The Word On The Street

FANS OF the surreal comic Chris Morris have been short-changed. A recent episode of Blue Jam, aired at 1am, was cut short by a sharp-eared Radio 1 editor. Mr Morris had delivered a tape for broadcast that contained an extra item, not previously agreed with Radio 1. Because of his past history of messing with broadcast tapes, an engineer decided to play simultaneously a previously recorded tape. Towards the end of the show, the sound of the Archbishop of Canterbury's voice at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales came on air. The engineer quickly faded to the pre-vetted tape. This means we have yet to hear Britain's greatest satirist on the subject of Britain's greatest unexploited satire target. The diary would be grateful to hear from anyone who has such a valuable piece of our comedy heritage.

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NICE TO see Paul Johnson back in the, er, saddle. As it were. After months of absence from the Daily Mail after he was exposed as an adulterer who likes to be spanked, his column has started to reappear regularly. For months, his only missive had been an innocuous piece. Now he's back, we look forward to hearing again about the strength of his marriage and the strength of his religious and moral convictions. In fact, we'll be making a point of looking out for them.

u

IN THE future, not only will everyone be famous for 15 minutes, but everyone will have a personal publicist. Caroline Aherne, the troubled comedienne who plays Mrs Merton, emerged from the rehab clinic, The Priory, earlier this month and issued a press statement. As you do. It said: "It's lovely to be home and I especially want to thank everybody for their love, support, cards and flowers. It's touched me so much. I've realised I am an alcoholic and I am now in the process of starting my recovery." While the Word on the Street has every sympathy for someone at such a difficult time, and admires her openness, we note that this was faxed to every newsroom in the land. It could set a worrying Nineties trend: the celebrity confessional by fax.

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THE DAILY Telegraph has been known as the Hellograph by Private Eye for some time, but even regular readers of the paper were amazed to see so much space given over to a naked Anthea Turner last week. She and her snake were splayed across page three in a way that could have killed off colonels right across the Home Counties. In fact, one or two wrote or phoned in to complain about the paper's tabloid news values. The Hellograph gave the lottery presenter even more space than The Sun did.

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ALL THOSE "Camp Clamper" headlines about Ray Brown (pictured), the traffic warden from the BBC soap doc Clampers, have clearly done the man's career no harm. Having been accused of making it up for the camera anyway, he will now do so for the satellite channel Gay TV. He is to host the channel's version of Blind Date - Gay Mate Date. He promises to ask contestants how the sex was on their night out.

u

POOR OLD Tina Weaver, The Mirror's deputy editor, was offered the pictures of Prince Harry abseiling. She decided not to use them, on the basis that they would infringe the Prince's privacy and she might get her knuckles rapped by the Press Complaints Commission. The News of the World duly snapped them up and the resulting furore about the Prince's safety swamped any talk of intrusion. The Mirror had to follow the story the next day, using the same pictures. Welcome to the post-Diana world.

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