Tabloids | Anorak - Part 256

Tabloids Category

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.

Accidents Will Happen

”’Mr Sims wasn’t invited to play by the kids, and he didn’t even come by afterwards to tell us about the accident,” said Otis Stanbury. ”They didn’t leave us any details, I had to get their number from the side of their cars.”

Mr Stanbury is father of six-year-old Yohan, who was playing football in the street in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, when door-to-door salesman Jay Sims approached them and joined in the game.

Yohan tackled Sims, who is alleged to have fallen on him, leaving him with face and head injuries and needing hospital treatment.

Just before the incident, Sims had been attempting to persuade the Mr Stanbury of the benefits of suing for injury using his company’s no-win, no-fee accident claims firm.

”At first I just wanted them to say sorry for what they had done,” said Stanbury. ”But when they started saying that nothing had happened I thought we were playing a totally different ball game.”

Jim Hackett, a partner at the Claims Centre, which is handling the case, said he was confident of getting compensation. ‘

Posted: 21st, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

This Was Your Life

‘AS Ian Huntley’s name joins that of Ian Brady, Roy Whiting and many others in the annals of the nation’s most despised, there is no shortage of people stepping forward to say how they once knew the man now charged with killing Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

More of Huntley’s strange relatives

The Mirror has, perhaps, the most bizarre, as one Lisa Huntley screams out: ”Oh, no, not my cousin.” Having read reams of stories about the family (Ian Huntley’s first wife, Claire, left him to marry his younger brother Wayne), it’s possible that in the Huntley family cousin, brother, mother and sister could be one and the same.

But whatever the convoluted connection, Lisa says she feels ”sick to the bottom of my stomach”. So sick is Lisa that she tells the Mirror of her sickness, attracting the kind of exposure that most people trying to escape the stigma of a connection with Huntley would avoid.

But still the Huntley reunion goes on. In the Sun, there’s Laura Fenty, who met and fell in love with Ian Huntley just after her 15th birthday. It’s sensational news that comes moments after Huntley’s ”first sweetheart”, Anita Denman, told how she and Ian shared kisses when they were just 12.

And as the Sun scours the world for any other kiss chase victims of the accused, the Star introduces a new twist into the scenario, saying how scoring an own goal ruined Ian Huntley’s chances of fulfilling his dream of playing for Manchester United.

Those of you who have followed the case will need no reminding that the victims were also fans of that club, while those who read the Star are treated to a picture of Huntley in his footy kit and another shot of Jessica and Holly in theirs, something the Star feels is ironic.

Perhaps one day, the papers will be able to trace the six degrees of separation that lead Huntley to Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler or, dare it be said, the victims.

Posted: 21st, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Have You Seen This Man?

‘DO YOU recognise the horrible man caught on film while abducting a small English child in France on Sunday?

Tony disguises himself as smart, but casual

Today’s Mail has two clear colour photos of the culprit. In one, the man appears deranged, and wears the rabbit-like expression of one of contenders in Monty Python’s famous Upper Class Twit of the Year.

In the other he looks furtively towards the camera as he carries the frightened child away. He resembles an ageing Tim Henman and has thinning, greying hair.

He was wearing an unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt and a pair of chinos – possibly from anorak’s popular Comfi-Slax range of trousers with expandable waists for the man with the fuller figure.

The boy is called Leo, and was last seen being carried from church in the village of Le Vernet, near Toulouse in France, where he was on holiday at the time.

If you see this monster, who is believed to use the code-name ”St Tony” when communicating with his sick friends, on no account approach him. Police say he is unpredictable and has a sanctimonious air about him that can cause nausea.

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Always Read The Label Carefully

‘RACHAEL STEEL is upset. We know this because there’s a picture of her in today’s Sun, with the caption: ”Rachael: ‘I was upset”’. Not only that, but she has claimed compensation for her distress.

Hours of pleasure

And what caused this distress? She looked at a packet of pills that she had purchased in the Feltham Night and Day Chemists, and noticed that the dosage label had an obscene instruction printed on it above her name.

The photograph of the packet confirms that this is so. ”Insert ONE into P—Y [letters blacked out] when pleasure is required” it says. To which one’s response might presumably be anything from amusement through to mild irritation.

But Rachael, 23, took a different view. ”It made me feel ill to think he had written it for me,” she says of the pervert/monster/prankster, who has now been sacked by the chemist.

Her fiance, Toby Butler, concurs. ”He must be a very sick bloke,” he said. ”I was so angry.”

The National Pharmaceutical Association has offered Rachael a one-off payment of £150 but insists that she is not eligible for compensation. Rachael, needless to say, is ”unhappy with how they have dealt with this”.

”I think £150 is a small amount for something that’s caused me so much upset,” she complains. And she’s right, of course.

You can’t get much for 150 quid these days – certainly not a life, which is what Rachael and Toby clearly need.

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Thirsty Work

‘WILLIAM Hague once famously boasted that as a teenager he drank 14 pints of bitter a day when he worked as a delivery boy for a brewery. We were all most impressed, even if various low-lifes crawled out of the woodwork to dispute the claim.

Sultan was gagging for another pint

But now the crown has been stolen from his shiny head – by a draught horse. The Sun reports that Sultan, an 11-year-old gelding, drinks 15 pints a day in the course of his job.

The black shire waits in pub car parks while his owner Simon Powell heads to the bar. He steadies the glass with his teeth, then downs a pint, Hague-style, in 20 seconds flat.

”I love people’s faces when he grips the glass and swills his tongue round inside,” says Simon. ”He likes lager, Guinness or bitter and he’s such a whopping beast a few now and again do him no harm. The only problem is he never buys a round.”

Surprisingly, the RSPCA agrees that beer does no harm in moderation, containing barley and grain as it does. Indeed, one only needs to look at Hague to see a fine advertisement for its restorative qualities. ‘

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Getting His Goat

‘WHEN a maid in Lajitas, Texas, discovered a testicle in Jim Bob Hargrove’s fridge, it triggered an immediate police investigation, resulting in Mr Hargrove being charged with the mayor’s castration.

”The mayor’s health is fine now,” said a spokesman, ”although he obviously won’t make a complete recovery.”

The mayor, Clay Henry III, is a goat who amuses tourists by drinking beer from a bottle. Hargrove is believed to have attacked the goat during the night, after it took a bottle of his beer without permission.

Clay Henry III has been in office for two years and beat various other candidates, including a dog, to win office. The first goat mayor was killed in a fight over a nanny goat and is now stuffed and on public display.’

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Summer Loving

‘FACED with the option of Janie or Little Mo, most men would choose option C and begin to see Pauline in a new light. But Billy Mitchell is not most men, and to prove it he first gave Janine a peck on the cheek and then took Little Mo out for a walk.

The stroll around the manor took in the allotment, where Pauline and Mark were boring the weeds out of the ground, and then to the Square, where the twosome sat down to talk.

We don’t know what was said, but we, like Janine, did see Billy take Mo’s hand in his. Janine blushed. Was she falling for the weasely little so and so?

But this is the summer, and so love is the order of the day, and not one lost on Lisa, who began her vigil for the return of Phil. But Phil was late back form his hols. And when he did arrive, he ignored Lisa, going instead to look for Sam, who’d not retuned from her cancer appointment.

The same rule that allowed Little Mo to come out of prison on her own, now allowed Sam to go to the oncologist with no means of support. When someone is in need, the East End folk like to leave them to it. Or show them the way to the swings.

As it was, Sam arrived home late, to tell Peggy that the growth was benign. Great news, but it didn’t help Lisa, who was still dreaming of Phil. But at least Sam’s got rid of the annoying lump in her life. And Ricky seems none the worse for it. ‘

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment


‘VILE, disgusting, horrific, degrading… The tabloid hacks churn out the usual bile over pages 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12 this morning.

The editor of The Sun

They speak of the two corpses found in Suffolk and assumed to be those of murdered 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. And of course it is all of those things, and our sympathies go out to the parents, relatives and friends of the victims.

Beyond that, there is no point in saying anything. But the tabloids don’t see it that way.

The list of adjectives with which we began could equally apply to their coverage, with its combination of prurience and self-righteous anger, all under the strap headline of the paper’s choice which appears at the top of each page (”ALL HOPE LOST”, ”WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DIE?” etc).

There are horrible, intrusive pictures of grieving relatives. There are completely irrelevant photos of the girls taken from family albums. There are furious ”hanging’s too good for them” articles by journalists quite happy to turn this sort of thing out by the yard for a nice fat cheque.

There are cartoons showing the supposedly cushy life of a paedophile in prison, drawn by idiots who are as aware as anybody that being a paedophile – or, just as significantly given the hysteria that surround the issue, a person labelled a ‘paedo’ – is about the last thing you’d want to be these days, in jail or anywhere else.

One of the pictures sums it all up: a note from some Americans, attached to a teddy, which says, ”Thank you for letting us into your hearts”.

There should have been another one, signed by every British newspaper editor: ”Thanks for inviting us into your misery to have a good cry and make ourselves feel virtuous. It’s been emotional. Signed, Piers, David and all the gang.”

Posted: 19th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment


‘THE STAR runs a piece on page 3 entitled ”Driven wild by pure lust”. It tells how an ”ex-lover” of murder suspect Maxine Carr was shocked when she started ”flashing her boobs in pubs to show off a bumblebee tattoo on her left breast”.

The pictures were enough to make Bob blush

Shocking, you’ll agree, and not the sort of thing you’d wish to see in a family newspaper like the Star.

The Star, don’t forget, is ”the paper that supports our builders” and it knows that the lads on the sites are easily shocked. Indeed, the shocked ex-lover in question is himself a scaffolder, as the paper is careful to mention.

And he helpfully wears an ENGLAND leisure shirt so we are in no doubt that he is a normal, red-blooded man.

But if he turns to the story on page 10 (”Cracking night out”) he’ll see a colour picture of two arses, belonging to friends of Big Brother winner Kate. The girls obligingly pulled their skirts up for photographers in ”London’s trendy Emporium club”.

”GIVE US A THONG: Kate’s mates show they’ve got plenty of cheek” reads the chucklesome caption. Shocking, innit?

Posted: 19th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment


‘IT’S reassuring to know that on a day like today, the tabloids still have a bit of space left for some real news.

Young Jade went a bit overboard with the Kleenex

”JADE USED TISUE TO PAD OUT HER BRAS” announces the Star (the ”official Big Brother paper”). And whence did this bombshell originate? Her grandfather John Caddock, of course.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s the meat, in the Star’s own no-nonsense words: ”Big Brother’s Jade Goody used to stuff tissue paper down her bra to give herself curves, her grandad revealed yesterday.”

But that’s not all. It was John and his wife Sylvia who initiated the tissue-stuffing by buying Jade her first bra and suggesting that she pad it out ”so it would look like she had some tits”.

As he points out, ”she certainly has them now” – in fact Jade is so well-upholstered that she has employed a personal trainer to help her shed weight. She is said to be close to him too, although she insists that they are ”just good friends”.

It’s just as well that they get on, for, as the Star’s editorial ungallantly points out, ”He’ll need a 10-year contract for that particular job”.

Posted: 19th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Barnacle Willy

‘IT’S one of the more unusual dangers of summer, but let this be a lesson to anyone thinking of falling asleep on a beach. The Glas Javnosti newspaper reports that a 23-year-old who was lying in shallow water to escape the heat in Bor, Yugoslavia, ended up in hospital after a barnacle attached itself to his penis.

Unable to remove it himself, he went to the accident and emergency department of the local hospital, where a nurse failed to remove it with tweezers. The crustacean was only detached after the man got an unplanned erection. The embarrassed sunbather was sent home. The fate of the barnacle is not known. ‘

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Fabric Of Society

‘EVERY day, all around the world, people are going about their daily business unaware of the terrible crisis threatening them. One of the most valuable resources on the planet is fast running out, and it could change our lives beyond all recognition.

Seaman consoles himself with the news that while his career is nearing an end, his look is very much in vogue

That’s right, readers – there is a worldwide shortage of polyester. Or, as the Mirror calls it, ”the cheap, sticky man-made nightmare favoured by millions of 1970s clothing victims”.

”Unbelievably, firms are now struggling to meet demand for the synthetic fabric because of a boom in retro styles,” it writes. ”And designers, inspired by the psychedelic era, are using it to create everything from easy-care clothing to cushions.”

The loud suits and frilly shirts worn by Austin Powers are thought to be partly responsible for fuelling the renewed demand for polyester, which is so great that manufacturer Synetix says supplies could dry up by 2008. ”Polyester is a victim of its own success,” says a Synetix spokesman. ”It used to be thought of as starchy and uncomfortable, but today it can be processed so that it feels soft, like a peach skin.”

But the worst part about the skyrocketing demand for polyester is that it has been accompanied by a resurgence of men growing long sideburns, handlebar moustaches and cultivating thatches of chest hair where large medallions can nestle.

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Elvis Lives!

‘IT’S just as well Elvis isn’t around to live in a world without plentiful supplies of polyester. Or is he? Today, on the 25th anniversary of what is widely believed to be his death, the Mail publishes a dossier of some of the 250,000 Elvis sightings that have flooded in since the King ate one drug-laced burger too many and suffered a heart attack.

”Two whoppers and jumbo fries to go”

In October 1995, Elvis apparently entered a dog in the Sussex County Sheepdog Trials. He darted off into a nearby wood when approached by fans, but his dog, Lisa Marie, still managed to come second. He was also spotted returning a Dyson vacuum cleaner to John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City and, a little over a week after the sheepdog trials, shopping at Waitrose in King’s Lynn. ”This place is rubbish,” he said when questioned about his identity. ”I wish I’d stayed in Southampton.”

But the most plausible sightings are those of the King in restaurants and fast food outlets. Six years ago, a man claims to have seen Elvis ordering a mushroom bhaji and chicken biriani at the Taste of Raj curry house in Palmers Green, north London. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Elvis was spotted at the drive-thru Burger King. Most convincing of all is a sighting of Elvis at a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz.

”I dropped to my knees, crying: ‘You are the King’,” recalls the fan who spotted him. ”He looked down and his silver sunglasses sparkled in the light. ‘Easy, son,’ he said.” The irrefutable proof of the legend’s identity, however, comes in the form of the four nachos, five hot dogs and a beer that the man ordered, and all before the game even started. It sounds just like the Elvis we knew and loved.

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Loving And Leaving

‘ONE music legend unlikely to be seen in Britain is Geri Halliwell. And even if she were a music legend, she still wouldn’t be seen on these shores for much longer because, as the Star reports, Geri ”is to quit Britain to set up home in the USA with her lover Damian Warner”.

Who will fill Geri’s dress when she jacks in Britain?

The paper describes it as ”shock news”, but for most readers it comes as a rather pleasant surprise. ”It appears the health-freak singer – dubbed ‘Geri no-mates’ after fall-outs with George Michael and Robbie Williams – has finally found a soulmate in Chicago millionaire Damian,” write the Bitches, the paper’s resident gossip-mongers.

The lovers first met at a rehab clinic near Tucson, Arizona, where she was allegedly receiving treatment for bulimia and he was recovering from a drugs problem. ”Now she’s decided she wants to spend tons of quality time with him,” says a pal. ”And why not, if she’s finally found someone willing to put up with her faddy exercise and diet plans?” ask the Bitches.

