From the archive: Dubble trouble in Edinburgh

13 August 2012

As we in London bask in the glow of Olympic sporting glory, up in Edinburgh the world’s best creative performers are showing what they’re made of at the Fringe .  It’s this time of year I get to remember fondly the three glorious years  that the Dubble Act Award made headlines at the Fringe – an award we created in collaboration with the great Mervyn Stutter,  host of probably the longest running review show at the Festival. This is how it worked – Mervyn’s hard working team spends the entire duration of the Fringe looking out for some of the best shows, and inviting them to do a five minute taster for the Review.  Together we formulated an award as part of this process – so at the end of the show, unbeknown the acts on show that day – one great double comedy act was chosen to win the coveted Dubble award (sponsored by Divine‘s cheeky little sister brand).  The audience in Edinburgh is notably Fairtrade friendly and the link with our partner Comic Relief added extra resonance to this comedy-loving crowd. 

Mervyn Stutter gets his teeth into Dubble

Mervyn Stutter gets his teeth into Dubble

Being in Edinburgh during the Fringe is a real buzz, there is no public space that isn’t being used to perform, or plug a performance (possibly a few private spaces too).  It was a very special perk to be able to go up there to sponsor the Award (a serious competitor to the famous Perrier Award!) – but the whole process turned into a mini-comedy of its own.  I think my relationship with the wonderful hand-made Dubble Trophy, which was made specially for us each year, was jinxed. It was a large eccentric, but very delicate construction – totally full of Dubble bars. The problem was that, despite every attempt to protect it,  it broke in transit.  The first year we ran the award I only discovered the award trophy was broken hours before the show.  Mervyn looked decidedly unamused.  I managed to find a very kind techie bloke who spent a couple of hours gluing it back together for me.  Come the time for the show – all we could do was pray and cross our fingers that it wouldn’t fall apart on stage. I think I may have lent over and whispered “be careful with it, it’s fragile” to the winners.  It was ok – relieved drinks all round afterwards. 

The next year…. it happened again.  This was seriously not a joke.  I called HQ in a panic – and Sophi guided me to the nearest DIY/model-making store – where I bought my own hot glue gun. Not an implement I was that familiar with.  I spent most of that night working out how to use it, and applying liberal splots of hot glue to the broken trophy.  Success – it didn’t fall apart on stage – disaster averted again.  The following year I took the glue gun with me,  and with an experienced hand, applied a few blobs to all the weak looking points.  I felt like an Edinburgh veteran.

The winners of the Dubble Act Award have all gone on to be really successful – in 2003 it was Laurence and Gus (Laurence Howarth and Gus Brown – both behind some great comedy writing for TV) and the great Barry Cryer handed over the award.

Barry Cryer presents Laurence and Gus with their Dubble Act Award

Barry Cryer presents Laurence and Gus with their Dubble Act Award

In 2004 the winners were the extraordinary and very physical Japanese mime act Gamarjobat – who have gone on to be internationally famous. Top comedian Dara O’Briain presented this one – and Gamarjobat mimed their surprise and appreciation!

Dara O'Briain presents Dubble Act Award to Gamarjobat

Dara O’Briain presents Dubble Act Award to Gamarjobat

And the 2005 Dubble Act Award winner was US comedy duo Pajama Men – who have also become a comedy phenomena all around the world – and have just been back in Edinburgh where they first had their big UK success. Comedian and TV Presenter Sue Perkins joined the show to present the Award.

Pajama Men win the Dubble Act Award 2005

Pajama Men win the Dubble Act Award 2005

Sadly we then decided, despite having so much fun with the Dubble Act Award, we needed to focus our time and resources on more children-oriented initiatives – Dubble’s heartland – so 2005 was the last time a comedy duo could bag this prestigious award.  It would be great to know if some expert gluing has meant these extraordinary trophies are still adorning mantlepieces in pride of place – or at least being extremely efficient much-loved doorstops. 

But we haven’t stopped celebrating other great Dubble Acts!  Dubble fans will know that last year we started a smashing partnership with Dennis and Gnasher of the Beano.  We’re delighted to say Dubble and Dennis & Gnasher are still big pals – and look out for another Dubbly brilliant new launch PLUS a really famous TV duo getting in on the act in the Beano this autumn!!

Dubble gets together with another cheeky double act

Dubble gets together with another cheeky double act

The Wire and Divine at Fair Trade on the Fringe

3 September 2009
The Wire's Clarke Peters and his family meet Tania at Fair Trade on the Fringe in Edinburgh

The Wire's Clarke Peters and his family meet Tania at Fair Trade on the Fringe in Edinburgh

Hand Up Media’s Tania Pramschufer reports from Edinburgh…

Fair Trade on the Fringe 28th – 31st August was the wonderful event that took place on Grassmarket, the old town of Edinburgh last week during the International Festival. With so many highlights, this event keeps bringing a smile to my face……. it’s the work of Hand Up Media the ethical company that promotes fair & ethical trade far and wide through events, publications and our online media such as  – and we love the work we do!

Several celebrities passed through Fair Trade on the Fringe and for those of you that have seen “The Wire”  Clarke Peters who played Detective Lester Freamon, his wife Penny and son Max joined us for some Divine chocolate and left with several flavours including the new and totally yummy dark with raspberry, and big smiles and hugs in equal measure. We had much fun with the guys from Shared Interest, the lovely investment organisation that invests in fairtrade projects across the globe who gave us much to enjoy, with Ruth winning top prize for her red hot chilli costume.

Shared Interest at Fair Trade on the Fringe

Shared Interest at Fair Trade on the Fringe

We had around 30 exhibitors selling everything from delicious rice from Malawi through Just Trading Scotland (is simply the most versatile and delicious rice I have ever tasted) soaps and olive oils through Palcrafts and a wonderful range of mini kids tees through Little Green Radicals, my favourite “Give peas a chance” on the front and made with beautiful cotton from India. And then Rachel from One World Shop, Reenie from Tearcraft and Bruce and Sarah from Fairshares seemed to have a gift for every occasion.

On the Dubble stand, headed by Secret Agent Kash had at one point around a dozen young people queuing all keen to become Dubble Agents. First though, they had to follow an exhibitors trail to locate the hidden pods which then had clues to be unravelled, all the exhibitors got behind this Dubble Mission trail and had as much fun as the kids, well we’re all big kids anyway.

Fair Trade on the Fringe had four days of wonderful music provided by Scots Music – an amazing guitarist named Ray Prince from Pretoria and Laura McGhee who played a rousing acoustic solo set and then in four weeks will be playing with her band in Nashville to a crowd of 250,000

Roll on Christmas:-)

Dubble Dream Team’s big day out

1 September 2009
Here’s the latest news from Dubble HQ (Dubble is Divine‘s sister brand)


The Dubble Dream Team comes to town

The Dubble Dream Team comes to town


This week was memorable for Dubble HQ. Why? Because the Dubble Dream Team finally got to meet up for a day of Dubble activities with added Comic Relief! The Dream Team is a group of Dubble Agents who have been specially selected to help shape the future of Dubble and Dubble HQ has always encouraged its young supporters to lead the way and this is just another step on that journey.

Tudor, Quincy, Jac, Hazel, Izzie and Amethyst make up our Dubble Dream Team. Tudor, Quincy, Jac, Hazel and Izzie were all contestants on BBC1s Election and Amethyst AKA Dubble Agent Girl Guide was the ‘Golden Ticket’ prize winner at Sadly Izzie was unable to make it but there will be plenty more opportunities.

We started the day in the chocolatey heaven of the Divine offices! It was hot hot hot in the meeting room (well more like melting room!) so the Dream Team had to be quick with their introductions and gooey choc-tastings! Our brand new Divine Dark Chocolate & Raspberries, and Milk chocolate Butterscotch flavours got the thumbs up, but despite being tempted by these new kids on the choc-block, Dubble remained the Dream Team’s favourite – naturally!

We shared news about our morning including where we had come from and all importantly … what we had for breakfast! I gave a brief presentation about Dubble before linking live to our New Korforidua Dubble Agent Dream Team in Ghana – Dubble Agents Charles, Bighting Boy, Elijah, Little Angel, Planet, Moneisco Lady and Daddy Cash (all children of Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers)! The joys of modern communication meant that it wasn’t always easy to hear one another, but we definitely all enjoyed a good laugh trying to understand what each other were saying.

Dubble Dream Team go up river to Comic Relief

Dubble Dream Team go up river to Comic Relief

After lunch we took a boat up the river Thames and headed back to work. This time at the Comic Relief offices. The Dream Team were keen to join the hall of fame and stopped for pictures in the celebrity lined red corridors. Ruth and Louise were waiting to pick the campaign brains of the Dream Teamers, after which they were split in to teams and set the mission of being Comic Relief funders. It was a unanimous decision to support application number 2 by both teams!

The Dubble Dream Team arrive at Comic Relief for some serious planning meetings

The Dubble Dream Team arrive at Comic Relief for some serious planning meetings

The end of a great day and the beginning of a great joint-venture at Dubble HQ!

A special thanks has to go to our designated film maker, Aisha, who made a short film of the day as part of her work experience at Dubble HQ. Thanks Aisha!

Tom Palmer’s Ghana diary

4 August 2009

Here at the Divine offices, we are really excited to be having a read of Tom Palmer’s diary.

The children’s author has been on a trip of a lifetime to Ghana researching for his new book, Off Side. Tom’s books are all about football – but his Football Detective series is also about social issues that impact on children – and his latest is no exception. Off Side will be partly about chocolate, partly about the allure of the world of football, plus a strong message about Fairtrade!

When Tom’s wife contacted Divine, we thought it sounded like a great theme and were really happy to help. Charlotte put him in touch with Kuapa Kokoo, who organised a special trip to a school and cocoa farm in Akomadan village.

His previous works include Foul Play and Football Academy, and his latest book, Dead Ball, will be launching this week – a perfect holiday read for bored teens!

This is Tom’s fantastic diary of his travels and the people he met in Accra, Kumasi and Akomadan cocoa farming village. We hope you enjoy reading about his adventures in Ghana as much as we have!

Tom Palmer’s diary

polaroid_tom_school_dubbleFriday 17 July, 4pm

I am above the Sahara Desert on my way to Ghana, travelling there to research a novel for children. Off Side will be about football, people trafficking and fair trade chocolate. The Sahara goes on for hours, even in a plane. Hours of sand and heat and nothingness.
In 1998 I walked through the Sahara. Some of it, anyway. I was doing a charity walk for Macmillan Cancer Support. Raising money for the charity that had helped look after my parents when they were dying. I met my wife on that walk. And my wife is behind me being out here again. On this plane.

To give you more detail about the book I’m writing… Off Side is about a Ghanaian boy who dreams of being a footballer at one of Europe’s top clubs. But he is cheated by an unscrupulous football agent and finds himself in England with no place at a football club and no way of getting home. But, because of my wife, the book is going to be about more than that.

We were sat in a cafe. The Bear, a fair trade cafe in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. My wife was reading the wrapper of a Divine bar that we were scoffing. ‘Your book is about the unfair trade in wannabe footballers,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you talk to Divine too? About fair trade chocolate? That would make the story even better.’ So she called Divine and they kindly invited me to go to see them.

Read his complete diary here .


Find out more about Tom and his work on his website.

Talking to teens at Harris Academy

29 June 2009

Just returned from Harris Academy South Norwood – Business and Enterprise. Amazing new building only opened 2 years ago, state of the art, latest technology, white boards in every room. I did a Divine presentation to the whole of year 8 and select group of year 10  – about 250 people crammed into a hall. They were a high spirited group.  I used the introduction to the Pa pa paa – Dubble Take DVD. It really got their attention, so realise firsthand how well it must work as a teaching resource – even with easily distracted crowd. It gave them a real impression of how hard and hot it is farming cocoa in Ghana.

Got some lovely feedback “I did enjoy it, I want to go to Ghana to see what actually happens” “I learnt a lot about chocolate, and how it is made” “Sir, why don’t all businesses sell Fair Trade things?”

