The feral beast: The lure of the ivory towers

Only six months into the job, Emily Mann is stepping down as the New Statesman's deputy editor.

The brilliant young former sub is returning to her PhD in architectural history, for which she had been offered funding before accepting the Statesman job. Having tried it, she has now decided in favour of academia, although will continue to work two days a week. Mann trained on the Morning Star before joining New Statesman in 1999, where she met Jason Cowley, the then books editor. On becoming editor, he poached her back from The Guardian.

Moir's unlikely defender

Not many people have stuck up for Jan Moir but she has an unlikely defender in Peter Tatchell, only our most strident gay rights campaigner. "There was definitely an over-reaction," he tells me, referring to her Daily Mail article about Stephen Gately that drew 22,000 complaints. "It's easy to bash Moir. But why aren't people more upset about the homophobic murder of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square? There have been four homophobic murders in the past year. That's much more important than what she wrote."

Belt and braces for Griffin

The show did go on, but producers at Question Time were not taking any chances on Thursday. A mole tells me there were fears the broadcast could be scuppered by BBC staffers keen to prevent transmission of Nick Griffin's moment of fame. After recording, a raw copy of the show was sent down the line from BBC television centre to the Mentorn editing suite, as usual. But to ensure it actually got there, a hard copy was biked over too. You can't be too careful.

Hunt to paddle his own canoe

Convivial Daily Mail foreign editor Gerry Hunt has quit, after more than 20 years. Formerly news editor at the Royal Gazette in Bermuda, Hunt dedicated his best years to the Mail. However, he is said to have become frustrated at having so few correspondents, and has taken early retirement. His career highlights include helping the Mail find the missing canoe woman, Anne Darwin, in Panama two years ago. We raise our glasses to his happy retirement.

Waiting for firing news to break

Anxious times at website Breakingviews, where jobs are to go after its acquisition by Reuters. Letters have been sent to commercial and administrative staff warning there may not be roles for them after December. Two web editors are also at risk, but the rest of the 22 editorial posts are thought to be safe for now.

Return of old Spectator loves

Hats off to new Spectator editor Fraser Nelson for bringing back Christopher Howse's beloved Portrait of the Week. Scores of readers cancelled when it was axed by Nelson's predecessor Matthew d'Ancona. Although friends, some are pondering the significance of an article this week by Katherine Bergen – d'Ancona's ex.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
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