed boudoir? Because we want to see where you sleep!

Send us your pics.. and they might get featured on The One Show.

If you have a bizarre bedroom or a sleep sanctuary - get sending in your photos now! And let us know how many hours you're surviving on? And how many hours you'd like?

The One Show Producers would love to feature your blog comments on The One Show. So please leave your name and location, so that you can be part of programme.

What have you given up?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 16:56 UK time, Wednesday, 17 September 2008


The credit crunch seems to be squeezing every last penny out of everyone... even the banks. The One Show's keen to find out what you're giving up in the hope of saving a bob or two.

Let us know what you've had to give up. How much of a saving are you making?

Please note: The One Show Producers would love to feature your blog comments on The One Show. So please leave your name and location, so that you can be part of programme.

Who wants to live forever?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 16:44 UK time, Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Healthy eating, exercise, security - we're often told that these are just some of the ways to live a longer life. Statistics show that we're living longer - the average age is 81 for men and 84 for women.

liveforever_203x152.jpgAnd science is winning the war against ageing, so a group of scientists attending the anti-ageing conference are claiming. It's thanks to an ever-increasing number of marvellous medicines that we're living longer and looking younger than ever.

Speaking of which, a survey, this week, also revealed that people in Newcastle are having more cosmetic surgery than anywhere in the UK.

London came second thanks to the popularity of Botox, while Chelmsford came in third.

Why are we so obsessed with fighting against what's only natural? Would you like to live forever?

Please note: The One Show Producers would love to read your blog comments on The One Show. So please leave your name and location, so that you can be part of programme.

Is the bank crisis really a worry?

The One Show Team | 15:53 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008




With the collapse of the US investment bank, Lehman Brothers, many people are thinking what next. And how does this affect me?


The One Show's Justin Rowlatt wants to get to the heart of the current turmoil in the financial markets and what it means to you.


We want to reflect your thoughts and concerns about the credit crunch, the recession and the banking crisis.


What do you feel you haven't been told? What don't you understand? Do you have any questions? What have you had to give up because of the credit crunch?


Click on comments below and let us know.

Robocops - Do the police need cameras?

The One Show Team | 15:52 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008


The One Show's Rav Wilding has travelled to Plymouth to see how cutting-edge head cameras are almost acting as a third set of eyes and ears, recording events as they happen. 


The footage can be used to gather vital evidence and is proving to save on paperwork.


The first conviction using head-cam evidence was for abusing traffic wardens, after seeing the video the person convicted apologised to his victims.


Does this sound like a good idea to you? Would you like to see your local policeman wearing cameras? Will this technology be good for those who are stopped by the police?

Crash for cash - a scam for the unquestioning?

The One Show Team | 15:50 UK time, Monday, 15 September 2008


The One Show's Justin Rowlatt's been looking into this potentially dangerous crime:

Have you ever been involved in a car crash? Even if you're lucky enough to escape without injury, the trauma of it often remains longer than the vehicle damage.
But was it really an accident? It sounds like a ridiculous question but I've discovered it's actually become the reasonable thing to ask.
The One Show's discovered criminal gangs are deliberately staging accidents to make false insurance claims and you might well have been a victim.

Crash For Cash fraud, as it's known in the trade is a simple but potentially very dangerous crime. 
Basically, fraudsters force innocent drivers to crash into the rear of their cars. Swerving in front of vehicles, braking suddenly or even just removing brake lights are some of the tactics used.
More than 22,000 staged, false accidents happen every year, £200m worth  of insurance payouts.
To maximize their payout, fraudsters will go as far as exaggerating damage to the vehicle, inventing injuries, passengers or even the entire accident.
The scam works on the premise that insurance companies almost always pay out for rear-end accidents with very few questions.
Meanwhile the driver who's also being scammed ends up paying too in their premium.
One of the first cases of its kind to go to court and get a conviction, ended in a gang of thirteen men being convicted for a total of 10 years last month.
Now, the Insurance Fraud Bureau's fighting back, they offer advice on how to deal with the scam and they have a new database picking out people making multiple claims.
Just last month, a gang of thirteen men were convicted for a total of 10 years - one of the first cases of its kind in the UK.
Do you think you may have been the victim of a Crash for Cash scam?
Or do you think scams like this are just a tax on stupidity - relying on unquestioning drivers and insurance companies?

Click on comments and let us know.

Why are Brits so scruffy?

The One Show Team | 13:15 UK time, Monday, 15 September 2008





With London Fashion Week in full swing and desingers showing their The One Show's asking where has the sense of occasion gone where British dress in concerned?


There once was a time when formal dress was the only acceptable attire to attend church, go to the theatre or even get married. Now it seems anything goes.


The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown made headlines when he was recently pictured sporting a casual look minus his suit and tie, as he appeared on the world stage in Beijing.


It's been said that nowadays suit, shirt and tie is seen as too old-fashioned.


Have Brits become too scruffy? If you're friend, family, or even foe needs a wake-up call, send us your pictures and let The One Show do it for you.


Click on comments and let us know.

Is gas and electricity for the rich?

The One Show Team | 18:04 UK time, Sunday, 14 September 2008


To see the video click on the title: Is gas and electricity for the rich?

We keep hearing about prices hikes in gas and electricity but have you ever thought there's something you can do to make sure you're not landed with an even bigger bill?

Thousands of people are paying estimated bills without getting their actual meter readings, then when the meter man does comes along, they get a shock and a big bill!

The One Show's Dom Littlewood has found out that your supplier can take up to two years to come and read your meter. That's a lot of money.

Equally, there are cases where suppliers have overestimated bills, which is money in your pocket.

The gas and electricity watchdog, Energywatch has a number of tips to help customers ensure their bill is accurate.

One of the recommendations is to make a note of when price changes happen and check your supplier has made the necessary adjustments to your kilowatt hours for the new rate.

Another tip is learning how to read your bill.

Two years is a long time to be doing guesswork on your meter reading. Isn't it time we took responsibility for our meter readings? How often do you read your meter? Or is fixed rate pricing the solution to your bills?

Welcome - here's how to sign up

The One Show Team | 12:22 UK time, Thursday, 11 September 2008


Watch our 'Introduction to blogging' video - click the play button, above.

This is the place for lively conversation about the consumer and current affairs issues raised by the One Show. The show's producers read the blogs, so get commenting!

If you're new to BBC blogs, here's how to join in...

1. Become a member / sign in

If you're new to BBC blogs, you have to sign up (for free) and become a member. If you're already a member, sign in again to post your comment.

Click the red 'comments' text at the top of this post - then click on the blue links to sign in / create your membership.

2. Leave your comment

Once you've signed in, adding a comment is easy.

To add a comment to the blog post you're reading, click on the red 'comments' link at the top of the post. This will direct you to a box where your comment can be written. When you're done, click on the 'Post Comment' button and your comment will be posted live.

3. See your post live on the site

Once you've posted your comment, it'll appear in the comments section on the blog. If you're new to BBC blogs your first few posts will be checked by moderators, so there can be a delay before your message appears.

The brackets next to the comments link will update to show the number of comments made for each blog entry.

4. Check back soon

Keep an eye on the comments coming in and add another comment. That's it. You're blogging!

Reporting a problem

To report an inappropriate comment on the blogs, click on 'Complain about this comment'. State the reason why it should be deleted and leave the rest to us.

The One Show website has three blogs.

As well as the Consumer blog that you're reading right now,
there's the
Backstage blog  and the One Passions blog.

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