The Feral Beast: Derbyshire's African gripes

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The Independent Online

Why is 5 Live presenter Victoria Derbyshire tootling round Africa on a BBC junket? Listeners to her morning show have been perplexed to hear it transmitted from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Derbyshire – memorably called "idiotic" by John Humphrys earlier this year – claimed to be testing Mugabe's reversal of the ban on BBC journalists. But her blog has been inundated with gripes about her lack of insight into the country's economic and political situation. Others say how handy to find oneself in South Africa ahead of the World Cup draw.

'Tablet' excuse is hard to swallow

As a Catholic newspaper, The Tablet is unswerving in its pursuit of truth. But a correction in the current issue is a little hard to take. An interview with exotic composer Roxanna Panufnik quoted her as saying her father was "defecting not defecating" when he escaped from his KGB escort through a lavatory window. She was also reported to have likened boarding school to being "enclosed by the Berlin wall". Now she has hotly denied having said these things to Tablet scribe Rick Jones. His excuse? "A defective tape recorder". That old chestnut.

Clue to Telegraph's travails

So rarely does anyone have a good thing to say about the Daily Telegraph that when Colin Dexter recommended its crossword it was seized on for a page two story, headlined "Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword 'best in Britain'". But anyone who heard the Morse creator on Today will know he actually said "I think if you're in the middle range of the cryptic group of crosswords I would start off, alas, with the Daily Telegraph." Oddly, " alas" didn't make the story.

Zoe seeks a starstruck gofer

After quitting the Sunday Mirror, showbiz hack Zoe Griffin has created a one-woman blog providing 24-hour celebrity nonsense. Now she is recruiting an "intern" to help her out. The successful candidate "will perform a range of duties" – including "attending product launches and nightclub parties, setting up interviews, liaising with PRs and then writing it all up into fun-sized blog posts," she writes. The pay is, er, peanuts: "Travel expenses and lunches paid and at night time there will be canapés."

Murison clears up after Obs cuts

Even we are sad to see the closure of three Observer magazines, but NME editor Krissi Murison is not. I'm told she plans to hoover up several top journalists from Observer Music Monthly.

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