The Feral Beast: Be quick to catch a fake sheikh

If you want to know what Mazher Mahmood looks like, have a peek at the newly published paperback edition of
News of the world? Fake Sheikhs & Royal Trappings, by Peter Burden. The book contains a picture of the
NoW's rarely photographed undercover reporter, arriving at Prince Michael of Kent's house, Nether Lypiatt, in the guise of a potential purchaser. But hurry, hurry. Last time anyone tried to print an image of his face, an injunction was swiftly applied.

Blood on the studio carpet?

Last week's edition of Channel 4's Surgery Live showed an operation drilling up through the nose to the base of the brain. Just before it went on air, presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy told the audience: "I'm amazed by the lack of blood. I suffer from nose bleeds terribly and it bleeds like a fountain." He ploughed on, ever the professional, despite expecting his own, empathetic explosion. He kept checking his nose, muttering, "I keep thinking it's going to bleed. It must be psychosomatic".

It's all Wright on the radio

BBC political reporter Ben Wright was detailed by Radio 4's The World At One on Friday to investigate the fat pay-offs MPs will get if they leave Parliament at the general election. Wright looked at two Tory MPs and two Labour, but he could have done his research more easily. His father is Tony Wright, Labour MP for Cannock Chase, who is himself standing down at the election.

The incredible shrinking net-mag

Trouble at The First Post. The online magazine, which was acquired by Felix Dennis last year, has lost a little of its lustre. I'm told that the struggling publication, which boasts a list of grandee writers, such Niall Ferguson and Peregrine Worsthorne, and which was well known for its generous fees, has just let go another two members of staff. One former writer said: "When it was sold, there were loads of us, when I left it was six. Heaven knows how few there are now." Who said the internet was the future?

Mystery mother's MP ambition

Julie Kirkbride's article in The Times last week, in which she played the childcare card to no notable effect, contained an intriguing reference. She mentioned a conversation with a woman journalist thinking of entering Parliament. Evidently she was worried about the effect it might have on her children. Julie assured her it was possible to be an MP and a good mother. But who was it? No one knows, but a degree of speculation surrounds The Times's Alice Thomson.

Book festival makes Hay

At the Hay book fest, which ends today, each Guardian journo is given £20 a day for food and provisions. Per person, that sounds a lot. They then got there, and, as Matthew Engel noted sharply in his talk, prices are hefty. Bottles of water are £2.50 and a pint of beer £6. Quite a few of them ended up paying out of their own pockets.

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