Twenty things you didn't know about .. Kelvin MacKenzie: As the Sun's editor resigns after 13 years in charge, Michael Leapman gleans somes facts

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The Independent Online
1 He established the widely imitated '20 things you didn't know about. . .' formula as a way of making difficult subjects accessible, or vice versa.

2 He has a GCE O-level in English literature - the only blip in an otherwise flawless pedigree for editing a yobbish tabloid.

3 He is 47 and has been editor of the Sun since 1981 - only its third editor in the 25 years since it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch.

4 His predecessor Larry Lamb does not like MacKenzie's paper. 'My wife and daughter have been known to hide it from me,' he told the Independent.

5 The Sun's daily circulation when MacKenzie became editor was 4.14m. The latest figure is 3.74 m - even after last year's drastic price cut to 20p. But the rival Daily Mirror is doing worse.

6 Murdoch has said of him: 'MacKenzie is what he is. He's out there screaming and he's good. Somehow it works.'

7 But Murdoch also forced him to apologise publicly to the Queen for breaking the embargo on her 1992 Christmas message.

8 MacKenzie often answers his own telephone and once told a complaining reader that she was banned from buying the paper, but relented when her husband telephoned to ask if the ban extended to him.

9 His most famous front page headline was GOTCHA, recording the sinking of the Argentine battleship Belgrano in the Falklands war.

10 Another Falklands triumph was the concoction of an interview with a war widow who had not spoken to the paper.

11 He calls his paper 'the Currant Bun', rhyming slang from his native south London.

12 His biggest mistake was a story blaming Liverpool football fans for the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989. It was estimated this cost the paper 200,000 Merseyside readers.

13 His second biggest mistake was to print libellous stories about the singer Elton John. It cost the paper pounds 1m in an out-of-court settlement in 1988.

14 The Sun has cleaned up its act in the past three years, making fewer intrusions into privacy, as a result of Murdoch's fears that the Government would introduce statutory press regulation.

15 Accused by a Commons select committee last year of invading the privacy of Camilla Parker-Bowles, an 'ordinary person', he said: 'When you sleep with the next King of England, I think you go into a rather different stratosphere from the ordinary person you have in mind.'

16 He told politicians: 'If you don't want to appear in the papers, then don't drop your trousers.'

17 He had his own privacy invaded a year ago when the Mail on Sunday discovered him on a Caribbean holiday with a young blonde woman. He had left his wife a few months earlier.

18 He has little respect for his peers. 'Most Fleet Street editors couldn't edit a bus ticket.'

19 He once turned down a summons to Buckingham Palace because he had an appointment with Murdoch.

20 He has never turned down a summons from Murdoch, not even to be kicked upstairs.

(Photographs omitted)

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