The Pedants’ Revolt
One in the Eye No 78
Volume 9: 1980
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)
1st August 1980
Sir Jonah Junor tells me he had a hard time getting a peerage for Lord Whelks.
When he first put the name up to Sir Trevor Evans, who runs the Fleet Street honours-vetting committee, and it was forwarded to Mrs T, Maggie crossed the name off and replaced it with his own.
So Junor had to plead with Mrs T to get Whelks put on second.
The stringent economy drive at the Getsworse, announced by the playboy Piranha, has now spread to the private staff of Lord Whelks.
Seen in Fleet Street the other day: Whelk’s chauffeur sitting in the back of the Rolls-Royce Whelkmobile cleaning assorted pairs of his master’s shoes.
15th August 1980
I hear Trafalgar House shareholders are become restive at last over the absurd Fleet Street activities of Lord Whelks.
Not content with spending £100,000 in buying himself a Thatcher peerage, he is now dickering with Getsworse readers’ prizes.
The Getsworse spent £75,000 buying itself into the autumn Bob Hope golf match at Epsom.
Four tickets costing £2,500 each were set aside for lucky readers. These gave them a variety of delights at the Golforama. However, Getsworse Sports Editor Ken Lawrence made an embarrassing discovery the other day.
Whelks and his golf-mad son had hived off with two of them.
Pasty-faced old failure Charles Wintour addressed the Evening Standard staff last week on the subject of his paper’s ruin.
More than 20 hacks would have to go, expenses would have to be slashed, and the midday edition would no longer be published.
Then Charlie got aboard a jet for New York. Where, it so happened, his flame-haired temptress Audrey [Slaughter] was holidaying.
Charlie’s ludicrous reason for the company freebie: to watch breakfast television. No-one thought of the cheaper method – watching the programmes on the video cassettes which are freely available.
NEXT WEEK: Peter Tory’s Scottish freebie, John Junor ‘sets his bonnet’ at Princess Michael and a special party for Auberon Waugh as he leaves the Evening Standard
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
It’s that First Tuesday mob again. More here
HEADLINE OF LAST MONTH
Daily Telegraph 4th February
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
SNAP GOES £100 MILLION
Why is Daily Express photographer John Rogers in the money, £100 million to be exact? All is explained here
BACK TO FRONT
Spotted by Roger Watkins
FIRST TUESDAY CLUB
Stands the clock at ten past three: The First Tuesday Club having fun at their December meeting. Pictured, from left, are photographer Tom Smith, reporter John ‘Bomber’ Burns, photographer Tony Sapiano, pensions expert Cliff Seabridge, Night News Editor David Eliades (giving thumbs up), photographer Norman Potter, former Sunday Express executive David Haigh, photographer Peter Shirley (with arms extended), photographer Bill Orchard who in the 1960s toured with many A-list bands including two years with The Beatles and regularly with the Rolling Stones, and Brian Freemantle, former Daily Expressman who became Foreign Editor of the Daily Mail
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
NIGHT OUT WITH THE GIRLS
Look familiar? They do to old Daily Express hands. The girls have been out on the town with the Drones.
SHURELY SHOME MISHTAKE
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
Express Art Desk Xmas bash 1985
Who’s this having fun at Christmas at the Connaught Rooms?
How dare they print this cover?
____________________________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
SNAP! Its the First Tuesday Club again in a suitably grainy picture of five photographers. They are, from left, Jack Kay, Peter Shirley, Maurice Hibberd, Tony Sapiano and Bill Orchard. The club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the Old Bank of England pub in Fleet Street. It has been hastily pointed out that the pic was not taken by a photographer. Perish the thought.
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
Radio Two's Ken Bruce
in tribute to Peter Tory
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