Diary: News International - The Movie! and other disappointments

I'm deeply sorry, and just a little ashamed, to report that my excitement last week at having won the film rights to the phone-hacking saga has proven to be unwarranted. My lawyers now inform me that these so-called "rights" – which I acquired for a song (well, £1,000 and a modest bank-transfer fee) from an enterprising Nigerian fellow named Benjamin, who emailed me unexpectedly with the generous proposition – would in fact fetch marginally less on eBay than a soiled copy of the News of the World's commemorative final edition.

Todd Carty, whom I'd cast in the key role of Andy Coulson, seemed especially disappointed by the news.

But in the days ahead, as vultures circle the bedraggled Murdoch dynasty on its lonely, unending trudge through the desert of public disapproval, this column promises to keep at least one eye peeled for bandidos trying to ambush the News International wagon train and line their own pockets.

* The first such opportunistic occupant of this rogue's gallery is the former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, whose column's recent defection from The Sun to the Daily Mail was glossed by a heartfelt paean (published – and I hope I'm not confusing too many of you here – by The Guardian) to his former boss, unequivocally entitled "Thank God for Rupert Murdoch". Yet he is now in the frame to edit Associated Newspapers' proposed new Sunday red-top title, which would dent the prospective circulation of the expected Sun on Sunday. Rumours persist that even during his editorship of The Sun, Kelvin's mutinous instincts were manifest: during one angry call from the boss, he is said to have held the telephone "to his arse".



* No such disloyalty from our next subject: Robert "Monty Burns" Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and one of the few remaining Friends Of Rupert yet to see the inside of a police interview room. Thomson has taken it upon himself to defend News Corp in a stirring editorial lament for Les Hinton, the recently resigned CEO of WSJ publisher Dow Jones. Thomson and/or his leader writers come out swinging: at the "political mob", at the BBC, at The Guardian, at Julian Assange. Readers, the piece maintains, "can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw". If Thomson weren't already a favourite for Hinton's job, he certainly would be now.



* Meanwhile, an email arrives from a PR chancing his luck with the news that entertainment guru Neil Sean, sage of Metro's "Green Room" gossip column, "has more scorn to pour on the Murdoch empire", in his not-especially anticipated memoir It's Not Where You Start, published later this year. Sean, a seasoned Murdoch employee, claims "the stories we're all reading about are nothing to what I saw go on within Sky News and The Sun". Given that yesterday's enviable Green Room scoops included Cheryl Cole's shocking claim that her next album will "really reflect my mood and where I am at", neither Nick Davies nor myself can wait to see what devastating revelations Sean has up his sleeve.



* Profiting in reputation terms, if not financial ones, is Crusading™ Labour MP Tom Watson, the parliamentary canary in the phone-hacking mine. So one can hardly blame him for letting his hair down in celebration. An impeccable source spotted Watson and a female companion boogieing enthusiastically at a Soho nightclub late on Friday evening, to the strains of Phil Collins' "Easy Lover". Does Watson himself answer to this description? Thanks to his sterling work in stifling the sordid tabloid press, we shall probably never be forced to find out.

* Also in drummers of the 1970s and '80s, it seems even ex-Queen percussionist Roger Taylor has chosen to cash in on poor Rupe's misfortunes. When Murdoch was plotting to purchase Manchester United FC in 1998, Taylor funded the club's supporters as they campaigned to block the sale. His feelings about the media mogul were already clear from his 1994 solo number "Dear Mr Murdoch", which he has now (his people tell me) dusted off for re-release. Taylor claims to have added some "subtle updates" to the track before making it available on iTunes, but is satisfied that "the original lyrics speak for themselves". For those unfamiliar with this classic of the protest genre, the chorus runs as follows: "Dear Mr Murdoch you play hard to see / But with your bare-arsed cheek you should be on page three / And dear Mr Murdoch you're really the pits / Bad news is good business, you're the king of the tits."

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions