Keep calm and tell the States all about it

NBC at Barter Books with Stuart and Mary Manley.
NBC at Barter Books with Stuart and Mary Manley.

It has become a global phenomenon – the never-released wartime poster that now hangs in millions of kitchens around the world.

Now the Keep Calm and Carry On craze is to be explained to a Stateside audience after a US TV crew visited to film at Barter Books in Alnwick on Tuesday.

TV anchor Lester Holt, of the American network NBC, visited the bookshop to film a special segment about the poster, which has spread around the world since it was rediscovered under a pile of books by owners Mary and Sturart Manley.

Mr Holt said the story would be one of a series of ‘travelogue’ pieces the network is producing as part of its Olympics coverage.

“When we cover the Games we tend to cover the country as well,” he said.

He added that people in the States were ‘totally fascinated’ by the Keep Calm story.

He said: “It’s a charming story about how this great couple uncovered the poster and how the phrase has been resurrected for modern times.”

While little-known in the UK, Mr Holt, 53, is a big star in America as one of the hosts of NBC’s biggest news broadcast.

Network producer Kim Cornett said that she decided to arrange the shoot after the vintage posters were pinned up at NBC’s temporary Olympic base in London.

Barter Books’ Stuart Manley said it was the latest in a long run of media attention for the bookshop since he uncovered the poster, produced by the Government during the Second World War, in 2000.

“Since the poster became international, this is probably our 20th TV interview. We do get a bit blase about it,” he said.

Countless pieces of merchandise have been produced since the poster was first displayed at Barter Books , and the phrase has been endlessly parodied in popular culture.

The report will now be shown on one of NBC’s news programmes, which has been attracting audiences of 11million during the Games.

But it almost didn’t happen at all – the TV anchor missed his stop after falling asleep on the train from London.

Stuart was waiting at Alnmouth Station – armed with a photo of Mr Holt so he could recognise him – when it sailed past with the reporter inside.

He had to catch the next one back from Edinburgh.

“However, I’m not complaining. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland,” Mr Holt said.