“All human life is there”*

*Often used as a motto by the *News of the World.

Roy Stockdill wrote in The Guardian of 10 Jul 2011:

“…When the NoW was launched in 1843 it was billed as the “Novelty of the Nation and the Wonder of the World” — and so it has proved to be throughout its colourful history…

…Its staple diet was crime from the 19th century until well into the 1980s, and that only really ended when the paper was transformed from a broadsheet into a red-top tabloid in 1984. When I joined the paper as a reporter in 1967, I found myself spending half my life at Assize Courts (as they were called in those days) in places like Hertford, Winchester and Lewes. One would go wherever the news editor sent you, spending a week covering the Assizes, chatting up clerks of the court, coppers and barristers to find out what cases were coming up that the readers were likely to be interested in…

I recall one particularly scary moment when I was in a first-class carriage on a train from Winchester to London (yes, we travelled first-class on expenses in those days) and suddenly realised that my two travelling companions were a pair of judges who were discussing their respective cases. I kept my head down and uttered not a single word!

And it was the NoW that introduced kiss’n’tell with the memoirs of Diana Dors in 1959, for which the paper paid an unheard-of (at that time) sum of £35,000…

Until Rupert Murdoch took over the NoW in 1969, the paper had been owned for decades by the Carr family who ran it like a family grocery store. Emsley’s son Sir William Carr, the eccentric baronet who was chairman from 1952 to 1969, was a “two bottles of scotch a day” man – said to be a brilliant mathematician, but only before lunch – who would invite staff to his palatial home in Sussex, where they played croquet and flunkies served champagne.

There was a famous story that at one office male-only function a showbiz reporter, very drunk, grabbed the chairman by the tie, banged his head against the wall and uttered the immortal question “Why are you so f***ing rich and I’m so f***ing poor?” Next morning, the hapless reporter, with a vague memory of what he’d done, appeared in Bouverie Street expecting to pick up his cards. He walked into the lift, straight into the arms of Sir William Carr who simply shook his head and said: “Why do we do these things?” ”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s