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Award-winning Inverness firm Highland Copiers has a licence to thrill with 007 video

By Calum MacLeod

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Daniel Craig may have put away his Walther PPK and handed in his licence to kill, but an Inverness businessman has stepped up to take on the mantle of the world's least secret special agent in a tongue-in-cheek homage to James Bond.

Highland Copiers managing director Mike Rae dons the dinner jacket in what has become an end of year tradition for the independent office equipment company.

After two warmly received Christmas videos where Mike and service director Chris Rae recreated two of the best loved sketches from classic comedy duo Morecambe and Wise – the breakfast sketch choreographed to jazz standard The Stripper and the duo's take on Singing in the Rain – the Highland Copiers team bowed to public demand and thought up a theme for this year's Christmas video.

"I think they must have us mixed up with John Lewis, but we were surprised at the number of people who were asking about our Christmas ad," Mike laughed.

"With Covid, it was morally and ethically correct to let it go last year and we hadn't realised we had created something that was going to be an annual event. We did one, and thought we would do another one and leave it at that, but with the year we've just had, we thought we would just do it again.

"It also comes down to the fact that it's enjoyable working at Highland Copiers. We are very professional and get the job done, but we make sure that the team has a bit of a laugh on the way."

As a departure from the Morecambe and Wise themed videos, Mike and the team opted for a 007 theme, especially as Highland Copiers has its own link to the long delayed final Daniel Craig film.

"I'm a huge James Bond fan anyway, but Highland Copiers actually rented the production team copiers when the new Bond film was filming in Aviemore," Mike revealed.

"We were delighted to have been chosen by the production company to be their print supplier when they were filming in Scotland, so there were a few connections, but also we were thinking what can we do that is just a bit of fun.

"It was a bit of a different theme, but still with that Morecambe and Wise-esque taking the Mickey out of ourselves."

The video, which was filmed by Ian Forsyth and Allan Crook of Dingwall-based DP Digital Media, has already chalked up tens of thousands of views across social media and has plenty of "Easter eggs" for Bond fans to enjoy, with appearances from villains Scarmanga, Oddjob and latest Bond baddie Lyutsifer Safin, and inevitably an Aston Martin with a registration number which Goldfinger fans might recognise.

Mike, who appears in the film alongside workmates Chris Rae, Craig Taylor and Karen Robertson, says making the film was a lot of fun, but has left him with just one problem: "We're petrified because we can't think of what to do for next year!"

The Bond inspired video was not Highland Copiers' only brush with showbiz.

Mike also met comedian Tom Allen when he collected the service team of the year trophy at the Print.IT Reseller Awards held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London last month.

This in the second year in success that the Highland business has picked up a UK award at event, which us hosted by trade magazine Print.IT Reseller, having won the dealer of the year (up to £5 million turnover) category last year, when Covid restrictions forced the event to be held online.

"It was a real disappointment not getting to go to the ceremony last year, but it was great to be there this time and meet Tom Allen, who hosted last year's awards, in person even though it was a bit surreal to be back in a crowded room," Mike said.

"It was a fantastic accolade from the print and IT industry's magazine.

"It's testament to having such a great team at Highland Copiers. I'm just the person that's puts them all together, but it's them who do all the hard work. It's a pleasure to enjoy working with them every day. It's a huge testament to their hard work, particularly in such testing times. To have been awarded twice shows how high we have set the bar. It's great that our industry have recognised the geographical challenges that we have in the Highlands and it's not all about the big contracts, but good honest customer service."

The judges said: "The entrant clearly demonstrated its commitment to excellence and customer service. Supporting documentation showed the company's ethos and dedication to delivering a first class service. Their response to the pandemic was exemplary, customers not being locked into minimum volume or small print tie-in deals. Staff were trained to provide remote assistance and they provided great examples of going above and beyond, especially with an example of supporting new clients out of standard office hours."

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