How not to write a caption
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UPDATED 20th July
One in the Eye No 90
Volume 11: 1982
History of the Daily and Sunday Express as told 34 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
22nd October 1982
Auberon Waugh’s Diary
A gloomy luncheon with ‘Lord’ Maffews of Kilimanjaro, the elephant-like chairman of Express Newspapers, in the Ritz. He also owns the Ritz and tells me proudly how he made the staff scrub the dining room with Brillo pads. He really is rather an appalling person.
I accepted his invitation only because I thought he might want to give me some money. Instead of which, Elephant Bill, as my friend George Gale wittily calls him, wants me to give him some free advice on how to run Express Newspapers. They keep losing money, he tells me between sobs.
I tell him if he really wants to make a ‘go’ of his clapped-out newspapers, he should appoint the incredibly-gifted Shrimsley Brothers – Bernardo and Antonio – as joint editors of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star. He should employ Norah Beloff as his political editor and Agony Auntie; and he should buy the services of handsome, fearless Jon Pilger at about £1million a week as his expert on the slave trade in the Far East.
But why should I help the old brute? If he does not know how to run a newspaper he should stick to other forms of ‘business’.
*Drone note: Waugh made much of his column up in the name of satire without straying from his Somerset home Combe Florey. It should not be read as fact.
5th November 1982
Street of Shame
Pressured mercilessly by ‘editor-in-chief’ Sir David English, the weak tax exile Viscount Rothermere finally succumbed this week and agreed to install English acolyte Stewart Steven as Editor of the disastrous £22million (so far only 20 issues) Mail on Sunday.
The appointment bodes ill for shareholders in Associated Newspapers who have already seen their capital decline because of Rothermere’s messianic urge to become the new overlord of Fleet Street.
Steven it was who set the Daily Express (sales now below two million for the first time in 20 years) in decline when he was Associate Editor, by revealing that innocent South American teacher Rudolfo Siri was, in fact, Martin Bormann who had perished 30 years earlier.
Within days of the Express publishing this fable with photograph of Bormann/Siri, Steven had joined the Mail where his old and faithful friend David English presides (he moved to Associated Newspapers from the Express in 1969.)
Not content with putting the skids under the Express, Steven proceeded to destroy the Mail by being the executive responsible for ‘researching’ the British Leyland scandal letters. Any child of 10 would have seen they were crude forgeries, but Steven went ahead and printed the substance as a worldwide scoop. Total payments in libel costs and damages – in excess of £300,000.
Worse, if possible, was to come. Left on his own one night as Editor, he was sweet-talked into splashing some hokum about adventurers finally locating the fabled Valley of Eldorado in South America. That gaffe lasted, mercifully, for only one edition when English happened to pop in late at night see that corny old chestnut had been swallowed hook, line and sinker by his deputy.
*Drone note: Steven, a popular figure in Fleet Street, was in fact a very successful editor of the Mail on Sunday. He died in 2004 aged 68.
An unhappy rift has developed between Getsworse columnist and leader writer George G. Ale and his proprietor Lord Whelks. The dispute arose over a leader Ale was composing on the last day of the Tory conference when, to his surprise, he was interrupted by a call from Lord Whelks who was taking a tea-break on the golf course. Whelks confided that the paper’s Northern editor had told him that Getsworse sales were falling in the North because the paper didn’t care enough about unemployment. From now on, said Whelks, the paper was to ‘care’.
Furious, Ale, who had written the usual stuff about how magnificent Maggie is and how unemployment hasn’t dented her image one jot, refused to write another word. In spirited defence of editorial freedom, feeble Getsworse editor Christopher Ward promptly got another hack, Leith McGrandle, to take the Whelks line.
Ale promptly resigned as leader writer (though this courageous act won’t affect his job or salary), leaving Ward to search among wretched Getsworse hacks for a cringing replacement.
NEXT WEEK: A solicitor’s letter arrives from Norman Lamont concerning an alleged visit to Lady Olga Maitland’s Islington home, Scotland Yard contemplate charges against the Daily Star and Kenneth Fleet’s empire building upsets City Editor Roy Assersohn.
Scotland after independence
Submitted by NICK HILL
Oh to be in England now that summer’s here
Picture by STEPHEN WOOD
JON CHURCHMAN reports: This might bring back a few memories from former Expressionadoes who frequented The Olde Bell when it was run by the fearsome duo George and Elvie
Cup winners brought to book
Who do you recognise here? This picture is taken from former Daily Express chief sports writer Frank Malley’s new book Living on the Deadline, which is available now from Amazon. Buy it here. A larger picture, including Lord Drone’s best efforts at identifying these reprobates, may be found here
Pincher scores a century
Gone but not forgotten: This pic, taken in the Daily Express newsroom some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s shows star columnist Jean Rook discussing matters of moment with copy taster Les Diver. In the background are, from right, back benchers Lloyd Turner, Tony Armstrong, Alan Frame, and art desk operatives John Haxton and Stephen Wood, who supplied this picture. Les, Jean and Lloyd are sadly no longer with us
STILL IN GREAT NICK!
BIG NOISE: The Prince of Darkness Jimmy Nicholson has just celebrated his 87th birthday. Leon Symons and some other old colleagues visited him at his care home
THE WORLD’S GREATEST LUNCH CLUB
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. 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
WHEN JOE HAD A GO AT POLITICS
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 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
____________________________Spaghetti House Siege (Part 2)
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
ER … COME AGAIN?
IT'S ALL IN THE TIMING...
STEEMERS STEAMS IN
Mike Steemson, erstwhile lynchpin of the DX newsdesk, is visiting the UK from his home in New Zealand and found time to drop in on former managing editor Mike Deane at his home in County Down. Mike Deane, pictured left, said: 'We chewed the fat and Mike drank all my whiskey.' Some things never change...
IS THERE A SUB-EDITOR IN
THE (PUBLIC) HOUSE?
(Er, yes as a rule – Ed)
Spotted on Holy Island by Johnny Maskey
AND SO TO BEDS
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
LOOKALIKE (UKIP EDITION)
Meerkat Nigel Farage
MAROONED IN THE PUB
Oh dear, tell that to the wife:
What on earth is going on here?
A memorial service? Surely some mistake
Learn the ghastly truth here
If the cap doesn't fit...
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.
Funny old whirled
Goodbye Vienna: Spotted in Hunstanton by Stephen Wood
How an Express reporter left Britain's Cold
War secret on the floor of the Old Bell
Who Was Who on the Express in 1969
Buccaneering spirit that made the Daily Express great
NEW SHOCK: Up the wooden Hill
There are some things that you just can't make up. Former Daily Express editor Peter Hill has designed some nightshirts which he is now selling on the internet. Don't have nightie-mares!
HISTORY OF THE DAILY
EXPRESS DRONES CLUB