Hands up those who remember 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.


Philip Finn’s cancer fight


ACE newsman Philip Finn, former New York reporter for the Daily Express, has been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

David Richardson, one-time foreign editor of the Daily Express explains: Phil, one of the best reporters ever to grace the pages of the DX, is fighting his illness with courage and humour from his home in Aiken, South Carolina.

He has just started radiation treatment – appropriately enough just round the corner from his golf club where he has had more holes in one that one man deserves.

Jan and I visited Phil and Ann Marie in October and the only complaint he had then was that he was losing distance with his golf drives so it came as a shock to learn of his illness.

Phil gave me permission to send you his latest email missive to friends and family. He writes:

Hi Family, Friends,

Sorry for the delay in responding to all your kind messages.      There are enough cards, prayers and lit candles to burn down the Vatican. And that's great because it's gratifying so many people not only care but are pulling for us

Our backup is global. James and Kathy Colquhoun (Ann Marie's brother, sister in law) and son Gary top our Scottish supporters'club, and near Royal Troon on the West Coast our oldest friends, The Gilfeathers, are just as hearty, along with daughter Jo in Paris.

Jimmy Sutherland in Barcelona has put us first, even ahead of Lionel Messi. And in South East France we have David and Jan Richardson toasting us (on a daily basis) in  locally produced red wine. And mention of wine brings us to our  old Manhattan mucker, Allan Hall, now earning his Euros in Berlin.   

Words of great comfort and advice, too, from Mick and Lilly Brennan in San Jose, Costa Rica. And down in the Caribbean we have George and Margot Gordon sending us calypso greetings from Antigua. 

South of the border in the Mexican zillionaires' playground  of Cabo, Ed Diddle interrupts the sweet life to call daily. Old mates from all over Britain have sent our spirits soaring.

Now to business:  We are in the second week of radiation treatment, getting zapped once a day five days a week. It is tiring, but painless and only takes a few minutes. Had the first chemo treatment last Thursday, a two-and-a-half hour session at a brand new facility round the corner from our golf club.

As one who has imbibed from as far afield as Salford to Santiago (and multiple other places East and West) it was  a vastly new experience ... chemo is not Heineken, and it certainly ain't Boddingtons. It left me Saturday and Sunday in a very weird state. But we believe in the old bromide: We are only doing it for your benefit. Right!

There is another long session tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan 21), and it is not the kind of happening which preceded so many happy hours spent in the Lando, Crown and Kettle (Ancoats, Manchester), Eamonn's or dear old Costello's, off Third Avenue.    

It is a tough regimen, but so was being bombed by the Germans, and we came through all that with colours blazing.

That's why all your warm thoughts, messages are so greatly appreciated. And another great plus for us was bolstering our friendship with Patty McAleece, a volunteer at the Oncology Centre, whose care and concern, makes us even more envious of that lucky old sod, husband Jerry.

We can just hear our old foreign editor, David Richardson, muttering to Jan: "Is there much more of this crap?"

No there isn't.  

But we hope we've got the message across how deeply we feel and appreciate all your tremendous support.    And to Jack Mullins: Your Dear Abby gag had us howling with laughter.

Love all round, 

Ann Marie and Phil Finn, jr., aka Lord Ace.


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?

World’s Greatest Lunch Club’s Christmas Thrash at Joe's

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Ho-ho-Joe: Daily Express alumni  gathered at Joe Allen’s in Covent Garden, London on 17th December for a glass or five of lunch. Pictured from left to right are: Ashley Walton, Dick Dismore, Wendy Payne, Pat Pilton, Helene Costas, Roger Watkins, Alan Frame and the back of David Eliades’ head

More grainy snaps


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


Should this story have been spiked?


Another Sussex Sensation from the East Grinstead Courier and Observer, which is carefully monitored for the Drone by Stephen Wood. The same issue of the paper reports on the success of the refurbished Sainsbury's supermarket in the town, where the deputy manager says: "… alongside that is a rotisserie chicken and hot food counter. The chickens have been flying off the shelves.”


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



Oh to be in England now that summer’s here





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




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



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) 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)

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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









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...




(Er, yes as a rule – Ed)


Spotted on Holy Island by Johnny Maskey




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




                   Meerkat                  Nigel Farage

More here



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Oh dear, tell that to the wife:

Lord Drone's blog


What on earth is going on here?

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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



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                Motty                                Monkey


How an Express reporter left Britain's Cold
War secret on the floor of the Old Bell

Full fascinating details


Who Was Who on the Express in 1969


More details here


Buccaneering spirit that made the Daily Express great

Read all about it here


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!

Full details and tasteful picture





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