The feral beast: Barber says 'bye-bye'

Another blow for The Observer. Lynn Barber is jumping ship. The legendary interviewer, whose autobiography, An Education, has been adapted into a film by Nick Hornby due out next month, is said to be quitting The Observer in its darkest hour and decamping to the warm bosom of The Sunday Times.

Rusbridger's no dummy

Word reaches me that while hang-dog Observerites are drawing up their plans for a smaller newspaper to save money and avert closure, Alan Rusbridger has ordered his own team to prepare dummies of the Sunday Guardian, which he hopes will replace 218 years of journalistic tradition. Rumblings of discontent can be heard, however, from senior figures at Guardian Media Group who worry Mr Rusbridger is overreaching himself. If this becomes a "back me or sack me" ultimatum, the editor-in-chief need not worry. His pension pot is believed to be eye-wateringly generous.

Dugard and a transatlantic dust-up

The Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping case is threatening a transatlantic media row. The San Francisco Chronicle has accused British hacks of plain lazy journalism. A comment piece in the California newspaper noted that The Daily Telegraph said the Garridos were on suicide watch in Contra Costa County Jail. "The Garridos, however, are behind bars in El Dorado County," the Chronicle pointed out. Next up was the Daily Mail, which quoted one neighbour as saying Garrido held drug-fuelled orgies where men "of Mexican appearance" would line up for sex at Dugard's tent. "The neighbor's niece told me the article was 'appalling' and that her uncle had almost certainly been misquoted. It wasn't much of a story anyway, at least compared to the truth," snipes the Chronicle.

Edge tipped himself over

Further to my story about theatre reviewing at The Express, Simon Edge gets in touch to say that he was not "edged out". It was rather that, having been asked to continue, he chose not to carry on as a contributer with Paul Callan doing the lead reviews. Readers can still enjoy the Callan-inspired game of "gamut watch". Rachel Weisz in Streetcar "brilliantly runs an entire gamut of emotions", Lynda Bellingham was said to be "an actress who can run a whole gamut of emotions", and Greta Scacchi, in The Deep Blue Sea, manages to convey a gamut of emotions that range from the hysterical to the sadly cynical.

Boris on Parris's show? Sob ...

In his Times column, Matthew Parris notes – boasts? – that he keeps reducing his guests to tears on his Radio 4 series "Great Lives". First, it was Kate Humble, the Springwatch wildlife presenter. Then, Parris had Rolf Harris weeping about fellow artist Sir Kyffin Williams. "At this rate, I'll be up there with Oprah," quips Parris. Next week, brave Boris Johnson will be talking about the 18th-century essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson. The Feral Beast will be tuning in, hoping to hear the London Mayor blub.

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