Sun on Sunday turns out to be more of the same, only less so

John Walsh finds the bland new paper unwilling to offend and unlikely to excite

Even before the News of the World ceased operations on 10 July last year, we knew it was set to return; the URL sunonsunday.co.uk had been registered on 5 July. For nearly eight months, we've been breathless with expectation: imagine the vigour and cheek of The Sun allied to the campaigning zeal of the Screws. Imagine more kiss-and-tell footballer babes and Nazi S&M parlours, more fake sheiks and Pakistani spot-fixing, more swingers' clubs and imaginative uses for mobile phones. Would it be a rag we could treasure as a monument to British vulgarity, plumbing new depths of pun-riddled persiflage?

I almost walked past it in the newsagent's. I thought it must be The Sun from the day before. It's not called The Sun on Sunday, just The Sun, with "Sunday" an apologetic, miniature addition. How disappointing to find it's exactly the same as the daily, only less so. It's the weekly Sun minus about 15 per cent of its style.

The splash on Amanda Holden's briefly problematic Caesarean op is stupefyingly dull and doesn't justify four pages inside. The exclusives lack the wow factor: a new Sun poll reveals that we're spending more on groceries and heating (because the prices have gone up, duh). Even the Page 3 girl, Kelly Rowland, keeps her hands over her raspberry ripples, Saturday Sun-style.

The editors have looked far and wide for columnists whose views will provide the nation with hot talking-points. Toby Young unconvincingly backs Michael Gove ahead of Boris Johnson and George Osborne to be future head of the Conservative Party, and complains The Artist has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay Oscar ("Is that a joke?") Can this sophisticated man really not distinguish between "screenplay" and "dialogue"? Or is he just playing to the gallery?

The most extraordinary newcomer to The Sun's panel of opinion-formers, however, is Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York. In his column, Britain's second-most senior churchman fascinatingly reveals he's giving up alcohol, meat and dairy products for Lent. But his main function is to act as the new paper's cheerleader. "I know there will be those who will criticise me for writing in a newspaper seen by many as filling the gap left by the News of the World...." he writes. No, Dr John. There will be those who ask: how much is Murdoch paying him for this advertorial bollocks?

A long editorial reminds readers of The Sun's record of scoops and campaigns, and promises to "hold our journalists to the standards we expect of them" as laid down by the News Corporation Standards of Business Conduct. It further undertakes, "The Sun will never hesitate to speak its mind... It will never be boring." The first sighting of the post-Leveson Sunday edition tells a different story: it will be bland, it will be nice to celebrities, it will be anxious to please, it will contain nothing to upset – or to excite in any way.

'Is that it?' 1st edition verdict

Neville Thurlbeck, Former NOTW chief reporter: "Fleet Street won't be holding its breath for revelations which will set the news agenda alight. But this is surely the type of tabloid paper we will be getting post-Leveson."

Alastair Campbell, Former Labour spin doctor (From a tweet on Saturday night): "Sun on Sunday have clearly put a phoney front page out. Real one will be second edition. Otherwise major 'Is that it?' problem."

Kelvin MacKenzie, former Sun editor: "This is not trying to be the News of the World with the Sun logo on it. Personally, I like sleaze on a Sunday, so I feel slightly robbed."

Roy Greenslade, Former Daily Mirror editor: "Calculated not to provoke, it runs on through page after page of rather bland material ... no surprises, no controversies."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam