Dog watches dog 12.06.03

Dyke repays 20-year-old favour

Never let it be said that Greg Dyke doesn’t remember those who helped him before he hit the big time. The BBC director general recently repaid a 20-year-old favour by opening a new television studio at Darlington College, the result of an invitation from Jon Smith, a senior lecturer in journalism at the college.

“Twenty years ago I owned a holiday cottage in the North East,” says Smith. “A friend of a friend asked if he could use it for a week, so I let him have it free of charge.

“That was Greg Dyke and, when he left, he said if there was ever anything he could do to repay the favour… so when we were looking for a high-profile celebrity to open our TV studio, I called the favour in. We didn’t expect him to agree, but he soon did. It was a real feather in our cap.”

Dyke spent around two hours at the college, speaking to students, staff and media contacts. He also took part in a 45-minute meet the press-style session in the television studio with Tony Metcalf, head of the school of journalism.

Off-the-pitch row

Fantasy football fans at the Evening Standard are embroiled in an off-the-pitch row following the results of the paper’s annual contest.

Bitter losers, who missed out on top cash prizes, are claiming they were unable to make transfers because bosses at Associated Newspapers decided to bar internet access to the fantasy football site halfway through the season – in a bid to stop reporters messing about when they should be working.

Fantasyleague.com – which ran the Standard’s league – was one of the websites hit by the cull. Other sites include porn and gay cottaging sites.

All Hart, no tactics

Elsewhere in Fantasy football-land, Sevenoaks Chronicle editor Paul Hart, after an epic 14 years in the job, might be expected to know a thing or two about the beautiful game. So it’s with some glee that his colleagues report his final position in the season’s rankings. Bottom. The winner, reporter Ross Purdie, scored almost double the number of points. “At least he supports Ipswich Town, so losing is a way of life,” an insider cheerfully notes.

Ed feels their pain

Here at the kennel, editor Ian Reeves – who will be leading the PG team out in the magazine’s 5-a-side tournament on 26 July – proved his footballing worth by finishing bottom, out of 33, in PG’s fantasy superleague. (Subs: we don’t need to include this one – Ed.)

Let the battle commence

The sight of a dozen or so heaving, sweating parliamentary hacks trying to out-muscle each other is hardly a novel one – closing time at Annie’s Bar springs to mind, for a start.

So, it’s with some surprise that Dog hears of a charity trying to charge the public for the pleasure of seeing just such a spectacle. But all becomes clear: it’s the annual House of Lords versus House of Commons tug-of-war competition, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief. One of the five matches sees heavyweights from the broadcasting lobby take on their newspaper counterparts. Adam Boulton, John Pienaar and Jeremy “Bruiser” Bowen limber up for the television luvvies, while Simon Carr, Mike Steele and, er, burly David Hencke are among the newspapermen.

The action starts at 6.30pm on Monday, 16 June at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the House of Lords.

Media feels brunt of Celtic backlash

The Scottish Daily Record’s decision to brand three Celtic FC players as “thugs and thieves” following a fracas with one of its photographers outside a Newcastle nightclub at Christmas, continues to cause grief.

For the Record, the continuing boycott by Celtic supporters has hardly helped ongoing circulation problems. But it has also had nasty repercussions for media men who have nothing whatsoever to do with the Record.

This is exemplified by two incidents at the Uefa Cup Final between Celtic and Porto in Spain. The Scotsman’s award-winning photographer, Ian Rutherford, was pushed into a fountain, complete with camera and lenses, by a Celtic fan for no other reason that he believed him to be a Record man.

And ITN’s Martin Geissler had a whisky bottle hurled at him, which he parried, only for it to hit his cameraman on the head and knock him off his feet.

Glenn Gibbons, The Scotsman’s distinguished chief soccer writer, was prompted to write: “What happened to our photographer would have been a scandal in any circumstances but, in the case of Rutherford, one of the gentlest men who ever drew breath and an exceptionally talented member of his profession, it seemed even more heinous.”


Whatever the Somerset County Gazette is paying Cilla Webb, it surely can’t be enough. An alert West Country Dog informer sends us the West Somerset edition for 30 May in which Ms Webb has the lead byline on pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 16. Only the readers’ letters elbowing in prevent the prolific hack making it to the middle. “Is such a sterling effort a record?” asks our informer. “Or can a PG reader beat it?”


Sometimes attention to detail is not all it’s cracked up to be. The Sun reported the crash that tragically killed motorbike racing champion David Jefferies on page 17 of its 30 May issue, including full details of the machine he was riding – a Suzuki GSX-R1000. Page 45 of the same day’s Sun has a competition to win… a Suzuki GSX-R1000.

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