The Feral Beast


Get ready for the 'fantasy schoolmaster'

After spells at 'the Daily Telegraph' and 'Daily Mail', Harry Mount has joined 'Reader's Digest'. The 36-year-old son of writer and novelist Ferdinand Mount and cousin of David Cameron has been snapped up by my colleague Sarah Sands, recently appointed editor-in-chief of 'Reader's Digest' in Britain. "Harry acts as a fantasy schoolmaster," she says. "We refer to him as 'Sir' in the office." Mount is working on the digest section at the front of the magazine, and is in charge of the much-loved Word Power column, which aims to help readers extend their vocabulary. He will also write a column called 'Nuggets'; Sands calls it "a quirky digest of educational wisdom".

Fern Britton: out of the frying pan and into the fridge

A splendidly timed appearance by Fern Britton in the What's In Your Fridge slot in 'London Lite' last week. It was a curious moment for Fern to tell London's Tube-using masses about her gastronomic proclivities, following the previous week's hoo-ha over her secret gastric band. It will certainly have confounded some journalists, as Fern has been vehemently turning down interview requests – including from 'The Independent on Sunday' – since the fuss began. So how did 'Lite' land such an exclusive? An insider tells me interviews for that slot are conducted weeks in advance, and it was only by chance the paper found itself sitting on a delicious little scoop. No doubt Fern was delighted by its timely appearance.

The 'sycophant' says sorry

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne has grudgingly accepted an apology from 'The Spectator' after the magazine's editor, Matthew d'Ancona, meddled with his copy in a craven attempt to avoid offending the rag's proprietors, the Barclay brothers. The apology comes after Sir Peregrine lodged a complaint with the PCC, as first reported here. Although he accepted the wording before it was published, he would have liked a stronger punishment. "I wanted the PCC to wrap the editor over the knuckles for excessive sycophancy," he tells me.

Critic in court drama

Theatre critic Lloyd Evans will put himself at the mercy of colleagues when the curtain rises on his own play. 'Grand Slam', a comedy about the Wimbledon tennis set, opens at the King's Head Theatre in north London on 24 June to coincide with the start of the tournament. Evans has previously co-written two plays with fellow 'Spectator' columnist Toby Young, one of which was offered a West End transfer. But he admits: "Sport and theatre have never been happy bedfellows, particularly when there is a big football competition on."

So who tried to steal the President's pillow?

After the excitement of interviewing President Bush on Air Force One, 'Times' journalist Tom Baldwin filed a short piece on life inside the flying White House. In it he revealed that "one 'Times' journalist was told to put back the pillow he was stuffing into his bag" during this latest trip. Well, who could the mysterious thief be? The full interview carried just two bylines – Baldwin's and that of Gerry Baker. So unless he was writing about himself in the third person, it was a very poor attempt to preserve Baker's anonymity. Over to Baldwin: "Don't assume anything ... I wouldn't be the only journalist who writes about himself in the third person, would I? You'll just have to guess."

Walter Mitty puts in a seven-day shift at the 'Telegraph'

Two weeks ago this column learned of plans to integrate further the daily and Sunday titles at the Telegraph Media Group. When it was put to the company's press office, a spokeswoman said: "There is absolutely no question of introducing a seven-day 'Telegraph' operation." Funny then that last week the group announced the integration of news operations across the 'Daily', 'Sunday' and online 'Telegraph's, following earlier mergers on the business, comment and sport desks. The same TMG spokeswoman now says that although the staff may be the same, the titles will retain "quite separate identities". As one exhausted staffer quips: "You don't have to be Walter Mitty to work here, but it helps."

Let's hope they've never watched a disaster movie

Top nobs at Associated Newspapers are setting off for a blue-sky thinking break in San Francisco this week. The assembled company will include 'Mail' editor Paul Dacre, proprietor Lord Rothermere (pictured) and 'Evening Standard' editor Veronica Wadley, along with directors Kevin Beatty and Guy Zitter, 'Mail on Sunday' editor Peter Wright and 'MoS' executive editor Ted Verity – in fact all the most senior people at Associated. When the Royal Family travel abroad en masse, they fly on separate planes in case of disaster. But I gather no such precautions will be taken next week, and the party will all be flying on just the one jumbo jet. Chocks away!

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Media & Advertising Sales Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national business publishi...

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Guru Careers: Bathroom Showroom Manager / Bathroom Sales Designer

£22 - £25k basic + Commission=OTE £35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Bathroom Sh...

Guru Careers: Account Executive / Account Manager

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive / Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones