Pandora: Blackballed: Conrad savages new Murdoch biography

Rupert Murdoch's biographer has found himself on the receiving end of a literary right hook from one of the media tycoon's long-standing rivals.

Conrad Black, the former Daily Telegraph proprietor who spent years locked in a bitter price war with Murdoch's Times, has given a critical mauling to Vanity Fair journalist Michael Wolff's recently published book, The Man Who Owns the News.

Yesterday, Black submitted a detailed review of the tome from the federal prison where he is currently serving a 78-month jail sentence for fraud to the US-based website, The Daily Beast. He writes:

"Wolff wades through a confusing and clichéd account of Murdoch's life, replete with factual errors, serious omissions, mind-reading suppositions, extreme psychological liberties, and the conclusion that Murdoch will be 'temperamentally compelled' to try to acquire The New York Times, and buys newspapers 'to change himself'. I don't think so."

Surprisingly, considering the occasional animosity between the pair over the years, Black offers several points of defence for Murdoch, who at one point he describes as "quite pleasant, though he is also one of the very few completely ruthless and totally cynical people I have known."

Two years ago, Black was the subject of his own, albeit unauthorised, biography written by the investigative journalist Tom Bower. He described that book as "vindictive, high-handed, contemptuous, sadistic, pathologically mendacious and malicious".

Who's not behaving badly?

David Morrissey is considered a shoo-in by some bookies to replace David Tennant as Doctor Who, but one of his co-stars in this year's Christmas special isn't so sure. Dervla Kirwan, who is married to Spooks eye candy Rupert Penry-Jones, reckons it's an open field.

"I don't know if it will be David Morrissey," she tells me. "I think there is a shortlist of six. Possibly Martin Clunes, Paterson Joseph or James Nesbitt. My favourite would be Clunes because he is such a contrast to David Tennant and they need someone different."

Kirwan, who was attending a carol service for Cancer Research UK, added: "I am seeing Russell T Davies this week and I am sure he knows exactly who they want."

Pike's not just a pretty face

Rosamund Pike has been selected to sit on the judging panel at this year's Costa Book Awards.

Usually, such glamorous appointments are met with the sighs and accusations from leather-elbowed literary types that it's another sign of dumbing down. On this occasion, their moans would be misdirected.

"Rosamund studied English lit at Oxford so she's hardly just a token celebrity," says a chum.

"As I remember, she got a pretty respectable 2:1 – she's certainly no dope."

Incidentally, the actress studied under the esteemed poet Bernard O'Donoghue. He was once the recipient of the Costa prize's predecessor, the Whitbread award.

Estelle's no fan of Paxman

Jeremy Paxman may leave politicians quaking in their boots, but not hip-hop star Estelle. She isn't happy about the way Paxo spoke to her fellow rapper, Dizzee Rascal, during a Barack Obama Newsnight special.

"I was like, 'He is taking you for an idiot,'" she tells this week's New Statesman.

"That was out of line. Paxman's not going to get away with asking me do I think I'm British. That's disrespectful – what do you think I am?"

Strachan gets to stretch his legs

Ian Strachan revealed himself to be one of the London social scene's foremost chancers this year when he was sent down for five years after attempting to blackmail a member of the Royal Family.

Surprising, then, to hear rumours Strachan has been seen out and about. According to his brief, Giovanni Di Stefano, it's because Strachan is in an open prison. "As a matter of law he is in custody but as a matter of fact he is within the community more than within the compounds of a jail."

Gordon shuns the Post Office

Not only does Gordon Brown want to chop 50,000 jobs at the Post Office, his party won't even support the workers by sending out proper cards.

This year's offering from the Labour Press Office was sent out yesterday in the miserly form of an "ecard".

Predictably enough, there's absolutely no mention of Christmas in it either.

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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 - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map