The Oldie: Columnist John Sweeney quits following resignation of editor Richard Ingrams - Press - Media - The Independent

The Oldie: Columnist John Sweeney quits following resignation of editor Richard Ingrams

 

Media Editor

 

The Oldie magazine, the witty handbook on modern life for the older generation, is to produce a farewell edition for its editor and founder Richard Ingrams – but the great satirist is not being allowed to write for it.

The magazine has been in turmoil since tensions between the former editor of Private Eye and The Oldie publisher James Pembroke came to a head eight days ago when the 76-year-old founder resigned after being summoned to a “disciplinary hearing”.

The Oldie office was closed last week and the staff – many of whom have been deeply upset by Ingrams’ departure – were asked to work from home as they prepare the August edition, its 311th, with eulogies to the man who thought it up 22 years ago and has edited it ever since.

At his home in Berkshire, a mournful Ingrams said he had been banned by the publisher from visiting The Oldie’s editorial offices in Newman Street, central London, because of the effect his presence might have on former colleagues. “He doesn’t want me to come into the office because it’s going to upset everyone – but that makes them even more upset than if I was to come in,” said Ingrams.

The investigative journalist John Sweeney, The Oldie’s “Roving Reporter” for more than 15 years, has quit the magazine saying he is unable to work for it without Ingrams. “No Ingrams, No Sweeney,” he said.

Ingrams, who set up The Oldie as “an antidote to youth culture but, more importantly, a magazine with emphasis on good writing, humour and quality illustration”, said he had not been able to collect his personal effects from his office. “Pembroke is going to clear my desk for me and drag it into a lot of crates and leave it on my doorstep,” he said.

He sounded bemused at the prospect of reading accolades to himself in a magazine he has been synonymous with throughout its existence. “They’re going to print in the next edition a lengthy tribute to me, which is rather ironic to say the least after all that’s happened. I’m not quite sure who’s going to write that.”

Richard Ingrams, who set up ‘The Oldie’ 22 years ago Richard Ingrams, who set up ‘The Oldie’ 22 years ago (Andy Paradise)
Sweeney respects Pembroke’s support for the magazine but sides with Ingrams. In his resignation email he wrote: “I have hugely enjoyed working for The Oldie and I would like to thank James Pembroke, the staff and all for everything. But I have been meaning to sack myself from my column for some time now so now is as good a time as any. As for Richard Ingrams, he is a national disgrace, thrice-cursed. A 76-year-old man who behaves like a spotty teenager, cantankerous, irascible and in any decent country would be taken out and shot. But he was, is and always will be to me a hero. I came in with him and I go out with him.”

He told The Independent that he hoped Ingrams and Pembroke might be able to make their peace. “Richard created the magazine. It’s his thing. The Oldie without Richard? Not for me I’m afraid. He has been making trouble for more than half a century, he’s a great journalist and one of God’s great squad of awkward Englishmen. Taking him on is like fighting a polar bear with a lollipop,” he said.

“The lovely thing about The Oldie is that in a non-PC, funny and subversive way it says ‘Don’t rule out old people’. Richard has made that point powerfully and beautifully in a youth and celebrity-obsessed age.”

The clash between Pembroke and Ingrams was the result of recent falls in circulation at a title that has doubled its sales over the past decade. When Ingrams gruffly explained he was not going to discuss the matter, the younger publisher tried to formally discipline him. Ingrams surprised him by resigning, saying he was “too old for disciplinary hearings”.

No one was available at The Oldie for comment.

The final edition with Ingrams’ name at the top of the masthead carried the headline “They Think It’s All Over” – another irony. In fact it was a reference to World Cup fever with an illustration of an elderly man having put his walking stick through the flat-screen television in the pub.

There are those within The Oldie’s staff who still hope Ingrams will return. If not, then Sweeney has suggested that he evolves once again to set up a third magazine venture beyond Private Eye and The Oldie, one that targets a generation not yet catered for: The Undead.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Director of Programming and Industry Engagement

£40k - £50k depending on experience: Sheffield Doc/Fest: Sheffield Doc/Fest is...

Resourcer / Junior Recruiter

£15-20k (DOE) + Benefits / Bonus: Guru Careers: Joining as a Resourcer / Juni...

Head of Design & UX / UX Architect

£55 - 70k: Guru Careers: Head of Design & UX / UX Architect is needed to join ...

Media and Entertainment Lawyer - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - A specialist opportunity with ...

Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week