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


Whos that outside No10?

Downing Street

Ace reporter Philip Finn dies after brave battle with cancer

Phil Finn

Bon viveur Finn in his prime Picture by DEREK HUDSON

Former Expressman Philip Finn has died after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 79.

Phil, who ran the Express New York office for many years, lost his fight for life on Monday, May 4, a few hours after being discharged from hospital to spend his remaining days at home in Aiken, South Carolina.

His wife Ann Marie, who was at Phil’s side when he died, had earlier written in an email to friends: "Hi, very sad news. Phil has been released from hospital. He is coming home to hospice [care]. He had a procedure to take fluid off his lung. Well we have been told the results. The cancer is in his blood and his fluids. So Phil is coming home to be with me and his dogs. We will keep him comfortable. 

"He wants to come home. He knows what to expect and he is at peace with it. We have a wonderful marriage and have had so much fun. I don't know how to end this note but to say. We love you all. Cheers AM.”

Former New York-based snapper Derek Hudson said:

"Philip Finn was, as described by my dear friend Michael Brennan, an 'Ace Reporter' with whom I had the unique privilege to work alongside early in my career based in New York. 

"What I didn't learn from my compatriot Phil wasn't worth knowing. His infectious laughter was only matched by his unrivalled skills at getting THE story before his peers had opened an eyelid.
Phil pulled off more Worl
d Exclusives than was decent in a lifetime of reporting yet he took it all in his stride. A more fun-loving and generous man would be hard to find – always first to offer a drink at the bar or invite you home for a fine wine dinner. 

"From the day we met he proffered his friendship and I took it very seriously making my 10-year tenure in NYC nothing but an immeasurable pleasure. 

"All of us who had the good fortune to know Phil will know just how lovely a husband he was to his Scots wife Ann Marie to whom I offer sincere condolences.

"Goodbye Phil! Thank you for everything good buddy.”

More tributes

Express obit

UPDATED WITH MORE DETAIL Finn’s final dispatch

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

Rider Reg C


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


Late-night newsroom madness


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 


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?


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


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


55 years ago: Massed ranks of Daily Express photographers


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


One in the Eye Special

Daily Mail’s big earners in 1990s




One in the Eye No 97

Volume 13: 1984

History of the Daily and Sunday Express as told 30 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

21st September 1984

On the eve of the TUC conference in Brighton the front page of Sir Larold Lamb’s Daily Getsworse reported that the town had “braced itself for a tide of violence”. However, the most appalling incident of violence at the conference, which went unreported in the Getsworse, concerned one of Sir Larold’s own reporters, Alun Rees.

Ensconced in the bar of the Hotel Metropole on the first night, Rees happened to overhear a conversation between one male and one female member of the NGA [a print union], lamenting the outcome of the Warrington dispute earlier this year.

Determined to set the record straight, the tired and emotional Rees weighed in with a series of insulting and offensive remarks until he received a slap across the cheek from the NGA girl. His response was to punch her full in the face, knocking her to the floor. When he next began to pummel her male companion, it required three bystanders to separate Rees from his hapless victim.

Immediately, the hotel banned the fist-happy troublemaker from the building, but without realising he was a resident. Consequently Rees spent the remainder of the week creeping in and out of the hotel through the discreet back entrance. When challenged on the final day by one of the staff, he made good his escape, leaving his bill to be paid by a colleague.

30th November 1984

World of Books

Silver-haired Uriah Heep Bob Edwards is not the only Fleet Street editor to take exception to Henry Porter’s new book about the Street of Shame, Lies Damned Lies.

Now the editor of the prestigious News of the World, Nick Lloyd, is threatening writs against the publishers, Chatto.

Among the serious libels to which this very distinguished journalist takes exception is a statement that his background is “comfortable middle class”.

Lloyd insists that he is working class and is asking for a correction to be made in the book to this effect.

He also denies that he had anything to do with the fact that when he was editor of the People his wife, gorgeous pouting Eve Pollard, was given a job on the same paper. Lloyd wants it to be made clear that she was given her job by Tony Miles – and that he had nothing to do with her appointment.

The pompous little jerk is now threatening to instruct his solicitors unless Chatto’s make some suitably grovelling apology.

