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Memorial bench that fits the Bill

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The bunting was fluttering outside the Essex home of Bill ‘Didge’ Reynolds yesterday as family and friends unveiled a bench in memory of the much-loved Expressman who died last August aged 73 PICTURE SPECIAL: Didge’s country seat

UPDATED

One in the Eye No 100

Volume 14: 1985

History of the Daily and Sunday Express as told 31 years ago through the columns of Private Eye (Lord Drone does not necessarily agree with the sentiments expressed although, from memory, they seem reasonably accurate.) 

New readers: The Eye referred to the Express as the Getsworse, the Getsmuchworse, or the Getsevenworse or sometimes even worse than that.

29th November 1985

Street of Shame

Indolent Getsmuchworse hacks, unaccustomed to churning out more than 1000 words a year for their £25,000-plus salaries, were stunned to hear new supremo David Stevens’ megaplan for increased efficiency. 

“Every journalist,” announced Stevens, “should produce 1500 words a day.”

Grovel

Following my recent appeal I am inundated with snippets about Melissa “Countess Andrassy”, the wife of new Express boss David Stevens.

I am reliably told that the Countess’s maiden name was Milicevic and that she originally came from New York. The Milicevic mob are from Serbia and there is not an aristo among them. 

Prince Paul Odescalchi, an Andrassy who now lives in Cheltenham, says he does not know the lady. I am referred to his cousin Giesa Andrassy, who lives in Liechtenstein and cannot help much either. A lady in Wales who keeps notes of such matters is alas no help at all.

I have better luck concerning those dimmer days when Melissa went under the simple handle of Mrs Sadoff. After her first marriage to an American clerk, which got her into the USA, Melissa teamed up with musician Bob Sadoff. They operated for a while in showbiz in and around Las Vegas working with Welsh warbler Tom Jones among others.

The Sadoffs then came to London where they were tenants of a Mr Ralph Saunders in Chester Square. Apparently there was some difficulty getting them out.

None of this explains the mystery of the tale. My fiver is still on offer.

*DRONE NOTE: Melissa, who did in fact become Lady Stevens after David’s ennoblement, choked to death on a sliver of peach four years later in 1989. She was 55.

The Glasgow Herald reported: Lord Stevens told a Westminster inquest his Hungarian-born wife had been unwell for about two weeks. “She had a sort of flu and had not been particularly fit.”

At about 6am on February 19, Lord Stevens said he heard heavy breathing coming from the bathroom. “There was not a sound of choking, but as if gasping for air.”

He found a finger-sized slice of peach his wife’s mouth and the rest of the fruit and its stone untouched.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Lord Stevens, who will be 90 on May 26, now sits as one of three Ukip peers in the Lords.

THAT’S IT FOR 1985 CHUMS, MORE FOLLOWS FOR 1986 BEFORE LONG (PROBABLY) AS SOON AS LORD DRONE’S MAN EXTRACTS HIS DIGIT AND FINDS THE FILE

MORE FROM 1985

ONE IN THE EYE 1984

ONE IN THE EYE 1983

ONE IN THE EYE 1982

ONE IN THE EYE 1981

ONE IN THE EYE 1980

ONE IN THE EYE 1979

ONE IN THE EYE 1978

ONE IN THE EYE 1977

ONE IN THE EYE 1976

ONE IN THE EYE 1975

ONE IN THE EYE 1974

ONE IN THE EYE 1973

ONE IN THE EYE 1972

ONE IN THE EYE 1966-1971

SPOOF FRONT PAGE FROM 1965

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Le boulevardier de Nîmes

An Englishman Abroad: The lesser-spotted Expressman Geoff Compton has been found alive and well and living in Nîmes. Dick Dismore, who took this picture, has just returned from Provence where he has been inspecting ancient ruins

Craig’s heroic poll failure

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Never a man to shirk a challenge, Craig Mackenzie has failed in his bid to win a seat on Elmbridge Borough Council in Surrey. Craig stood as an Independent in the true-blue seat of Weybridge Riverside and did quite well, gaining 468 votes, 8.13 per cent of the poll. The surprise winner, a Liberal Democrat, gained 893 votes (15.52 per cent). Two Tories were also elected. Craig’s brother Kelvin also stood as an Independent in the seat in 2014 but failed to persuade the electorate that he was the right man for the job. The electorate don’t know what they’re missing.