Here’s hoping some of them sign up as Dubble Agents at and change the world chunk by chunk.

posted by Sophi

Richard Hammond and Dubble rev-up for Ladybird’s Father’s Day Reading Dads Campaign

19 June 2009
Reading Dads

Reading Dads

Dubble (Divine’s little sister brand – Fairtrade chocolate just for children) has partnered up with children’s publishers Ladybird and Top Gear star Richard Hammond for a series of really lovely Father’s Day events taking place at Borders bookstores across the country.

I was really surprised to learn that only 42% of fathers read to their children – compared to 76% of mothers. (National Year of Reading, 2008)

I cherished the times I spent reading together with my father and mother when I was little so I was personally really excited we were working with Ladybird and “the hamster” on their Reading Dads campaign this Father’s Day weekend (plus I’m a bit of a Richard Hammond fan!).  Dubble and Comic Relief have worked together over the past 10 years to create some really innovative educational resources for teachers and children, so Reading Dads was something Dubble was particularly keen to support.

Click here for details on what’s lined up for dads and children at Borders stores this weekend.  And do make sure you check out Richard Hammond read his favourite fairytale, Three Billy Goats Gruff, on Ladybird’s Reading Dads microsite – it’ll give dads inspiration on reading aloud and for the rest of us it’s a nostalgic trip back to childhood!  Every father and child will be given an events pack to take home which includes a bar of Dubble.  When I was little I just adored settling in for an afternoon of reading with my father – and a yummy, chunky bar of Dubble would certainly have been a nice addition.  Dubble bars have been designed for children by children but adults seriously love it too (my father for one!  It’s his favourite of the entire Divine & Dubble range) – a chunky snack-size bar of milk chocolate (with cocoa grown by Kuapa farmers in Ghana, just like Divine) covering a caramelised crispy crunch. 

And if you can’t make it to your nearest Borders store this weekend, kids can always join in online on the Dubble website.  If you sign up to become a ‘Dubble Agent’ (a young Fairtrade supporter) you can enter a competition to win a selection of Ladybird books and Dubble chocolates!

Happy Father’s Day!

Farmers of the world unite!

11 May 2009

Divine and Dubble kicked off May 2009 at the City May Day event organised by Trading Visions and The Fairtrade London Campaign.  

Sophi speaks on the steps of the Royal Exchange

Sophi speaks on the steps of the Royal Exchange

It was a perfect sunny afternoon to fly the Fairtrade flag and we made a real statement by setting up our stands in the heart of the City – right at the steps of the Royal Exchange!

The theme of the day was ‘Farmers of the World Unite!’, bringing together stories of small-scale farmers across the globe who are working with businesses and consumers to re-shape our unsustainable food system, through Fairtrade and local food.

Sophi Tranchell (Divine Chocolate Ltd, MD) and Nick Saltmarch (Tracing Paper) were the guest speakers. Both made great speeches illustrating the crucial role that London continues to play in international trade and the importance of reconnecting with small-scale farmers through
Nick Saltmarch speaks on May Day (Photo Phil Clarke-Hill)

Nick Saltmarch speaks on May Day

our consumer choices.

The best of the Fairtrade farmer-owned companies including Divine (of course!), Liberation Nuts and CaféDirect were there to treat people to samples. The Co-operative, Stellar Organics, Traidcraft and Shared Interest were also sampling their wares – making this event an especially tasty afternoon!

Meanwhile, Dubble got the City workers busy on their lunch breaks. They were throwing eggs for the chance to win a FREE Dubble Easter Egg. The rules? Throw a speckled egg at a Dubble Easter Egg and ‘if you hit it, you win it’. What could be simpler? You’d be surprised. Not a lot of bowlers to be found in the City (despite the bowler hats ;))!

Crowds and stalls celebrating May Day (Phil Clark-Hill)

Crowds and stalls celebrating May Day

There was also music from RumHoney – who drew in the crowds from far and wide! – Catherine Brogan from the Fairtrade Foundation who delivered some powerful performance poetry and Louis Cole and his crew keeping the tempo going with their drumming!

A big thanks to Tom and Bex for organising a great afternoon in the perfect location, and to everyone who came to enjoy it.

Fun in the sun on May Day

Fun in the sun on May Day

Dubble outside Royal Exchange

Dubble outside Royal Exchange

Thanks to Phil Clarke-Hill for the photos.