The Feral Beast

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The Independent Online

Sir Peregrine, d'Ancona and a tale of table manners

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne has appealed to the Press Complaints Commission after 'The Spectator' ran a bastardised version of his review of a biography of Bill Deedes. He has also written to complain to 'Speccy' editor Matthew d'Ancona (pictured), thought to have been responsible for distorting his copy, but has had no reply. Now the ex-'Sunday Telegraph' editor hopes the PCC will rule that d'Ancona has contravened its code and force him to publish a correction. "The first line of the code specifically rules out misinforming the readers or distorting information," says Sir Peregrine, who attended a dinner with D'Ancona at the Garrick last week in honour of outgoing 'Spectator' deputy editor Stuart Reid. Hours earlier d'Ancona emailed Sir Peregrine to say "I hope civilities will be maintained", to which Sir Peregrine replied: "It's safe to say you can rely on my manners more than I can rely on your editorial integrity."

The ‘Express’ strike shuttle

No eggs were thrown, but a strike by staff rejecting a 3 per cent pay rise at Express Newspapers caused plenty of headaches on Friday. Two vans of post were turned away and, despite a heavy security presence, police were called. In a throwback to the 1980s, blacked-out vans shuttled non-strikers into the building, though 'Express' editor Peter Hill drove his own car, while proprietor Richard Desmond walked.

Hot Curry to spice up Sky

Declan Curry, BBC Breakfast's face of the stock market, is said to be moving to Sky. A presenter on BBC News 24 for more than 10 years, Declan is so popular that there are five Facebook groups dedicated to him. No doubt Sky made an offer he couldn't refuse, although fellow presenter Maryam Mashiri might be over-optimistic when she writes on his profile, "I hope it's not for less than £3m".

Even slimmer ‘Standard’

Belt-tightening at the 'Evening Standard' has led to more job cuts. Culls are taking place on the news and subs desks, as well as on the paper's much-loved gossip column, The Londoner's Diary. Features subs have taken the biggest hit: reduced from 19 to six staffers in just three years.

Is this the same Mugabe?

The luxury of hindsight. "Never let it be forgotten that it was the British Left who gave succour to the monstrous Mr Mugabe," thundered Stephen Glover in the 'Mail' last week. His rant claimed Robert Mugabe (pictured) "has always been a bad chap". Could this be the same S Glover who in 1996 wrote a piece for the 'Telegraph' praising Zimbabwe's President for allowing a free press and encouraging a healthy economy?

The hijacking of Dr Who

Listeners to BBC London were astonished when a live interview with David Tennant and Catherine Tate was hijacked. The interview was taking place via an ISDN line from a Virgin studio. But BBC presenter Joanne Good was horrified when Virgin's Christian O'Connell cut her off to ask his own question. "It was desperate of a commercial radio station to poach our listeners."

Lobby needs its lunch

Gordon Brown's decision to put back the start of his monthly press conference (it began at 12.30pm on Wednesday rather than midday) upset the press lobby. Clashed with the hacks' lunches, you see. If the PM sticks to this new timing, he may find many fewer hacks turn up. Which, of course, could not possibly be the reason for the time change.

Gumboots, not gumption

Huntin' and fishin' magazine 'The Field' is searching for an editorial assistant. The adverts don't bother with the usual guff about how the successful applicant for the gofer post will need outstanding communication skills and an ability to work effectively as part of a team. But they do state one essential requirement: "Ownership of gumboots would be a distinct advantage."

Style and a lot of substance

Style columnist Tyler Brule is a busy beaver. Not only is he reviving his 'FT' Fast Lane column, but I hear he has been signed up to 'Vanity Fair' and the new 'Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly'. He is also editor-in-chief of 'Monocle'. How much style can he cover?

The dummy Archer is left on the shelf

New comedy 'Headcases' – a sort of digitally enhanced 'Spitting Images' – starts on ITV tonight. But the channel had originally planned to revive the chart-topping latex satire proper, with a whole new cast of grotesque puppets. The plan was shelved after costs began to spiral, although the team's choice of victims – among them ITV's cheeky chappies Ant and Dec – was also thought to be a problem. In its 1980s heyday, having a 'Spitting Image' was a form of flattery – Jeffrey Archer, novelist, former MP and convict, used to love his so much that he would ring the producers to find out when he was next going to be on.