Upmarket 'Daily Star' to drop its raunchy madcap mega-cliches

FANS of the tabloid cliche are set to be disappointed from next week when the Daily Star is redesigned and throws out some of the most over-used terms in journalism, writes Paul McCann.

A memo circulated to staff this week bans them from using tabloid classics like "raunchy", "page-three stunner", "curvy", "madcap", "motor-mouth" and "mega".

There is also to be a moratorium on the use of the word "lesbo" and other derogatory terms for lesbians.

Instead of sticking to its strange tabloid code, the newspaper's journalists are now expected to "free up" their writing style.

The list of banned words is part of a redesign package researched by Philip Gould, Tony Blair's favourite pollster and adviser.

Mr Gould, who works for the owner of the Express, the Labour peer Lord Hollick, conducted the focus group research that has led to the new paper.

Mr Gould's influence on The Express Group's newspapers emerged last month when it was reported that he and Downing Street's spokesman, Alastair Campbell, colluded to veto the appointment of Paul Routledge, the Express's political editor-designate.

Mr Routledge was deemed too supportive of the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, for the taste of Downing Street.

From next Monday the Daily Star will have a redesigned masthead, intended to make it look more like a European news magazine. It will also have more colour pages and more pictures.

The idea of the newspaper's management is to move it slightly up-market into the niche that they believe is being created by the Mirror and the Sun also moving more up-market.

"It's about getting rid of any final vestiges of the Sunday Sport link," one of the newspaper's journalists said yesterday.

In the Eighties the Star's then owners plumbed the depths of newspaper journalism by hiring the team behind the soft-porn Sunday Sport to revamp the Star. However, in recent years it has managed to go for weeks on end having "curvy" Baywatch "stunner", Pamela Anderson, on its front page every day.