Masked mayhem at the Christmas lunch


The Daily Express news sub-editors have had some strange Christmas celebrations over the years, as Lord Drone can attest, but the oddest one of all was in 2003.

Someone, I think it was Keith Ging, decided it would be an excellent idea if everyone wore a mask bearing the face of production editor Bob Smith. The exact reason for this escapes me but it was definitely thought to be a good idea at the time.

The event shattered the calm of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub in London’s Fleet Street. The traditional throwing of bread rolls and Brussels sprouts horrified the staff and drew remonstrations from one particularly officious waiter. Gone were the days when such behaviour was tolerated, nay expected, in Fleet Street.

The pictures below tell the story in its full horror.


WHO’S WHO? Search us, except that’s Bob Smith in the centre, looking bemused

Subs Christmas 03

UNMASKED: Back row: Roy Povey and John Mulcock. Second row from left, Bill Reynolds, Tony Reid, Jon Smith, Brian Izzard, Keith Ging, Peter Michel (with Robin Davison-Lungley and Chris Shearer behind him), Bob Watson, Penny Meyrick, Nick Dalton, Wendy Fuller, Tina Moran and a masked John Maskey. Seated: Bob Smith (masked, naturally), Tessa Evans, Alastair McIntyre, Ted Young. Foreground: Simon Crookshank and Danny McCord

Express Christmas 2003

MAD HATTERS: Alastair McIntyre and Bob Watson try unsuccessfully to wake Bob Smith


CHEERS: Keith Ging, Bob Smith, Tony Reid, Simon Crookshank, John Mulcock, Roy Povey and Jon Smith enjoy a few aperitifs before the real action began


CONE HEADS: Jon Smith and Alastair McIntyre


IT LOOKS FUN: But who was getting the paper out?


FUN WITH A NAPKIN: Wendy Fuller pretends she’s in the French Foreign Legion


GLASSY EYED: Mark Hoey and Penny Meyrick


SHOWING A LEG: Bill ‘Didge’ Reynolds and Peter Michel


SHOWING HER BOTTLE: Wendy Fuller’s party trick complete with admiring glance from Mark Hoey

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre