Maximum Impact 12.05.06

A WONDERFUL front-page splash in the Daily Star a few days ago announced that the new England boss — and my new PR client — Steve McLaren was given a two-year media makeover by newsreader Katie Derham. The headline proclaimed: "TV babe, ITN's sexiest news girl, Katie Derham, sexed up Mac for TV". The story then revealed how Katie transformed the shy Middlesbrough manager into a slick TV performer ready for the hottest job in football.

Hourly sessions between the two were apparently filmed, played back and analysed to shape Steve up for TV. He was also told how to lose weight, get his teeth fixed and smile effectively for the cameras, writer Ian Murtagh revealed in his sensational exclusive.

Shame Ian didn't think to give me a call first. I might have been able to save him, and the Daily Star, a great deal of embarrassment.

Steve has never even met Katie Derham.

Over a year ago, however, he did have media coaching sessions with a lady called Katie Ledger, which took up a couple of hours. Other than that, his only media training has been a few minutes on the phone with myself, where his weight, teeth and smile were never mentioned. It might be in their best interest for Ian or his colleagues to call me if they get any more potential exclusives regarding Steve McLaren, Simon Cowell, Kerry Katona, Peter Jones or any other MCA clients.

WHAT chance the public? That was my reaction to the Press Complaints Commission's original handling of the City Slickers affair.

This view has been reinforced by the PCC's response to Roy Greenslade's request to reopen its inquiry into this matter. This follows new information, which is extremely relevant, that has come to light concerning this matter since the PCC made its original findings public.

I know James Hipwell extremely well. He worked for me following his sacking by the Mirror while awaiting a kidney transplant. Should Roy ever have an in-depth discussion with James, the sacrificial offering in this scandal, he would be even more incensed at the PCC's handling of this issue. This matter should be thoroughly investigated again.

Otherwise, how can anyone have faith or confidence in the PCC?

I WAS amused by Heather Mills McCartney's alleged response as to why she and husband Paul are living apart. Apparently her move to Hove, a short distance from the family home in Peasmarsh, was to avoid photographers taking pictures of her in a wheelchair following recent surgery on her partially amputated leg.

If paparazzi wanted to take pictures of her, moving a few miles would not make a h'penny worth of a difference. Also, as someone who has courted media attention as a self-proclaimed champion of disability rights, why should she shy away from pictures of her in a wheelchair? This does nothing for her credibility or popularity.

The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust

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