A perfect 10?

The Prime Minister's showbiz guests included a shooting-star journalist . And her partner went too. By Glenda Cooper

Who's that with Grant Mitchell? millions of EastEnders fans might have wondered when they clocked the photograph of him with a tasty redhead by his side. He was coming out of Tony Blair's At Home for showbiz types.

Who's that with Rebekah Wade? might have wondered the great and goodish members of Women in Journalism, liberal feminists from the broadsheets.

Anyway, he's there because he's Ross Kemp, famous soap star and so someone the Prime Minister wants to be associated with. And she's there because she's his partner?

Well yes, and no. She's there because she's the deputy editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. So the Prime Minister wants to be associated with her, too. This is NEW Labour, remember. And anyway, she's rather NEW News of the World. After all, she's also a founder member of Women in Journalism, which campaigns to improve women's position in the business and journalism's attitude to women.

When the News of the World meets Women in Journalism you would expect them both to make their excuses and leave. Since when were deputy editors of the News of the World big cheeses in Women in Journalism? Since Rebekah Wade, that's when. And since when were women in their twenties (she's 28 now) deputy editor of the News of the World? Since Rebekah Wade, that's when.

How did she get so far so fast? And how much is she resented? Not much, it appears. On the contrary, people on all sides seem ready to fall over themselves to praise her.

She is described as warm and very feminine, though she has risen swiftly in a world where toughness is a prerequisite. Her manner is open but she is also said to be very controlled. "I don't think she ever opens her mouth without knowing exactly what she is going to say," says one acquaintance.

"She looks frail and feminine but I would imagine she has got more balls than the majority of men," says Liz Simpson, editor of the business magazine Success Now. "She lives, eats and breathes journalism."

"She is the sort of woman who is so together that she does not use her femininity in any way," says Simpson. "There are women who use their sexuality to get what they want and I never feel they are totally at ease. That is not the impression Rebekah gives."

Wade's rise has been dramatic since she left the Messenger group and joined the News of the World magazine at the age of 20.

There she became editor, moved onto the main paper as a reporter and was picked by Piers Morgan, then NoW editor, to take over the features editor job when it became vacant.

"Rebekah was very hardworking, pretty ambitious. She was a very good journalist, very tenacious," says Morgan. "She was involved in some of the biggest stories the NoW was carrying at that time - Bienvenida Buck, Alan Clarke, James Hewitt."

She did take some flak when she first went along to Women in Journalism, says Ginny Dougary, author of The Executive Tart and other Myths, but she was also strong in standing up for tabloid values. "When she first came to Women in Journalism she was very funny about the attitude of the blokes on the paper who were in their 30s but were talking in this old colonel language `I suppose you're all going to be burning your bras are you?' - that sort of thing. I think she was very bold and brave."

"Tabloids are not an easy environment," says Georgina Henry, deputy editor of The Guardian, who also knows Wade through WIJ. "You have to be very tough and stand up for yourself. It's not the sort of New Men place."

Wade herself is proud of the fact that the first sponsorship that WIJ got was from News International after she persuaded the board it would be a good thing. And while others may say that working for tabloids is difficult, she sees it rather differently. More women have reached higher positions on tabloids than on broadsheets, which are all still in the grip of Oxford and Cambridge cliques.

For someone who has risen swiftly through the ranks of bitchy tabloid journalism it is remarkably difficult to get anyone to say a bad - or at least unkind - word about her. Her most vulnerable area is her marriage to Ross Kemp, who as one of the most popular members of EastEnders is forever in the limelight.

Her relationship with Kemp "is a source of constant amusement" in the office, says Morgan, and certainly Wade tries to keep her relationship out of the public eye - going in through the back door at film premieres to avoid being photographed with him. She agreed to go to Downing Street with him because they had both been invited separately.

"I think she would take the view that you can't be hypocritical about these things," says Georgina Henry. "If you put yourself in the limelight you're up for grabs. She tries to stay out of the limelight".

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star