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Friday, August 10, 2007

World exclusive – then fired, TV viewers told

We start again with a Rant. BRIAN BASS, former features editor of the Daily Mirror, watched Anne Robinson telling the paper’s ex-editor Piers Morgan on TV this week how she was ‘effectively’ fired after revealing to the world the secret of Princess Diana’s problem with bulimia.

Her very own world scoop – she had spotted it, and got James Whitaker to stand it up - apparently brought the wrath of the Palace down on the Mirror and she was forced out, she says.

It may have helped justify the programme’s title, You Can’t Fire Me, I’m Famous – but, says Basso, that’s the not way he remembers it.

One of the great advantages of an on-line publication like this that we never enjoyed in real life is the ability to make corrections – in original copy.
Thus we have been able to adjust the date of the first appearance of Andy Capp in the Daily Mirror to August 1957 (we’d had it as 1958); and the News Chronicle cutting of Roy Spicer’s review of West Side Story turned up in a shoe box, so it has been amended. His actual intro was:
‘Slick, sparkling, spectacular, and with some of the most brilliant dancing seen on the English stage, this colourful musical drama has a weakness - its songs. It has no songs to hum or remember.’
You can, should you be so minded, check the revised copy by clicking on Andy Capp or Roy Spicer in the Archive in Column 1.
They now both have the appearance of having been right all along.

Back to the current edition and JOHN GARTON recalls one reporter’s seemingly endless quest – on exes - to find Paradise on earth.
Why are we not surprised that there were jobs like that, when we were working?
It was of course the mad, Mafia-related Generoso Pope who inspired that one. We also have two more loony publishers this week: JOHN IZBICKI recalls being sent to Paris where part of his job was to baby-sit the wife of Lord Kemsley, and EDDIE RAWLINSON recounts his own short stint as a press baron and publican.
Eddie is effectively the godfather of this site, or perhaps a foundling father. He would stagger home around midnight from his local (known as The Clog, because regulars had objected to a name-change that would have had them going into The Queens by the back passage) and file an email rant to a select few old friends. His rants became the basis of Gentlemen Ranters long before it was taken up by a larger (now averaging 200 a day – thank you all for spreading the word) readership. So now he’s gone from Clog to Blog.
And the Westminster Hotel in Rhyl baked a cake for IAN SKIDMORE to celebrate his appointment as night news editor, half-way through coverage of the Mummy in the Cupboard Murders.
Encouraging news, when some of us remember pub landlords who trousered thousands of our fivers and bought up parts of Norfolk without ever buying a round. ‘I’m selling drinks, not giving them away,’ said Bill Pearce when his meanness was remarked upon at the bar of The Stab.
Elsewhere KEN ASHTON recalls the days when he was winningly fleet of foot but snapper ALBERT COOPER protests that he couldn’t keep pace with a winning racehorse (carrying the camera bag was his handicap, apparently), and picture editor ALUN JOHN books a rabbit into business class to gain asylum from Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya.
All human –and some furry – life is here.
As are some new and hopefully interesting LINKS, new LETTERS and a new section called The Spike for items that don’t otherwise have a natural home.
Find them all by scrolling down or clicking on the Archive references and by-lines at top left.
Comments and letters (and contributions) please, to

As we go to, er press, we learn that regular contributor IAN SKIDMORE is about to have his 26th book, Kyffin, published in time for Christmas.
This is the ‘unpublished’ work referred to in his letter this week, commenting on our story about the Queen Mum in last week’s posting.