Picture: NEWS GROUP LTD
By SIMON HEDGER
Chris Buckland really was a class act and, as a lowly features sub, a delight to deal with – as very best writers and finest journalists on the Daily Express often were in those days.
About the fondest memory of my time on the DX at Blackfriars would be of Buckland stomping down to the features subs table from his office at the far end of the building, cigar smoke trailing in his wake, holding galleys of his Thursday column, and asking: "Who's doing my column?" because he wanted to make some changes.
On more than one occasion when I put my hand up in reply to his question he replied: "Ah, Simon... oh good, I'm in safe hands!" I was inordinately chuffed to get this public – and very rare – recognition from such a star operator.
It was a travesty that Rosie Boycott got rid of his column, thereby forcing him to take redundancy. His political column was briefly taken over by Andrew Marr, after Marr had been sacked as editor of The Independent and before he went on to greater things with the BBC.
Marr's stuff was nowhere near as incisive, readable or witty as Buckland's. It was pretty turgid and half-hearted, in fact.
Chris was a great journalist and a very nice man and it was a true pleasure and honour to have worked with him and to have subbed his wonderful copy. All the tributes to him have been hugely merited.