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June 11, 2014

Oldie publisher confirms former Spectator editor Alexander Chancellor as successor to Richard Ingrams

By William Turvill

Alexander Chancellor has been confirmed as the new editor of The Oldie following Richard Ingrams' departure.

Ingrams, 76, told Press Gazette this morning that Chancellor, 74, had informed him he would be taking up the post.

Chancellor, who edited the Spectator between 1975 and 1984 and was a co-founder of The Oldie with Ingrams, will take up the position with immediate effect.

Ingrams, who resigned on 30 May after being summoned to a disciplinary hearing by publisher James Pembroke, has warned Chancellor he will “inherit a demoralised staff” and a “diminished team of contributors”.

Since the editor resigned, Sir Terry Wogan, who hosted the magazine's annual awards lunch, columnist and BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney and several other regular columnists and contributors have also left.

Asked what he thought of his likely successor as Oldie editor, Ingrams said: "It is a bit like bringing Geoffrey Howe back to the head of the Conservative Party."

But publisher Pembroke described Chancellor as “the most natural successor” to Ingrams, revealing that he was an early investor in the magazine and served on the board from its launch.

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The publisher said: “Alexander is very young at heart – he's 74 going on 73. He's also very modern in his outlook – he uses email and has a mobile phone with which to speak to his many friends. 

“The Oldie now has a circulation of 45,000, but I see no reason why it can't reach 60,000. People will always want to laugh and escape. Punch was a weekly, and sold 80,000 in the 1980s.

“I am very grateful to Jeremy Lewis who has been acting editor during a difficult time.”

Chancellor praised his predecessor Ingrams and said he was “lucky to inherit” the title.

“I will do my best to retain the unique spirit and character that he brought to The Oldie,” he said.

“He [Ingrams] made it a haven for all who are fearful and uncomprehending of the all-pervasive 'yoof' culture of today, and so I intend it to remain.”

On Richard Ingrams, Pembroke said: “I joined The Oldie in 1992. Richard has always been a massive inspiration, and I am very grateful for all he has done for me. I have always thought he is the greatest post-war editor, and can claim to have had the greatest impact on journalism in the last 50 years.

"The Oldie was a brainwave, and demonstrated his extraordinary ability to excel in the arenas of both investigative journalism and general features.”

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