Full steam for Warren Street

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GOING LOCO: Expressman David ‘Bunny’ Laws is all ears as he prepares to hop aboard an Easter express      Picture: RAY KING

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH

World’s Greatest Lunch Club

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GLASSES HALF FULL: But who’s who? Find out here

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IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Thatcher visits the Express

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Mr Geoffrey Compton, formerly of this parish, has finally got round to viewing the above photograph published last year on the Daily Drone. Geoff recalls that he was involved in an incident with a waste paper bin when Margaret Thatcher visited the Daily Express offices in Fleet Street in 1978. He also mentions that waste paper bins were considered a novelty in the subs room, although what he means by this is anyone’s guess.

Maggie, monocles and mayhem

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Only in your Super Soaraway Daily Drone

YES chums, the Drone is widening its horizons into the dizzying world of sport. This major venture occurred after a companion remarked to Lord Drone at luncheon in Mayfair that the one thing the Daily Drone lacked was Sports News, whatever that is. 

His Lordship, who confesses that he is not well versed in matters relating to games, sincerely hopes that the following items fit the bill. The companion referred to, the Hon Jonathan Zackon, wishes to remain anonymous. 

(Will this do? – No, it’s crap, Ed)

RUGBY England v Wales

Ali Colts XV 1960

SPOT THE EXPRESSMAN 1: A sporting print from 1960

Young Watkins 1

SPOT THE EXPRESSMAN 2: Roger Watkins, Monmouth School Colts XV (back row, second left)

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SPOT THE EXPRESSMAN 3: It’s that man Watkins in sporting kit once more, Junior Colts XV (3rd row, far right)

Young Watkins 2

SPOT THE EXPRESSMAN 4: Watkins in cricket gear, Monmouth School Colts XI, (back row, third left)

RACING Grand National shock

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FOOTBALL Spot the Potts

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As regular readers will know the Daily Drone is always keen to get news of Paul Potts, former 'deputy editor’ of the Daily Express. So it is with great pleasure that we publish this ancient picture of him fixing his gimlet eye on the unfortunate camera person. 

The photograph has the added benefit of adhering to this publication’s avowed new policy of placing more ‘sport’ in our columns. 

Have you spotted Pottsy? He’s in the back row, third from the right, letting his hair down.

Is this OK for legals, Cocklecarrot? – Ed. Only just my lord

… and now spot the bots

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SILLY ARSE: There’s always one …

BADMINTON Two cocks better than one

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Norman takes an early bath

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Express reporter Norman Luck was game for everything during his illustrious career, but what is he up to this time? Find out here

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Old songs, old fiddle (allegedly)

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A grater view of Fleet Street

London is an ever-changing city and the skyline as viewed from Fleet Street is no different. Competing with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is the 737ft tall Leadenhall Building, better known as the Cheese Grater. It wasn’t there when Lord Drone was a lad.

Picture by LEAH DUDMAN

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Good lord! It’s a hippo replacement

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How Lord Drone survived the wartime petrol crisis: The ever-resourceful peer commandeered a hippotamus from the London Zoological Gardens to replace his limousine which had run out of fuel. Horses could not be used at the time as hay, carrots and sugar lumps were also in short supply. The snap turned up at the Drone morning editorial conference today which mainly involves his Lordship talking to himself. The news drought continues …

(Good Lord, is that the time - Ed)

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How Lord Drone survived the war

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Taking no chances: This ingenious perambulator allowed a youthful Lord Drone to smoke cigars while out with Nanny
(It’s a slow news day – Ed)

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And still on the subject of masks 

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The year was 2003 and the Daily Express news subs decided to celebrate in typically off-beat fashion for their Christmas celebration at the Cheshire Cheese pub in London. But why were they wearing masks? Lord Drone attempts to explain here

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Chums meet up by chance

Buffy and chums

Three former Express subs who worked together in Manchester more than 40 years ago had an unexpected, unscheduled reunion in a pub near Fleet Street. 

They are, from left, Danny Gallagher, Roger Watkins and Dave Hardbord. Danny and Roger were features subs in Great Ancoats Street; Dave was on news. All three subsequently worked on various papers in Fleet Street including The Sun and Today as well as the Express. 

