By Alasdair Buchan
Many years ago when I was on the Daily Star the editor decided we had to have a mascot. I was told to go and get a dog which I was to take to events such as the National Boat Show (which we sponsored ) and have it photographed with celebrities. Realising that straightforward refusal could offend, I went along with it hoping that something would turn up to put an end to such a humiliating - and apparently unending - assignment.
First I had to get the dog. So we went to the Battersea Dogs Home where, on their advice, I got a beautiful mongrel puppy and I was photographed holding it as it licked my face. We ran it big all over the front page (Save this Dog at Christmas, etc) and asked readers to suggest a name for the Daily Star mascot. (My instruction was that the entry nominating Lucky as a name was to win - remember that name in a moment).
Next came the question of where the dog was to live. I said no; the photographer, Stan Meagher, said no. He said he already had a dog. I played the trump card of the new baby at home being enough for one reporter and the snapper had to take the dog home.
To cut a short story shorter. Lucky went home to Stan's, developed distemper and died within days. Then Stan's family pet caught distemper and died too to the great distress of Stan's family.
Fortunately the mascot idea died with Lucky.
And the point of the story? We never mentioned Lucky again and not one reader ever contacted us to ask what happened to the dog. Or to the competition.
So never get carried away with concepts like "Our readers" or "Our viewers" - the bastards aren't reading or watching.