Stephen Glover: 'Even now, it is hard to believe that we did it'

 

Another world. On the evening of 6 October 1986, ITV's News at Ten leads with a story about the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth. There is an item about a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine. Only towards the end of the bulletin is there mention of "Britain's first new quality newspaper for more than a century" and pictures of copies rolling off the presses.

The first advertisement in the "break" is for The Independent. A young man is repeatedly hit on the head with a newspaper as we hear opinionated voices in the background. "In our opinion." Smack. "But in our opinion." Another smack, more violent. And then a smooth, reassuring voice tells us about a wonderful new newspaper that will be financially and politically independent. "From October 7. The Independent. It is. Are you?"

What a long time ago it seems and yet I can remember, I can feel, the optimism and excitement. The day began like any other. We had been producing dummies for weeks. There is a sense of calm in our offices on the edge of the City, of people going about their business as usual. At the morning conference the news is thin. Andreas Whittam Smith, the editor, sits bent forward, pencil in hand, peering at the news list as though further excitements might be wrung from it. Jonathan Fenby, the home editor, reads out some relatively unspectacular offerings. As foreign editor, I recite an equally unexceptional foreign list. Patrick Marnham is with the Pope in southern France. James Fenton has done a piece about cooking a goat for Muslim rebels in the Philippines.

A visitor from Mars might conclude we had been doing this all our lives. The only oddity is the intrusive television cameras, which begin to infuriate Whittam Smith. He suddenly snaps that they will have to be removed unless the TV crew stops chattering. All of us are nervous beneath the surface. During the afternoon a bottle of champagne arrives for Whittam Smith from the editor of The Daily Telegraph, generally believed to be our main rival, with an ironic note of congratulations.

Shortly after midnight, copies of the paper arrive from Sittingbourne, the nearest of our four contract printers to London. What incredulous pride we feel. Even now it is hard to believe that we have produced a new newspaper. There is a party and champagne, and Whittam Smith makes a short speech, thanking everyone for their hard work. He raises his glass to The Independent.

The next day, pundits have prophecies of doom for the fledgling title. (The Telegraph editor sends us a wreath.) The following months will be hard, but those of us who were there on the first day knew we were part of something important that we would never forget.

We would have been ecstatic – and perhaps a little surprised – to know that a quarter of a century later our new newspaper had survived.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before