The trio met up at a party to celebrate the acquittal of journalists on The Sun caught up in the Operation Elvedon cash-for-info witch hunt. They included former Express reporter Graham Dudman, who is, of course, Watkins's son-in-law. 

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It’s Ladies Day at Joe Allen

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Members of the World’s Greatest Lunch Club broke the habits of a lifetime and invited their wives to the Christmas get-together at Joe Allen in London. The lunching was as rigorous and intense as ever and if you thirst to know more, kindly click HERE

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Who’s this sunning himself?

The Sheikh of Araby maybe? Or just an Englishman abroad protecting himself from the madness of the midday sun. The answer to the conundrum, which amazed even Lord Drone, may be found HERE

Pseuds Corner:

A classic of its genre

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From The Times, November 4th

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The Express, a fruit and nut case

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Downward spiral of a once-great newspaper: Lord Beaverbrook would turn in his grave, mutters Lord Drone. 

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B16mnrFCQAAZDJw

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Our snappers in the North

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Daily Express photographer JOHN KNILL has been delving in his drawers again and come up with this snap of the serried ranks of DX photographers. And this was just the Manchester contingent, well most them – someone must have been working that night. Just who is who? Find out here

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Here’s to Evans above

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Family and friends of the late Terry Evans, picture editor of the Sunday Express, gathered for a lunch in his memory at Joe Allen in London’s Covent Garden on 13th October. Who’s who?

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Gunner Hulls, hero of Arnhem

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Everything comes to he who waits, so the old saying goes.

But some have to wait a little longer … 71 years in fact.

Daily Express sportswriter Sydney Hulls has at last received three medals which he should have been awarded after the Second World War.

Gunner Hulls, 92, is pictured with former Expressman David Eliades at a lunch in the old soldier's honour at the October First Tuesday reunion meeting in London.

Sports journalist David Miller, who discovered that Sydney was entitled to the medals, has written a tribute to his old colleague.

Hero of Arnhem

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Who put the lights out?

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NOTHING stopped the Daily Express in 1972, not even the miners’ strike. It was the year of constant power cuts instigated by Prime Minister Edward Heath to cope with the lack of coal to fuel the power stations. And as the clock hit 4.14 on a winter's afternoon the Express news sub-editors slaved away by gaslight. Lord Drone recalls that the gas lamps on the ceiling were still there when the Fleet Street office was vacated in 1989. 
Who’s in the picture? We put a few names to faces HERE

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Hail and farewell to Fleet Street

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The year was 1989 and Daily Express was finally leaving its old home in London’s Fleet Street. Three of the paper’s old hands joined in the celebrations in the composing room before the move across the river to Blackfriars. They are from left, picture editor Terry Evans, backbencher Bob Cocksworth and showbiz writer David Wigg. Bob died in 1994 aged 49 and Terry passed away last April aged 69. Both are greatly missed.
Picture supplied by TERRY MANNERS

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Who’s this at the Black Lubyanka?

Halle Berry Daily Express Nov 86 3


In praise of the unsung heroes

Writer Robin McGibbon, a former sub-editor himself, has discovered this old Sunday Times piece dating at a guess from the 1980s

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Youngest Express sub dies at 80*

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Another chum dies, this time it’s Guy Bellamy, who later found fame as author of The Secret Lemonade Drinker.

*Apart from Tony Boullemier, who came along 10 years later – and Alan Frame who says he can beat them both by five years.

Final toast

Another claim to Frame

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NEW FROM DRONE TV

Life After The Front Page

This rare and previously largely unseen film, unearthed in the annals of Lord Drone, recalls the grand old days of Fleet Street. It includes interviews with Ann Buchanan, of The Sun and Daily Mirror; Clem Jones, from the Wolverhampton Express; Eric Todd of the Manchester Evening Chronicle and The Guardian; and George Bell and Ted Townshend of the Daily Telegraph. 

The film, which was made by students of Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1999, also includes someone called Alastair McIntyre (who he – Ed?) who addresses the public from the Daily Express offices in Blackfriars. 

Runtime is 16 minutes.

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Why the Express cartoonist Carl Giles said: I can’t draw people

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Jolly John Knill reveals the amusing truth

Picture by Jane Bown, 1986

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ONLY ON DRONE TV

The Crusader Years 1900-1990

Only in the Drone: This video was supplied to Express staff in 1990 and is now published on the web for the first time. 

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Two great men of Fleet Street

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CHUMS: Former Daily Express Showbusiness Editor Victor Davis, left, meets his old colleague from the Daily Mail Brian Freemantle in a pub in London’s Kensington
Picture by MAUREEN FREEMANTLE

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Esther’s right Ryle mix-up

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WE’VE all done it ... you arrange to meet a friend in the pub and you turn up on the wrong day or even the wrong pub.

Former Daily Express Editorial Secretary Esther Harrod did exactly that when she asked Glenys Pyne, former secretary to Daily Star editor Brian Hitchen, and one-time news and features sub-editor Terry Ryle to meet at the monthly First Tuesday get-together of old colleagues at the Old Bank of England pub in London.

Not understanding why 42 strangers were squeezed into the usual private room reserved for the Express, Esther harangued the manager – only to be told that she had come a week too late.

Nevertheless, Glenys, pictured above right, Terry and Esther had an enjoyable couple of hours catching up with each other and sinking a few beers.

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Say cheese! Or cheesed off?

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Clive Hollick’s interesting decision in May 1998 to appoint the Left-wing women’s libber Rosie Boycott to the editorship of the then staunchly Tory Daily Express met with mixed results to put it mildly.

Rosie did her best to promote women to senior roles but the one executive she inherited, Deputy Editor Nicola Briggs, seemed less than happy with her lot when this photo was taken shortly after Ms Boycott took the chair.

Pictured are: Front row, from left, Rosie Boycott; night editor Tina Moran, Lesley Thomas, Nicola Briggs, Colette Harrison and copy taster Wendy Fuller.

Back row: Jacqui Goddard, Heather Preen, Laura Kibby (now Fox) a person we don’t recognise, and Lisa from the art desk.

Rosie exited left in 2001 shortly after Richard Desmond bought the Express and she now runs a farm in Somerset. Nicola quit in 2003.

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Old Soaks’ Home

(Up to a point, Lord Copper)

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The headline is not entirely correct. There were five of us for lunch but only two were drinking the hard stuff. Lunch with Didge

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Arthur Brittenden dies aged 90

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Daily Mail editor Brittenden with Princess Anne on the stone of the newspaper in November 1969. He was formerly deputy editor of the Sunday Express Photo by Daily Mail/REX Shutterstock

Geoffrey Goodman’s tribute

When the Mail trailed the Express by two million

Telegraph obituary

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Whos that outside No10?

Downing Street

Who’s this on his bike – and
 why is he wearing a hairnet?

Rider Reg C

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If this is the pub it must be Tuesday

**Tues lunch 7-4-15*

Daily Express old-timers got together in April for another First Tuesday meeting. Find out who’s who here

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Late-night newsroom madness

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A SPECTACLE IN MONOCLES: A typical late-night scene from the Daily Express newsroom in Fleet Street some time in the 1980s. Freshly back from the pub, Alastair ‘Bingo’ McIntyre (left) and Bob ‘Algy’ Smith make a feeble attempt to look busy. McIntyre commented: ‘At least only one eye was glazed.’
Picture by STEPHEN 
‘BIFFO’ WOOD

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Manchester Express special

STILL THERE: The iconic Daily Express building in Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, today as seen by Google Streetlife

Remember the terrible twins?

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Here on the Drone we never forget a face, particularly not these two terrifying characters – sunken-cheeked Ted Hodgson and bespectacled John McDonald. What were they up to? Find out in John Knill’s extensive photo archive from the Manchester office of the Daily Express – only in the Drone

DRONE PHOTONEWS: 

Our friends in the North

Only here for the beer

The Great Characters of Ancoats

Hands up those who recall the good old days at Ancoats

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55 years ago: Massed ranks of Daily Express photographers

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Where are they now? This, believe it or not, is the Daily Express team of 62 photographers in 1960. The picture, supplied to the Drone by John Knill (back row, fourth from right) was a publicity shot for Express Photonews, a major feature of the paper in those days. Who can you spot? Click here for a larger picture

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One in the Eye Special

Daily Mail’s big earners in 1990s

 HACKWATCH

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Daily Express Newsroom 1990s

Who can you spot? This picture was taken in the early to mid-1990s at the new Daily Express offices in Blackfriars shortly after the paper had gone over to the SII system of direct input. The view is from the picture desk in the foreground to the news desk and behind that the backbench and news sub-editors.

We can spot Terry Evans (looking very ginger), Mick Lidbury, Maurice Hibberd, Gordon Ducker, Mike Parry, Annie Leask, Ian Walker, David Richardson, Danny McGrory, Brian Thistlethwaite and Ian Benfield

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What’s in the box?

Ye olde Express Christmas

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Old flame: Sub-editor Alastair ‘Bingo’ McIntyre celebrates Christmas in traditional style at the Daily Express in the 1980s. Note the lick of flame emerging from the wastepaper bin. If memory serves, McIntyre was invited by Night Editor Craig Orr to come out from beneath the desk ‘just for the first edition’. Needless to say, the picture was taken after the subs’ festive lunch.

McIntyre comments: Elaine Canham has been in touch to say: 'The flaming waste basket reminded me of the night you and I and Jan [Barden] set off fireworks in the subs room; you burned your thumb as I recollect.’ 

A spokesman for Sue, Grabbit and Runne said: 'Needless to say Mr McIntyre has absolutely no recollection of this. Will this do Bings?

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Daily Express Foreign Desk 1972

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ANOTHER WORLD: Clockwise from the left: Ian Bain, Jim Nichol (deputy foreign editor), Stewart Steven (foreign editor), John Moger (night foreign editor) and Norman Jarvis.  The elbow on the bottom right may have belonged to David Ross, David Eliades or Jim Thurman. 

Ian Bain, who supplied this picture, recalls a drunken journey he blames on Jocelyn Stevens

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Daily Express Features Desk 1984

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Pictured at the Fleet Street offices are, from left, Ross Benson, features secretary Tinu, Mike Deane and Alan Frame

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STILL IN GREAT NICK!

BIG NOISE: The Prince of Darkness Jimmy Nicholson celebrated his 87th birthday in January 2014. Leon Symons and some other old colleagues visited him at his care home

Drone Picture Special

Legendary crime reporter

True story of the Prince of Darkness

See Jimmy interviewed by Sky’s Martin Brunt

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THE WORLD’S GREATEST LUNCH CLUB

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Despite the dishevelled look of the table, there was a modicum of food consumed when the Drones met for lunch at Joe Allen on Wednesday 11th December, 2013. Pictured are, from left, Alan Frame, Ashley Walton, guest of honour Liz Gill, Terry Manners, Roger Watkins, Pat Pilton, Alastair McIntyre, Terry Evans and Dick Dismore

MORE GRAINY PICS AND A READER’S COMMENT HERE

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WHEN JOE HAD A GO AT POLITICS

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Former Daily Express sub-editor Joe Neal has resurfaced as an actor in Ireland. And, as this picture proves, he stood unsuccessfully as an independent (or indepenent as his campaign literature puts it – sub-editor here please, steward) in the 2004 European elections. Joe has also written a book of poetry, Telling It At A Slant, which is available as a paperback from all good booksellers. If you want to see if he can act, (he can in the Drone’s opinion)

CLICK HERE

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Spaghetti House Siege (Part 2)

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Laddies who lunch: The Daily Express Drones got together at the Spaghetti House in Holborn to drink to the memory of former Daily Express sub-editor and radio DJ Bob Kilbey who died in July. Bob used to organise an annual Christmas lunch at the restaurant. Pictured from left are Ashley Walton, Alastair McIntyre, Bill Reynolds, Ray King, Ross Tayne and Tony Boullemier

Bob Kilbey tribute

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ER … COME AGAIN?

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IT'S ALL IN THE TIMING...

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AND SO TO BEDS

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This charming snap was taken from an aeroplane by Joy Desmond as she was wafted into Luton Airport. But what does it show? Find out here

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If the cap doesn't fit...

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Sometimes editors have to do the most undignified things, as Sir Nicholas Lloyd found in 1995 when Sky TV invaded the Express offices in Blackfriars for a charity Telethon which was broadcast live to the masses. 

The picture came to light during a gathering of the World's Greatest Lunch Club at which the guest was the man with the longest career in Fleet Street – 57 years and still counting. Read about it here.

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EXCLUSIVE PICTURE – LORD DRONE MEETS THE QUEEN MOTHER

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Who Was Who on the Express in 1969

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More details here

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HISTORY OF THE EXPRESS DRONES CLUB

THE DUCK CALL AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS AT MIDNIGHT

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