The great and the goof of British journalism

Axegrinder is aware that there will be so much written about the legendary Bill Deedes in the months and years ahead ‒ his funeral took place in Kent on Wednesday this week.

Stephen Robinson, his official biographer, who became a very close and caring companion to Bill in his last few years, wrote an excellent piece in the Daily Telegraph’s pull-out supplement dedicated to Bill’s life and works.

One of the conditions of Bill’s biography was that it was only to be published after his death.

So now, Robinson, formerly comment editor at the Telegraph, is putting his fingers to the keyboard at his home near London’s Regents Park, in order to hand in his prose to his publisher, Little Brown, in October.

Meanwhile, some Telegraph wags have pointed out that of all the fulsome tributes to Bill, one was missing ‒ that of John Bryant, a temporary editor of the Telegraph, who claimed fame at the Daily Mail for getting South African athlete Zola Budd to tell her story.

And it goes like this: at one of Bill’s recent book launches, while Bryant was editor, Bill turned to a colleague to say how sorry he was that the editor hadn’t been able to make it.

Naturally, Bill went on, he understood the pressures of the editor’s job more than anyone else.

The colleague listened patiently before replying: “But Bill, John Bryant was talking to you for about 20 minutes.”

Bill clapped his hand to forehead and remarked in his inimitable style: “Oh, dear, I thought that was one of the sub-editors who had recently been sacked!”The great and the goof of British journalism

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