People’s Princess myth uncovered
One of the most celebrated myths – widely repeated after his resignation – about Alastair Campbell’s tabloid tenure of 10 Downing Street is that he coined the title “the People’s Princess” in a speech he wrote for Tony Blair following Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997.
Sorry, Alastair, but it’s time to ‘fess up. It was actually coined at the Sunday Mirror a mere 12 years earlier.
Former Sunday Mirror editor Peter Thompson had forgotten all about the term, until he began research for his memoirs, Cheap Thrills – Memoirs of a Mirrorman (due for publication next year).
Then he came across a four-deck headline from the 3 February, 1985 edition of the newspaper: The term, Thompson reveals, had been invented by the paper’s chief reporter, Tony Frost, in one of a series of articles entitled, Diana: The Untold Stories. The Sunday Mirror used the phrase no fewer than three times.
Frost, currently a media consultant in the US where, as editor-in-chief, he also ran top-selling tabloid Globe and Star magazine, said: “I find the whole thing highly amusing. I had forgotten that I’d used the term in the first place, but I’m sure being the honorable man he is, Alastair will correct the matter when his diaries are published!” Frost, who lives in Florida and is, like Campbell, a committed long-distance runner, added: “I was 12 years ahead of him with the People’s Princess – that’s like finishing an hour ahead of Alastair in a marathon.”
Thompson, now an author of a dozen books, also runs The Mayfair News website, where he gives fascinating details of Campbell’s job interview for the Mirror training scheme – particularly over his role as a gigolo in the South of France.
Swingers unhappy with Eve’s angle
Quite by chance, Dog stumbled across the Swinging Heaven website (don’t ask why – no, really, don’t ask) and discovered an intriguing brouhaha about Eve magazine. It seems writer Pamela Whitby had featured some of the site’s regular visitors in her article for the September issue of the magazine, Strangers on a Train.
But her piece had been through Eve’s “editorial machine” after she ?led it – leaving her and her swinging subjects somewhat unimpressed.
Apologetically, she breaks the news that it’s not exactly the pro-swinging piece they had hoped it would be.
“I’m sort of angry with myself for not having the balls to tell them to stuff it,” says Whitby contritely. “The thing is I need the money.”
Cue a tirade of abuse from the likes of Miffed Mark, and Steve from Stoke: I should have fucking known!” wails one. “The shitty, ‘give them what they expect’ media in the country is fatuous at best.” Another chips in: “Magazines like Eve, Bella, Woman’s Own etc, aren’t interested in the factsâ€¦ they can’t risk alienating the sensibilities of their afternoon-tea-with-friends readers.”
Hell hath no fury like a swinger scorned.
In Wednesday’s Daily Mail, Charles Sale attacks Jonathan Edwards’ “ridiculous” swift transition from triple jumper to member of the BBC Sport team. “This sums up the Beeb’s obsession with appointing sports personalities instead of trained broadcast journalists who spend rather more than 20 minutes learning their trade.” Dog feels sure Sale will have shared his opinions with his colleagues on the Mail’s racing desk: Peter Scudamore (jockey-turned-BBC racing pundit) and Walter Swinburn former jockey now with Channel 4 Racing).
Warning: Some readers may be alarmed by the following quote from a PeopleSoft press release.
It’s sent to Dog from Reading Chronicle business editor Alan Bunce, not, he notes, to try to gain any personal glory by being mentioned in Press Gazette, but in the hope that other journalists can avoid being exposed to this kind of thing in the same way that police of?cers who have to investigate child pornography are now being shielded from that shocking material.
Here it is. You have been warned.
“In following Smart Acquisition principles, the HRMS team has demonstrated their applicability to nonequipment and construction changemanagement projects. In so doing the team has ably shown that technology aligned to process improvement can signi?cantly change for the better civilian HR services. That this has been achieved by trading-off performance against cost and time through an incremental strategy is profoundly signi?cant to where Smart Acquisition goes in the future,” said Lord Bach, minister for defence procurement.
Bream eludes boy in a Boswell ?ash
Photographer Lee Boswell really did get the snap of the one that got away. He asked teenager Richard Mehaffy to hold up his catch of the day – a two-and-a-half-pound bream – at a Barnsley ?shing tournament. Richard, 14, was in line for a trophy and £30 prize – until the Barnsley Chronicle staff man stepped in.
As soon as the photograph was taken, the ?sh slipped out of Mehaffy’s hands, slithered down the bank and jumped back into the river.
A distraught Boswell said: “I feel responsible for letting Richard down.” Mehaffy, competing in his ?rst tournament, was unavailable for comment.
CAMPAIGN FOR REAL EXCLUSIVES
TITLE: The People, 24 August, 2003
EXCLUSIVE CLAIM: Daftest swinger in town
SOURCE: Closer, 5 to 11 April, 2003
NOMINATED BY: Senior writer Pilar Canas
NOMINATOR’S COMMENT: Pauline’s husband wanted to share her with other swingers. So she left him for her lover.
Then four months later another publication showed they weren’t averse to a bit of swinging themselves, when they wanted to share our exclusive
DOG EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 8/100