14th December 1984

Sporting Life

These are dark days for the racing correspondents of the Daily Express, whose proprietor Lord “Fingers” Matthews thinks he knows more about the sport than the combined 75 years experience of the tipsters. Only the other day he went on record in the Sporting Life criticising Charles “The Scout” Benson. “I don’t rate him,” opined Fingers. “When he tips my horses they lose and when he doesn’t they win.”

The simple fact is that Matthews, who has a 30-odd string of thoroughbreds, has an unusual trainer – his son The Hon Winkle. Because he is not qualified to be granted a licence to train by the Jockey Club, the horses are nominally trained by widow Mrs Jocelyn Reavey and if, by fluke, they find the winner’s enclosure, it is usually at the odds of 33-1, which is a fair reflection of their chances and makes it difficult for tipsters to forecast the result.

The Hon Winkle, 25, who once wanted to be a professional golfer despite the drawback of a four handicap, will take over the stables in a couple of years. But Brenda [the Queen] has no need to be nervous at the thought of handing over the Derby Cup in either the near or distant future.


Britain’s richest journalist, former Beaverbrook New York chief Brian Vine, who is now a features writer for the Daily Mail, has horses in training both here and in America. But he made an expensive mistake in paying $50,000 for Rosy Gleam, a handsome chestnut bred in the United States.

He sent the horse to Wantage wizard David Gandolfo, who came to the rapid conclusion that it would fare better on the Didcot-London railway line because it sounded like a tank engine on the gallops. El Vino cut his losses and sold the animal for $500. Imagine his shock when Rosy Gleam actually appeared on a racecourse at Cheltenham last Friday in the prestigious televised Embassy Premier Chase Qualifier, trained by Herbert Manners, known as “Bad’ Manners for vaulting on to the track when one of his horses was winning at Cheltenham a few seasons back. 

Much to Vino’s relief the nag, now hobdayed*, did not win – which is just as well as the grossly overweight Vine might have suffered a thrombosis.

*An operation on a horse to improve its breathing - Ed.

28th December 1984

Street of Shame

Alarmed by the Daily Maxwell’s floundering attempts to entice “star” writers from other papers, Lord Whelks has decided it is time to give his own organ a new look.

He plans a “spring offensive” for the Getsworse, which will transform the paper with a new format and a galaxy of famous writers.

Lord Whelks has ordered his editor, Sir Larold Lamb, to poach the Mirror’s “stars”. On his list of Maxwell has-beens are photographer Kent Gavin, the gorgeous pouting hackette Noreen Taylor and – legendary bow-tied Old Etonian Paul Callan, who is to be offered £40,000 to join the Getsworse.


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


What’s in the box?

Ye olde Express Christmas


Old flame: Sub-editor Alastair 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?'

Daily Express Foreign Desk 1972


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


Farewell Piranha Teeth


He was famed for once throwing a typewriter out of a window, but now the man they named Piranha Teeth is no more. Former managing director and deputy chairman of Express Newspapers Sir Jocelyn Stevens has died at the age of 82.

Times obituary

Guardian obituary

Greenslade tribute

An old hack remembers

Hear the old rogue on Desert Island Discs


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


Out of scoops: Express star Chapman Pincher dies at 100

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Celebrated Daily Express reporter Harry Chapman Pincher has died at the age of 100. The journalist and author, who was the newspaper’s defence and science correspondent until his retirement in 1979, was known as “the great spycatcher of Fleet Street”.

Pincher's son, Michael Chapman Pincher, announced his father's death on his Facebook page. He said: "Our dad, Chapman Pincher (The Lone Wolf of Fleet Street) facing his death with: no regrets, no fear and no expectation, died of old age on 05 August 2014 aged hundred and a quarter.

“Harry, a journalist, author, fisherman, shot and scourge of politicians of all hues leaves Pat and Mick, a raft of grandchildren, his third wife Billiee and her three children. His last joke was 'Tell them I'm out of scoops.’ 

"For him RIP stands for Recycling-in-Progress."


Last Express interview

Friends' Facebook tributes





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

 Drone Picture Special

Legendary crime reporter

True story of the Prince of Darkness

See Jimmy interviewed by Sky’s Martin Brunt




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





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)



Spaghetti House Siege (Part 2)

Drones lunch 005

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










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


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.




Who Was Who on the Express in 1969


More details here





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