The Feral Beast

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An editor's 'light touch control' is a financier's free-for-all

'Telegraph' editor Will Lewis looked like the cat who'd got the cream when he gave a lecture to students at his alma mater, City University, on Thursday. And well he might after figures released that day showed that, in March, his newspaper's website attracted an astonishing 38.7 per cent month-on-month increase in unique users. Lewis (pictured) boasted of his paper's successful move into multimedia, claiming the site now has 15,000 regular contributors on its blogs. The British media has benefited from minimal regulation, he argued, comparing it with the "light touch of regulation" that had made the City of London such a global success after the Big Bang of 1986. But is that really a shrewd analogy? Financial experts from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke down have been blaming the current crisis on the City's lack of regulation.

Casualty of Paul's divorce

Another year, another 'Sunday Times' Rich List. But has the fanfare for the run-down of the UK's top plutocrats, published today, been a little muted? The accuracy of its figures was somewhat discredited by the Heather Mills (right) and Paul McCartney divorce case, after the Hon Mr Justice Bennett accepted Paul was worth only £400m, a smidgen less than the £725m accorded him on last year's list.

Tom's Page 3 stunner

Only two weeks ago, Tom Newton Dunn, defence editor of 'The Sun', was picking up so many prizes (well, four, including Reporter of the Year) at the British Press Awards that wags joked he might as well stay up on stage to avoid schlepping up and down all night. So how did editor Rebekah Wade reward Newton Dunn for all his hard work back in the Wapping office? By writing captions for Page 3. On Wednesday the nation's best reporter was assigned the task of praising perfect Peta, "who boasts 30F cannons", according to Newton Dunn. A veritable Jim Davidson.

From MI6 to Maddy

'The Mail on Sunday' last week ran a "special investigation" into the police hunt for Madeleine McCann by David Rose, billed as "Britain's foremost investigative reporter". Could this be the same D Rose who admitted last autumn to having been duped into peddling misinformation for the Secret Service as a young hack? In a piece for the 'New Statesman' he confessed to penning "somewhat breathless" articles for 'The Observer' after being treated to Darjeeling and eclairs at the Ritz by an "urbane" senior MI6 agent exuding "clandestine glamour" and carrying a "rolled-up copy of 'The Times'".

R4: the next generation

Radio 4 Listeners, regularly blasted for being too middle class, should brace themselves for change once Jenny Abramsky (below) steps down as the BBC's director of radio. While Abramsky is credited with launching the Beeb's first digital radio channels, she has largely resisted change on Radio 4. Among the favourites to replace her is Andy Parfitt, currently controller of Radio 1 and the BBC's designated "teen tsar", whose brief is to win teen audiences.

Sarah's penguin silenced

Actress Sarah Lancashire is still probably best known for her role on 'Coronation Street', but viewers of 'Emmerdale' will have recognised her distinctive voice as the penguin in adverts for the soap's sponsor, Airwick. Now the penguin has mysteriously got a different voice. Could it have anything to do with Lancashire's appearance in the BBC's 'Doctor Who', as noted here, which I understand has infuriated ITV execs? But Lancashire shouldn't fret too much – her husband, Peter Salmon, is chief creative officer at the Beeb.

Ten times as many toffs

The 5p price rise on the 'Daily Mail' last week prompted the 'Express' to drop a longstanding truce. It boasted that its cover price remained, at 40p, "10p cheaper than the 'Mail'" and that it was "10 times better" every day. Despite that, I hear the 'Express' is taking a new direction, with hacks under orders to go upmarket. Contributors to the gossip column Day and Night have been told to bring in more "serious" stories. The focus is now on "prominent businessmen, society folk, literary luminaries and the like – not just showbiz fluff".

Richard forsakes Judy for the lonely life of a writer

As Richard and Judy move from Channel 4 to UKTV, their reign as the king and queen of telly seems likely to end. Richard (pictured) insists otherwise. "Paid-for TV is the way it's going," he says, "it's the future". Maybe, but meanwhile he is lining up a sideline solo career for himself as a writer. The ink is hardly dry on his semi-autobiographical novel 'Fathers and Sons', and he is already drafting a sequel, I hear. "It's very lonely and hard to write, because you have to cut yourself off from people, but I did enjoy it and am already talking to the publishers about books two and three. Possibly they will be fiction while this one is partly biographical."

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