The Feral Beast




Whicker's back, but where's the big budget?

So Alan Whicker, is making a return to the BBC at the ripe old age of 83. A four-part series will relive the highlights of his long-running travel series 'Whicker's World', which ended 10 years ago. As a cut-and-paste job, the show will be cheap to make. What a difference to 1999, when Whicker was commissioned by BBC2's then arts strand, 'Closer', to film a 50-minute profile of author Dick Francis. This involved making several visits to the Bahamas where Francis lived. The doc was to feature dramatised excerpts with 'EastEnders' actors but, after much time and money, editors looked at the first 14 minutes of film and scrapped the whole thing. 'Closer' was later axed too. Oh for the days of lavish Beeb budgets!

Grey Cardie gets nasty cut

After denying the rumours, 'Press Gazette' has scrapped its weekly print edition to publish a monthly magazine for features, beefing up its online news presence. But the first new edition has not been without its teething problems. The curmudgeonly columnist "Grey Cardigan" ends with a stinging attack on the designers: "Apologies for the truncated column. I'm told that the red-socked twats who did the redesign messed up the templates and left me 150 words short."

'Mail' has handover hiccup

Finding a relevant picture to spice up a boring business piece is a challenge faced by picture editors daily. So whoever laid out the article in the Money section of the 'Daily Mail' last week about banks speeding up cash ISA handovers must have been pleased, illustrating the copy with a picture of two female athletes handing over a baton. It's a hand-over, see. Alas, these particular athletes were members of the US team, who dropped the baton at Beijing and crashed out in the first round.

No skipping to the loo at Nat Mags

The offices of Nat Mags, publishers of 19 glossies including 'Esquire', 'Good Housekeeping' and 'Cosmopolitan' – edited by Louise Court – nearly ground to a halt on Thursday, for the unglamorous reason that the loos were out of action. Staffers were sent an email on Wednesday telling them to stay away as the water had to be turned off. "It was bad timing for 'Best' and 'Reveal', who were close to deadline," says an insider, "but the rest of us were delighted." Unfortunately for those looking forward to a bonus day's holiday, an email was sent the next day telling employees they were free to return and make use of the facilities. Many sensibly failed to check their emails.

Bloomberg: reports of Jobs' death are exaggerated

It's happened before, and it'll happen again. An obituary was published on Thursday of a man who is still alive. Bloomberg News erroneously reported the death of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, after a reporter had updated some stock copy. Jobs, has had pancreatic cancer, but he is believed to have fought it off. Bloomberg said the obit only momentarily appeared, and was marked "hold for release – do not use". It should have been fairly obvious the copy wasn't ready to go live – friends of Jobs were quoted extensively saying "XXX" about him.

Iran question at Newsmax

Happy birthday to 'Newsmax', the right-wing US mag that is 10 years old in September. Until 2006, its chairman was William Rees-Mogg, the very liberal former 'Times' editor. Perhaps it's just as well his association with 'Newsmax' is no more. Its website, described as "the leading Republican online propaganda site with a conservative bias", features a huge banner with the words "Bomb Iran?". Readers are asked, "do you believe Iran poses a greater threat than Saddam Hussein did before the Iraq War?" There's no box to tick if you don't feel Saddam was a threat at all.

Boris misses out on Mira

The long-serving property correspondent at the 'Evening Standard', Mira Bar-Hillel, has revealed she nearly left journalism for a job in Boris Johnson's office. She was interviewed last month for the post of deputy mayor with responsibility for planning and housing. But despite her experience, and despite offering some innovative ideas, such as a build-to-let scheme, she was gazumped to the post by Sir Simon Milton, who suddenly gave up his unpaid advisory role and bagged the £130,000 post for himself. Boris's loss is journalism's gain.

Good morning, I'm very pleased to see you...

He is as portly and genial as Terry Wogan, and now Adam Boulton, has had his own Sir Terry moment. The presenter of Sky's Sunday morning news programme last week gave viewers an unexpected view of his anatomy when he turned to the camera with an eye-popping bulge in his trousers. It must have been the cut of his pin-stripe suit, but even the most dedicated news-junkie couldn't help but be distracted by the display. Terry Wogan was famously forced to apologise for the contour of his corduroy trousers on 'Songs of Praise' last year.

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