The news as told by the UK’s tabloid press – The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and News of the World.
Christian Brueckner has yet to be arrested or charged with the alleged murder of Madeleine McCann. there is no news. So the media returns to its default poistion: watching the parents. The Sunday Mirror leads with news that Kate and Gerry McCann have called on the German prosecutor who assumes their daughter is dead to provide evidence.
Last week. Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office, told Sky News:
“The hard evidence we don’t have, we don’t have the crucial evidence of Madeleine McCann’s body. We expect that she is dead, but we don’t have enough evidence that we can get a warrant for our suspect in Germany for the murder of Madeleine McCann. At the moment, we also don’t have enough proof for a trial at court, but we have some evidence that the suspect has done the deed. That’s why we need more information from people, especially places he has lived, so we can target these places especially and search there for Madeleine.”
Seems fair to ask him what he’s seen, no, especially if you’re the parents of the missing child and are desperate for news. Surely Wolters is not just speculating, riffing in the public arena in the hope that someone takes the line and points the finger? “German Prosecutors Dash Hopes of Finding Madeleine McCann alive,” says the New York Times. Can we see the evidence, please?
Hold on a mo. Wolters is talking to the Mirror:
“Because there is no forensic evidence there may be a little bit of hope (that she is alive). We don’t want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be theoretically possible. I know it’s important for the British people when I say she is dead, but I did not know it was so important.”
There is no forensic evidence so it’s theoretical she is alive. It’s also theoretical that she is dead. The theories can go on and on infinitum until we see evidence. And at the moment the theory is that convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner murdered the innocent child. And German cops are so certain he did it they’ve not charged him anything in relation to the case. Will they?
“I think the Portuguese officials still think that Maddie’s parents are responsible for her disappearance. From our perspective, the suspect is in jail in Germany right now. And this is not the case for Maddie’s parents. We think that the parents don’t have anything to do with it. We are convinced that our 43-year-old suspect is the murderer of Maddie McCann.”
Wolters is convinced the German police have identified the suspected murderer. Although the victim might be alive. Clear?
The Times says the rapist and child abuser is “receiving counselling in prison while he is held in isolation to prevent other inmates attacking him”. If he’s in isolations, how… Never mind. Here comes the depraved criminal’s lawyer, Friedrich Fülscher, to tell RTL TV how his client is coping:
“How should a person who is isolated in a correctional facility and who is accused by half the world’s population of the worst crimes?”
Confessing would be useful. But he’s not done so.
Anti-racism protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US occupy the front pages. The Mirror calls it “The march for change”. Thousands of us took part in anti-racism protests across the UK at the weekend. The paper leads with the picture of a statue of tycoon, patron and slave trader Edward Colston being pulled down and thrown into Bristol harbour. It’s a striking image. And you wonder a few things, including: if history is eradicated from view, does it vanish from our minds? Does celebrating the life of a slave trader encourage or tacitly approve racism? And who chooses which status go where and when?
You might wonder what “change” the Mirror champions, giving that there’s never been a black editor on the Mirror not indeed on any major national newspaper. The board of Reach plc, which owns the Mirror, Express and Star titles, is less racially diverse than the membership at a provincial golf club:
The all-white board isn’t proof that Reach doesn’t have a fine equalities policy and impeccable anti-racist credentials. But it does illustrate that when aspirational, intelligent black people look up they often see a bank of successful white faces looking down.
After moral panics, conspiracy theories, false accusations, arguidos and hundreds of journalists typing the words “every parent’s worst nightmare”, we are now invited to wonder if Christian Brueckner kidnapped and murdered Madeleine McCann. As pastimes go, debating an innocent child’s fate is one down from dogging. But you can play armchair detective from the comfort of your own home and shape the single-thread story – child vanishes – to fit with your own prejudices.
And so to Christian Brueckner. Did he also kidnap and murder a child in his native Germany, a girl called Inga Gehricke? We don’t know. And innocence, even when the suspect is a convicted paedophile and rapist should be presumed. Evidence and proof are the stuff of justice. But the ‘maybe’ keeps us reading. The tabloids lead with the story of what might or might not have happened.
Inga appeared on these pages in 2015. A child killer named Silvio S had been arrested in connection with her disappearance. But he had nothing to do with Inga’s vanishing from a family trip to the woods in Wilhelmshof. The Sun told readers Inga is known as “The German Madeleine”. As we’ve noted, many countries seem to have a version of the missing child. Madeleine McCann is the media’s benchmark for all the world’s missing children – but only the white ones:
Australia has an Our Maddie – Chloe Campbell Is Australia’s Madeleine McCann
Brazil has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Isabella Nadoni Is Brazil’s Our Maddie
Israel has an Our Maddie– Madeleine McCann: Israel’s Rose Is The International Our Maddie
France has an Our Maddie –Typhaine Taton Is France’s Madeleine McCann
America has an Our Maddie – America’s Madeleine McCann Turns Up Alive
Spain has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Mari Luz Cortes, Maddy 2 And Gerry McCann Writes
New Zealand has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Patronising Aisling Symes
South America has an Our MaddieA Madeleine McCann Found In Panama
Holland has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Milly Boele Is Holland’s Our Maddie
Australia has an Our Maddie – Kiesha Abrahams Is Australia’s Madeleine McCann
What else Inga Gehricke and Madeleine McCann have in common is made plain in the Daily Mail: they are both blonde:
It was Madeleine McCann’s blondness that helped turn her into the media’s ‘Our Maddie’, Would a black child have been news for 13 years, his or her face on the national newspapers’ front pages and leading the TV news bulletins? No need to answer. The answer is ‘no’. Black lives matter. Blonde lives sell papers.
Aref Ismaili has been missing since April 4, 2016. He had fled from Afghanistan to Germany under adverse circumstances with his parents. Aref Ismaili vanished in the small town of Wanfried in Hesse, Germany. He has dark hair and dark eyes. His face is not familiar to people the world over.
This is news as much as it is entertainment. Take this story also in the Mail: “Luxury villa where new Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner raped a 72-year-old US tourist is just a ten minute walk from apartment where the toddler vanished 18 months later.” The circumstantial nature of the link is clouded further by pictures of the luxury villa (price on application; there’s a swimming pool). Again the Mail notes Inga’s “blonde hair and blue eyes”.
In 2017, Jens-Uwe Gehricke recalled in German media how he’d seen his daughter Inga shortly before she disappeared on the footpath that leads from his friends’ house to the barbecue area on the edge of the forest. Inga was carrying two large bottles of water. She wanted to help prepare for a barbecue. Shortly afterwards, two other children watched her again as she made her way back home. That was around 6:30 p.m. Nobody knows what happened then. Said Jens-Uwe Gehricke: “It was only 100 meters to the house. But she never got there.” Read that and your skin crawls and your heat breaks.
But if we’re looking for links why not look at the vanishing of six-year-old René Hasee? Eleven year before Madeleine McCann disappeared, the boy from Elsdorf, Germany, was on a summer holiday with his family in Aljezur, not far from Praia da Luz when he disappeared. René Hasee is blond, so we may well hear of him in the British tabloids before any mention of Aref.
No longer is ‘fat’ a pre-runner to ‘and jolly’. Fat means death. Fat must be wiped out because: fat people give you cancer, probably (Daily Mail); fat people use up more aviation fuel and thereby kill the planet (Guardian); fat people kill kittens (Star); fat people will end the NHS by falling ill (all newspapers). Today’s news is that a “third of all viruses are linked to diabetes”. So the other two thirds of us who contract Covid-19 get it because… we’re too thin / old / young / poor / unloved? No matter. The key fact is in. Thin is good. The secret to long life is to be thin, which surely is why the Grim Reaper is as thin as a rake. And look who’s leading “by example”. Yeah, it’s reformed chubster Boris Johnson, who reduced his BMI by falling seriously ill and having his sustenance drip fed. And where he leads you too can follow his shining example. Here’s what you do:
*Beaches are restricted to one per person until further notice.
The news on Coronavirus is positive. More than 19 million Britons may already have been infected with the virus, say researchers at Manchester University. It’s the lead story in the Mirror. Better news is that 1,000 people have been injected with a vaccine and it’s “so far so good” (Metro). We could have a vaccine this summer (Express). Oh – and get this – new antibody test are found to be 100% accurate in stating if someone has already had the virus (i). And in London, signs are that the virus is dying out. Fewer than 24 people are catching coronavirus each day in London (Telegraph). Analysis by Cambridge University estimates the R reproduction rate of the virus to have fallen to 0.4 in London, with the number of new cases halving every 3.5 days. If you don’t know what the R number means, this should help:
Most newspaper leads with the positive news. But the Guardian talks of “chaos”, leading with allegations that a private firm contracted to run the government’s stockpile of personal protective equipment was hit by “chaos” at its warehouse.
And as for the risk of dying from Covid-19, the Sun leads with news that a quarter of those killed by the bug have diabetes. A double-whammy for them. Overweight and obese people are at increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
So the Times leads with news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is readying a “much more interventionist” approach to tackle obesity as part of the fight against coronavirus. Can the Government make Covid-19 part of the decades long drive to turn the fat social pariahs? Of course they can. They always do. But people do have the right to be fat.
And do medical practitioners want to tell people they are too fat? And what is ‘too fat’? At least one medic finds it easy to tell:
When they invented prime ministers, they also created Prime Ministers’ children. Unlike the SADDOS (sons and daughters of stars) who can mime, pose and pout in their instagram branded knickers as they work on their celebrity status, the politicians’ kids can either join the Party or find their own way. Carol Thatcher went into Golliwogs, for her brother Mark it was Africa, and Euan Blair went into the boozer and then vomited over Leicester Square. Lara Walker-Johnson went to Oxfordshire and bought a Prada headband. We know all about her purchase because Laura wrote about for Vogue magazine in a story entitled How Time-travelling To My Teen Wardrobe Helped Me Understand Who I Am Today. It’s the kind of vapid tosh made to reassure the unconvinced that minted toff Meghan Markle’s editing of the expensive magazine that advertises expensive things was not a seismic moment in race relations.
“I’m trying my best not to buy more clothes right now, uncertain about future financial prospects and conscious it isn’t the time to splurge,” says Lara in Oxfordshire. The posh always name the county they’re visiting not the village or town. A town has windows, public transport and numbered doors. A county has sprawling mansions, bridle paths and land. “But, I must confess, I did buy two headbands,” she adds, “one black and fluffy, from Shrimps, and one pink and from Prada – that I’ve been drooling over for months.”
The critics some fast. “Lara who, according to her website, is a fashion writer,” snipes one writer, adding: “I have no idea what her future financial prospects are, but her recent accessories acquisitions make me think that she’ll be okay.” The mind boggles to think what the backstory will do to the bands’ resale value. “In a moment when economic inequality, globally, and in the U.K., has never been more conspicuous – and when so many peoples’ lives are in her father’s hands – I might have kept this confession to myself.”
Two headbands in and Boris Johnson is King Herod.
In the Daily Mirror, Lara’s purchases are given no lesser importance: “Meanwhile, more than 100 NHS and care staff have died after testing positive for COVID-19 – as keyworkers beg the government for more vital PPE to protect themselves on the frontline.”
Meanwhile is the literary split screen. There’s Lara shopping online for fancy goods and a fashion philosophy while below her the huddled masses look up beseechingly and wonder if all this coverage of to-die-for Prada headbands means Lara will never need buy one again, and if they make face masks?
The BBC says Arsenal are no longer discussing a new contract with their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Beeb’s source is the Daily Mirror, which says Arsenal have “pulled out” of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang contract talks before name-checking for SEO purposes a list of top clubs: “Aubameyang has been linked with a move away from the Emirates this summer, with Manchester United, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea all believed to be interested in signing him.” Believed by who, the Mirror (prop. Reach plc) does not say. But it does revels the source for its story: the Daily Express (prop. Reach plc).
Over to the Express, then, a paper known for churning out clickbait. Get a load of the scoop’s URL: “Arsenal-news-Aubameyang-contract-talks-Inter-Chelsea-Man-Utd-transfer-EXCLUSIVE.” Four clubs named in one burst of SEO. And now for the facts: “The Gunners are ready to listen to offers for the £56million star after pulling out of contract talks with him late last week.” And? And nothing. That’s it.
Now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have banned tabloid newspapers and the wrong kind of readers from keeping up to date with their wokeness, branding (Archie of Archewell) and trips to Sicily (mode of travel: barefoot), Vancouver (seaplane), the south of France (Rocket Man), Davos (hot air), and Los Angeles (flying yoga mat), journalists on other titles look on with envy. Why can’t Harry and Meghan ban us from receiving press releases about their lives and elitism, they wail. Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore has issued such a plea.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will no longer “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion”. The couple, now living in LA and functioning as the ambulatory Archewell brand, tell four of the main British tabloids, The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror, they are above such things. They are beginning “a new media relations policy”. They tell the media:
“It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print – even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.”
From now on the tabloids will have to rely on gossip, paparazzi photos and ‘sources’ close to the couple for news. Yeah. Plus ca change. Harry and Meghan will bar the media they don’t like from receiving official updates and photographs. The four newspapers of the apocalypse will not receive the couples press releases telling of their unique inspiring love and where you can buy their news range of scented candles. The papers will have to wait for other approved organs to publish the PR before splashing the statements across their web pages. The papers will also be banned from attending official Archewell events.
Tabloid readers will be distraught at the news and flock to buy Vogue and therein read of the couple’s wonderful lives and where to get their merchandise.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Mrs Michael Gove, aka Sarah Vine, looks at the health of Boris Johnson and other leading politicians. The Prime Minister is very unwell with the coronavirus Covid-19. We wish him a speedy and full recovery. Says Vine:
Adding: “…there is something about Boris’s predicament and that of his family that brings us, as a nation of strangers, closer together. Boris is us, and we are Boris.”
Michael Gove is a British MP who has been Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster since July 2019 and Minister for the Cabinet Office since February 2020.
“I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week,” says Manchester City and England footballer Kyle Walker. “I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model.” No, Kyle, it really doesn’t. Your responsibility is to your employer and maybe your children, more of whom later.
Walker guffed out that apology after the Sun reported he’d allegedly hired two prostitutes to service him and a pal in his rented home a day before telling others how to fight the coronavirus. “Stay indoors, keep washing your hands, keep following the protocols and just protect the NHS,” said Walker. “It’s been tough, but first and foremost, we have to think about other people’s health and protecting the elderly and family members that can spread it.”
If Kyle is the role model he claims to be, right now thousands of his fans are pulling on gold-coloured Shine condoms and paying £2,200 in cash for on-the-clock sex with “classy” escort Louise McNamara, 21, and “a 24-year-old Brazilian call girl”. Although prices for both might have increased now they have scored a celebrity endorsement, men who wash their hands like Kyle and look to him for moral and medical guidance will be cracking open their piggybanks and gilding their knobs. Says Louise: “I didn’t know who he was at the time. But I took a few photos of him.” Thoughtfully, she shares them in the Sun.
Other things you can do to be like “role model” Kyle Walker, are, as the Sun also reports, to “split from long-term girlfriend Annie Kilner” after getting “model Lauryn Goodman pregnant”. Kyle is father to Annie’s three sons. He’s their role model.
Eddie Large died “with” Coronavirus, says the BBC. The entertainer, one half of the Little and Large comedy duo, contracted the virus in hospital. He had been suffering with heart failure. So how does the Mirror report on the death of the 78-year-old? Not well. Eddie Large’s death is presented as part of the “Coronavirus Crisis”. “Eddie’s heart wasn’t strong enough to fight the virus.” But the virus didn’t kill him.
Eddie Large was not killed by Covid-19. Well, not unless you read about his death in the Mirror:
The Mail says Eddie Large “death in hospital from coronavirus while being treated for heart failure”. It adds: “Mr Large, who was famous for his singing and impressions, is the most famous Briton to be killed by coronavirus, which has now claimed almost 3,000 lives in the UK with deaths hitting 500-a-day.” Deep into the story we’re told: “The father of three had a successful heart transplant in 2003 – but it appears that the organ began to fail before his death, leading to his hospital admission in Bristol.”
The Sun notes: “The comedian had been suffering with heart failure and contracted the deadly virus in hospital.” To say nothing of heart failure being deadly, which it doesn’t.
Eddie Large’s son, Ryan McGinnis, wrote on Facebook:
“It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day. We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”
Eddie Large: Edward Hugh McGinnis (25 June 1941 – 2 April 2020).
A bit of Arsenal transfer news in the BBC. The Gunners are “on course” to recruit Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig”. The 21-year-old French defender is “keen to move on this summer”. Well, if the BBC says he is, he must be. The source for the Beeb’s news is the Daily Star. “Arsenal target Dayot Upamecano informs RB Leipzig of transfer decision,” says the Star. And the decision will “delight” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
The Star’s story is very short on facts. But it does cite its source, which is German newspaper Bild. “So Upamecano is planning his summer change,” says Bild, guessing that the Frenchman could head to Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Arsenal. And what did he say? “I will now focus first on RB Leipzig and then on what I want to do afterwards. But there are some clubs that like me. I will talk to my advisor and my parents about it at the end of the season. We will make the right choice.”
Bild’s source is Spanish site Mundo Deportivo. Its story was published on February 18. It took over a month to reach the Star. And MD’s story was based on something Upamecano told French radio station RMC on February 17. Mentions of Arsenal that will “delight” Arteta: nil. In fact Upamecano was invited by the journalist to talk about his future and merely said he was flattered to be linked to other clubs as happy at Leipzig. Listen to it here.
We’re all under house arrest in the UK – unless you need to go shopping, jogging or sell discount trainers and anoraks at Sports Direct. (Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all UK shops selling non-essential goods must close. Sports Direct says it is “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”. And you can betcha last cough drop its staff agree.) The coronavirus is among us. The “invisible killer” (copyright: all media) is the only story around.
“End of freedom,” the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop,” says Daily Mail. The Sun says we’re under “House arrest”. The Daily Mirror calls it a “national lockdown”. The Financial Times says the Government had not choice but to enforce social isolation. The Metro shows how people were ignoring the polite advice as they packed themselves into stuffy Tube trains in London. (How long can the freebie Metro and Evening Standard newspapers last without commuters?) Not one newspaper is critical of anything the Government has ruled., including fines for anyone caught breaking the rules, which can amount to three people not from the same house playing football together.
Panic over. The Daily Star is offering its readers a free ‘cut out and keep’ toilet roll with every newspaper. “BOG OFF!” screams the headline – Buy One Get One For Free? No need to panic buy toilet roll when you have daily newspapers. There are not plans to print newspapers on absorbent tissue paper, nor for The Sun to offer discount subscriptions to Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Says one Guardian executive: “It’s a tissue of lies.”
The Daily Mirror turns the joyous news that Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson’s lover, is expecting their baby into something dark and cruel. Boris “broke” news of the baby, says the paper, “just days after his ex’s mum died of cancer”.
The old die to make room for the young. But unnamed “sources” say the timing has been “devastating” for estranged Mrs Boris, Marina Wheeler, whose mum died of cancer at a spry 87. The Mirror says Wheeler is Johnson’s “ex-wife”. She isn’t. Although a divorce is planned.
The paper adds: “Dip Singh passed away the previous Sunday, the Mirror understands. It is the latest trauma for Marina who, on top of her divorce, had two ops to treat cervical cancer last year.”
Can it be that Carrie and Boris waited a week after Mrs Sigh’s passing to go public with a baby scheduled to arrive in the summer? They waited until the first trimester had passed before going public, which seems wise.
Says the Mirror: ‘Barrister Marina confirmed Dip “died at home with us” but did not comment further.’ That’s the Mirror’s job to fill in the blanks. It ‘understands’ this is painful time for Marina so splashes her private business all over its front pages. How very understanding…
When Caroline Flack was found dead in her home, the vulture business went to work. On Twitter, many decided that with the news still fresh and facts about the TV presenter’s death largely unknown, it was the ideal moment to pass judgement.
The story leads the tabloids. Each has a hot take on why Caroline Flack died, not least of all the Mail, which calls her “troubled”, the Sunday Mirror which shrouds the awful news in the shocker ‘Death By Valentine’ and the Express which considers the location and style of home her home newsworthy (Flack dies in “London flat”).
On Twitter, a heated debated was triggered over who was behind Caroline Flack’s death:
Sun journalist Dan Wootton:
Such are the facts.
“Well, I have two clubs. They are Arsenal and Barcelona. That is my ultimate dream.” So said Hakim Ziyech, the Ajax wing whose just agreed to join Chelsea for (£33.3m).
That’s not to say Ziyech won’t one day live his dream – nor is it to suggest that reporting on the Moroccan players is of any use. Here are some other things we’ve read about Ziyech in the trusty media:
“Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech has an agreement to leave the club this summer amid links to Everton and Liverpool” – HITC.com, 2018
“Liverpool boosted following Hakim Ziyech transfer revelation – Liverpool target Hakim Ziyech has agreed to leave Ajax for an unnamed club” – The Metro, July 2018
“Hakim Ziyech Agrees Personal Terms With Bayern Munich” – 90minutes.com, May 2019
“Ajax sensation Hakim Ziyech available for £25m as Moroccan star reveals move to Arsenal is his ‘ultimate dream’ so he can link up with idol Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mail, May 2019
“Ajax confirm Hakim Ziyech to leave” – May 2019, The Official Liverpool FC website
“Ajax boss confirms Roma will sign Hakim Ziyech” – Calciomercato.com, June 2019, –
“Hakim Ziyech Signs Ajax Contract Extension Amid Bayern Munich Transfer Rumours” – Bleacher Report, August 2019
February 2020 – Hakim Ziyech signs for Chelsea. Such are the facts.
Loathed in Liverpool for its reporting on the Hillsborough disaster which saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives, could the Sun be about to lose Manchester, too? Manchester United have accused the Sun of receiving advanced notice of last month’s attack on the house of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. “A smoke bomb and fireworks” were thrown towards his home and there were chants that he was “going to die”, reported the Sun. They were “disgusting scenes”.
United allege the Presence of a reporter “both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators”. Manchester United think the Sun had advanced notice of the attack. Say United:
“The Club believes that the Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.”
How’s things with Prince Andrew? The Daily Express has the grandiose Duke Of York telling us he “WILL” talk to the FBI about his dead peado pal Jeffrey Epstein. The word ‘WILL’ is in capitals and underlined. It’s a triple vow. And then in a trice it’s nothing. This is all news from “a source” reportedly “close to” Prince Andrew. “The duke is more than happy to talk to the FBI, but he hasn’t been approached yet,” says the source. The FBI says Andrew has offered precisely zero help in their investigation.
The Daily Telegraph says royal sources “believe” the FBI’s criticism was a “publicity stunt” designed to “pile on pressure” and force the duke’s hand. (So long as it is his hand – in his coach crash TV interview Prince Andrew said the picture of him with his hand around Virginia Roberts’ waist might not be real.)
Back to the Express’s front page, and the sleazy Prince is below a picture of the late TV and radio star Nicholas Parsons (10 October 1923 – 28 January 2020). The charming, erudite, gracious and lovely Parsons is dressed in a top hat, like a proper gent. But the boy from Grantham could only dream of such a rank. True-born gentlemen of honour, like Prince Andrew, get titles, palaces and billionaire pals. The rest of us can only pretend.
Manchester United and Spurs fans excited by news that injury-prone, 33-year-old Edinson Cavani is thinking go leaving Paris St Germain before his contract runs out in the summer can know that he’s already signed for any number of clubs over the past few seasons. According to media, the striker has agreed to join or has been linked with the following:
Atletico Madrid – Cavani agree three-year deal – Daily Mail, December 2019 (also Daily Star, 90 Minutes)
Inter Milan – Cavani agrees three-year-deal – Sports Mole, August 2019
Chelsea – “Edinson Cavani to Chelsea latest” – Football London, January 19, 2020
Arsenal & Manchester United – “Arsenal and Man Utd submit offers to sign Edinson Cavani” – The Metro, January 2020
Barcelona – “Barcelona are looking at the free agent market with PSG’s Edinson Cavani joining Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham players on their transfer radar” – Daily Express, December 2019
Juventus – “GLASS OF CAVA Cavani lined up for stunning Juventus free” – The Sun, October 2019
Manchester City – “PSG star Edinson Cavani wants to join Manchester City” – Daily Mail, October 2017
Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid – “Edinson Cavani may join Manchester United, Juventus or Real Madrid as PSG give up on him” – Daily Mail, February 2016
Such are the facts…
Ant McPartlin “gives” his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong £31m, says the Sun. The paper claims the settlement was reached out of court. An unnamed source arrives to tell us: “Ant made a very generous settlement that works out to be more than half of everything that he has.”
Isn’t this about what ‘they’ had amassed during their long relationship and marriage? Didn’t she merely get what she was entitled to?
Why she walked away more than half we can only guess at, but no court date might mean less revelations that could damage his future earnings and that all-important image.
The papers all lead with Harry and Meghan’s meeting with his grandma, the Queen. But what kind of picture will sum up the news that she says they can settle in Canada?
The Metro and Telegraph lead with an image of familial love. Although with Her Majesty’s “reluctance” to agree to the Sussex’s resignation to the fore, the Telegraph’s kiss has a Mafia feel.
The Sun shows a beaming Harry and Meghan waving us a cheerio – she turning her back on being an also-ran in the Princess Anne brood mare stakes; he eschewing the chance to be the next Prince Eddie or Andy. The Queen is stoic.
There are three people in this relationship – and only one of them is happy on the Express’s cover. Harry has the mien of a London estate agent wondering about his bonus; the Queen looks fierce; Meghan is chuffed to bits. The Guardian also shows only one of them smiling – Meghan.
The Mail can’t bare to look at the couple’s faces as they upset the matriarch. They can go. They are no longer relevant. And you can read about their irrelevancy over eight pages.
The Times opts for an image of Prince William’s chin and mouth. He is tight-lipped. “Defender,” says the legend on his car. Wills is the big winner here. Harry and Meghan can flog perfumes and a range of Canadian products: weed, syrup and wood. But it will be Wills who gets to see his head on coins and stamps in the coming years. He gets the real money.
And the Star? It goes for three puns.
Next up: will Meghan play herself in The Crown? And can a chocolate teapot ever really replace Harry?
By now you’ll be wondering what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been up to. Well, after a six-week holiday (Canada) and resignation from the Family to become full-time celebrities, they’ve been upsetting Prince Charles and Prince William. The Mail reports that both are “incandescent with rag”. Which rag is not said. But let’s hope it’s not that one!
Kate Middleton is 38.
When Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal chief executive tucked his “catalyst for change” into his Gridiron knickers and headed for another American-run project at AC Milan, we hoped he’d take a few unloved Arsenal player with him. And now comes news that unpopular Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, 27, is looking for property in Italy ahead of his mooted transfer to AC Milan in January. Well, so says the Star.
Stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after an on-pitch hissy fit in which he told fans to “f**k off”, before offering an apology constructed around the kind of sympathetic back story Hollywood producers would appreciate.
In other news to thrill the Gooners, Arsenal have given a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Yay Cole! Dude! Woo! The 18-year-old American could join the Gunners in January, says the Sun. The Mirror, predictably enough, labels young Cole a “wonder kid”. As do the Sun and the Mail. Why is he so wonderful? Well, he’s 18 and have a trial at Arsenal. What more proof do you need?
PS: you know who own the Colorado Rapids? Yeah, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. World domination cannot be far away.