The Word on the Street

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The Independent Culture
MATTHEW D'ANCONA, deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, is, we hear, being wooed by the Barclay brothers to be deputy to Andrew Neil, editor-in-chief of The Scotsman. So far, Mr D'Ancona has turned them down. What seems rather odd is that the state of Express Newspapers apparently loomed large in discussions. The Express group has a very visible editor- in-chief in the shape of Rosie Boycott, and the Barclay brothers have made no official approach to buy the titles. Is that about to change?

HUGO YOUNG, of The Guardian and chairman of the Scott Trust, denounced in his column last Thursday those who accept a peerage. Writing about George Robertson's elevation, he fumes that far from being an honour, elevation to the House of Lords is "a self-inflicted wound, a mark of Cain. Suddenly, a good man joins the company of music-hall jokes that continue to define a Britain which is supposed to be millennially modernising." The Prime Minister, urges Young, should relieve all life peers of the title lord or lady. It would be illuminating to learn how this went down with one recently ennobled life peer - Baron Gavron of Highgate, chairman of the Guardian Media Group.

IN HIS MacTaggart Lecture, Richard Eyre, chief executive of ITV, said that when he was interviewed for the post of director general of the BBC earlier this year, he was asked by the governors what the BBC's most important function was. "News," he replied. In an aside to the MacTaggart audience, he said: "I wonder what Greg Dyke told them." In fact, Mr Dyke's answer was "education". Those who imagined the Dyke years might signal a move downmarket may be in for a welcome surprise.

KATHRYN FLETT wrote a column in The Observer about the breakdown of her marriage. Flett then wrote a book based on the column. Now she's written a five-page diary for next month's edition of Elle magazine chronicling her "tears, trembling" etc at the savaging she received in parts of the media, not least from psychologist Oliver James. Perhaps he's never heard of Flett Syndrome - compulsive chronicling of one's own life with additional earnings (sorry, therapy) from chronicling the media reaction.

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