Cassandra back on radio after rude interruption

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The Independent Online

As Cassandra, his column graced the pages of the Daily Mirror for 35 years, firing out opinions and jokes with a pugnacity that delighted as many as it infuriated.

Among those he crossed were Winston Churchill, who thought him a traitor; George Orwell, who believed him a liar; and Liberace, whom he controversially outed. But now Bill Connor, widely regarded as the finest newspaper columnist in history, is to be introduced to a new audience when Radio 4 broadcasts a series of his finest writings on a subject he held close to his heart: eating and drinking.

The part of Connor, who died in 1967, will be read by the actor Roger Lloyd Pack, while all royalties will go to the Journalist's Charity.

Connor took the name for his columns from the daughter of the King of Troy, who was cursed by Apollo so that nobody would believe her pessimistic predictions.

One of his most celebrated quotes came when he reintroduced his column after its enforced absence during the Second World War, with the words: "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted..."

The former Daily Mirror journalist Revel Barker, who has published a collection of Connor's work, said that in contrast to today's star columnists he was largely unknown – other than as the anonymous Cassandra – outside the newspaper industry.

"He was often surly and very difficult to argue with because he was a walking encyclopedia. He would listen to the radio and would have to read every newspaper before he got into the office, and then he would start on the world newspapers. He knew everything," Barker said.