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Full steam for Warren Street

Bunny Laws

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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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.

1st November 1985

Grovel

Express Newspapers’ new boss David Robert Stevens insists that he is married to Melissa, “Countess Andrasy”.

His personal entry in Who’s Who includes this assertion and it has been naturally accepted without question in Fleet Street.

Andrassy is said to be an aristocratic Hungarian family, although students of the Hapsburg empire have yet to trace it. Maybe they were not looking in the right place.

David and Melissa were married in the register office of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on November 18, 1977. Stevens, then 41 and “previous marriage dissolved”, stated that he was an investment banker. His bride, a year older but also marriage dissolved, made no mention of being a countess on the certificate.

She is logged as Melissa Sadoff, writer and daughter of (New York) hotelier Milicevic.

A fiver for any further details.

*****

The Greatest Living Englishman [Nigel Dempster] has boobed again. Last Tuesday he called upon David Stevens, new boss of the Daily Getsworse, to sack his witty diarist Richard “Daisy” Compton Miller.

The former GLE accused Daisy of the “ultimate incompetence” of getting the date of his namesake William Hickey wrong. Everyone knows, said Dempster, that Hickey died in 1875. Or, in other words, aged 126.

For, alas, the great Irish man of letters was born in 1749 and died, as lively columnist Compton Miller correctly wrote, in 1830. What Dumpster had done in his determination to do down his scintillating rival was to look up the wrong W Hickey in the Dictionary of National Biography. (Chumpster’s Hickey was actually an obscure Irish philanthropist, author of Irish Cottagers, etc.

PS: I gather that Daisy has sent Dumpster a solicitor’s letter announcing his intention of suing for defamation.

Letters

Abolition of GLE

Sir,

Now that the GLE has gracefully retired perhaps we should be told the identity of the reincarnated Lord Grovel. Is he, by any chance, related to gossip (“diarist”) Richard Compton Miller?

Yours,

EXPRESS FAN

Stockport, Cheshire


15th November 1985

Street of Shame

The Express’s new boss, dwarf-sized David Stevens, was due to be introduced last week to the Sunday Express hacks by veteran editor Sir Jonah Junor.

But in the event Stevens was only allowed to meet one journalist.

“This is Lady Olga Maitland,” purred Sir Jonah, introducing the fragrant hackette to her employer and laying extra stress on the title.

“We’re right behind Sir John!” trilled the well-rehearsed doyenne.

“And we’re right behind you, Lady Olga,” replied Mr Stevens.

Sir Jonah looked reassured by this exchange of civilities.

* Drone note: Junor was replaced as Sunday Express editor by Robin Esser the following year.


Grovel

I receive a call from a solicitor called Matthieson at Lovell White and King.

He tells me that he is acting for Richard Compton Miller, the Daily Express’s witty diarist in his historic libel action against the ex-GLE Nigel “Humpty” Dumpster.

Will I be able to confirm, he asks, that certain unflattering references in my column were contributed by Humpty?

I tell him that in normal circumstances it would be improper for me to reveal my sources. However, in view of the gravity of the libel against one of our most distinguished journalists, I may have to reconsider my position.


Letters

Miss Hapsburg

Sir,

However much doubt there may be that the “Countess Andrassy” has legitimately inherited her title, your assertion is seriously undermined when you write “students of the Hapsburg Empire have yet to trace” the family. Even my O-level pupils would be expected to know of them. (Count Gyala Andrassy 1823-1890 was first Hungarian prime minister, his son the last Imperial foreign minister).

Yours faithfully,

DORIAN WOOD

Brian House, Glanville, Castle Cary, Somerset

Count Again

Sir,

Next thing you will be telling us there is no Russian word for freedom.

Grovel’s “students of the Hapsburg (sic) Empire” tell us they can’t trace the Hungarian family of Andrassy (incidentally “of Szik-Szent-Kiraly and Kraszna Horka”). They must either regard Counts as sufficiently OK or think that all Hungarians are called Balogh or Biro.

Yours faithfully,

RONALD SCRIVENER

38 Lysia Street, London SW6

MORE SOON

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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sport

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)

Young Watkins 3

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

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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

Paul Potts

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. 

 86512145 express

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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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Is this a wind-up?

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Spotted in Cefalu, northern Sicily by ROGER WATKINS, who observes that the locals like to dress for every occasion

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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


EXCLUSIVE New migrant invasion

bevmarks

French make a meal of invading Northumberland? The locals will be hopping mad, says BEV MARKS who took this picture

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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

carl giles

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

Brian Freemantle & Victor Davis SW01

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?

boycott

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

underthedesk

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

pongo

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

expresslist1969

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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