The Spectator

Half a million reasons to show Patience on the payoff
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The Independent Online

Over at 'The Sunday Telegraph', the word going round the office is that ousted editor Patience Wheatcroft is in line for a handsome pay-off of over £500,000. The money is most likely to be paid out in dribs and drabs to extend her silence on internal affairs. Intriguingly, staff are also saying that Wheatcroft had a clause in her contract demanding she be treated "decently" by her employers – defining that would keep lawyers in business and fine wine for many years. As those wranglings rumble on in the background, Wheatcroft's successor, Ian MacGregor, set the tone of his premiership by being seen to have an office conference with editor-in-chief Will Lewis. The highly experienced Wheatcroft, staff say, "never went to see Will Lewis for advice".

Good week for

BBC relations with the Government: The new Culture Secretary, James Purnell, below, has been sticking up for top-notch TV. "I agree with Jeremy Paxman that television does have a higher purpose, but I am more optimistic about its ability to do that," he said. "British TV can treat the rest of the world as an equal... Even with all the change happening, BBC television is still among the best in the world." Shame he wasn't around for the licence-fee settlement.

Bad week for

New music: Michael Parkinson has complained that TV executives wouldn't give him enough air time to show fresh talent. In an interview with digital radio station theJazz, he recalls that when he started out in the Seventies he could count Oscar Peterson and Woody Herman as regulars on his shows. "There's a generation of people running broadcasting now who have no musical culture beyond that which exists in the top 10." Top what?

Light on her feet

The 'Telegraph' reshuffle means that Tony Gallagher, formerly executive head of news at 'The Daily Telegraph', has been promoted to deputy editor. Management must hold him in high regard, considering that earlier this year he was facing a formal grievance lodged by a member of his staff. Telegraphers say Gallagher allegedly threatened and verbally abused education editor Liz Lightfoot. The grievance was settled. Then Lightfoot left the 'Telegraph' suddenly at the end of last month, as part of the "reshuffle".

Bitter taste at 'Mirror'

Marco Pierre White already refuses to do business with the 'Daily Mail'. Could the 'Mirror' be next? TV editor Nicola Methven and columnist Polly Hudson went down to 'Hell's Kitchen' for Thursday's show. Imagine their delight at finding a hair in the shepherd's pie – an excuse to harangue MPW handed to them on a plate. But MPW turned the tables, insulting Hudson's "cheap" dress and taste. 'Mirror' editor Richard Wallace hovered in the background but, it seems, was not gentlemanly enough to intervene.

When 2 + 2 = 200,000

Last week 'the times' printed a graphic on its front page, boasting its lead over 'The Daily Telegraph' in full-rate newspaper sales and in monthly unique users for the website. The 'Telegraph' has hit back with its own creative statistical analysis. Its front-page chart claims the 'Telegraph' sold 200,000 more copies than 'The Times', including its reduced-rate copies, and got more monthly digital page impressions over the same period. Soon they'll be counting the rats in the sacks, as Paxman might say.

Saatchi shenanigans

With Gordon Brown inviting Lady Thatcher to tea and hiring ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the Tories must wonder how much more ground Labour can invade. In a rearguard action, Tory communications maestro Andy Coulson set about reminding us of one small point. The creative geniuses behind the "Labour isn't working" campaign were Maurice and Charles Saatchi, who left Saatchi & Saatchi to start rival M&C Saatchi in 1995. Not mentioned was that the Tories dumped their account with M&C last year.