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June 10, 2014

Two more Oldie contributors leave: ‘It will not be the same magazine without Richard Ingrams’

By William Turvill

Two more regular contributors to The Oldie magazine have announced they are pulling their columns from the magazine following the departure of Richard Ingrams (pictured) as editor.

Alice Pitman and Peter Lewis have joined Sir Terry Wogan, who hosted the title’s annual awards lunch, BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney and author Sam Taylor in leaving the magazine.

The moves come after publisher James Pembroke had Ingrams summoned to a disciplinary hearing. The editor said he was “too old” to attend and instead handed in his resignation.

Lewis, a long-serving reviewer on the magazine, told Pembroke in a letter: “You are sailing a ghost ship to oblivion.”

He added: “Like many other contributors I wrote (for peanuts) purely in order to please Richard, who created the magazine’s unique character, appeal and prestige among journalists.

“It cannot and will not be the same magazine without him and its readers will quickly notice this.

“I shall be surprised if you have any subscribers left after a few months.”

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Pitman, The Oldie’s Mrs Home Front, also announced she would no longer be writing for The Oldie last night, citing Ingrams’ departure.

“I am really proud of my long association with The Oldie, and have loved writing for it, but Richard’s departure makes it very difficult for me to continue,” she wrote.

“As you may know, Richard has been my friend since I was a secretary at Private Eye in 1990. He had faith in me as a writer and for over 20 years has passed work my way, always saving a place for me at the big table, and treating me just the same as more distinguished scribes. That meant a great deal to me.”

The announcements came after acting editor Jeremy Lewis told contributors last night that “that the overwhelming majority of Oldie contributors have chosen to continue writing for the magazine”.

In an email sent yesterday evening, he added: “The staff are working on the next issue, and are looking forward to the annual staff outing to Bruges later in the month.”

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