The only potential glitch in this stellar plan is that Geri will not be leaving for good until January 3, which gives Damian plenty of time to come to his senses.

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Sophie’s Choice

‘COLD feet before a marriage is nothing unusual, and if one is about to marry into royalty there must be even more cause for nerves. Certainly no-one would blame Sophie Rhys-Jones for having second thoughts before her wedding.

”Regrets? I’ve had a few…”

”Royal bride jitters” announces the Star, below a picture of Sophie’s face, apparently taken after seeing Edward in socks and sandals, or something equally disagreeable.

Sophie admits that she nearly backed out of the marriage in a new documentary from – surprise, surprise – Edward’s TV company Ardent.

We are not told the reason for her sudden wavering, but would it be cynical to suggest that it may have coincided with her first glimpse of the Ardent accounts?

Posted: 15th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Do The Maths

”’WHAT’S THE POINT OF EXAM IF YOU CAN’T FAIL?” asks the Sun with masterful rhetoric, but a shaky grasp of grammar.

Even with the aid of a calculator, the task proved difficult

”Fury as 94 per cent pass A-levels,” it continues, reflecting the fears of many others concerning the dumbing-down of our education system.

For as pass rates continue to rise, the content of exams is becoming narrower and easier, and pupils are increasingly shying away from ”difficult” subjects like maths. Which brings us back to that headline.

And a prospective exam question: If you have an exam that ”you can’t fail”, but only 94 per cent manage to pass it, does this mean that your use of English is to blame, or you maths – or both?


Posted: 15th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Sex Drive

‘THEY say men can’t do two things at once, but this story from Canada proves it’s a myth.

Police in Ontario were reportedly ”astonished” to discover that a car they stopped near the town of Barrie was being driven by a man having sex with his girlfriend.

”Both occupants of the vehicle were engaged in activities other than that normally expected of persons driving an automobile,” Senior Constable Norm Galestzoski told the Toronto Star. ”The female passenger was completely nude and the male driver was also in a state of undress.”

The 31-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were both charged, and reminded that such activities were best performed in the privacy of their own home. ‘

Posted: 15th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Socks Appeal

‘THIS summer we have seen another concerted campaign by the fashion editors and lifestyle columnists to kill off the age-old tradition of British men wearing socks with shoes.

Endangered species

Even a recent Times leader got in on the act. This is typically short-sighted behaviour. Now, alas, British men finally seem to be taking notice of this hectoring, and are ditching their trusty socks in droves.

Yesterday BBC Morning Breakfast presenter Jeremy Bowen joined their ranks, and at one point waved his foot around above his desk to show off his bare toes, to the delight of fellow anchor and possible foot-fetishist Sophie Raworth.

Today’s Mirror shows pictures of the foot-worshipping session and asks readers to vote on whether they are behind Jeremy in his sockless stand, or just underneath the news desk having a good sniff.

But behind all the fake jollity is a serious matter, for British sock-makers aren’t the only ones who will suffer if this crazy new thinking takes hold. Without men wearing socks and sandals, the hacks will be unable to write their annual socks-and-sandals articles, and will have to think of new things to write about. Hence the backlash against Bowen.

But there could be relief in sight. If the BBC’s dressing-down policy continues, there could be other indignities heaped upon us.

”What next, presenters in shorts?” asks the Mirror hopefully, as it rummages around for its familiar stock of articles about the perils of British men baring their knees.

Posted: 15th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Waking The Dead

‘PARENTS are forever complaining that teenagers play their music loud enough to wake the dead, but for one family, at least, it’s worked in their favour.

”Got anyting by The Smiths?”

”Rap star Eminem has brought a teenager who ‘died’ five times out of a coma,” reports the Star. ”He sent Claire Derbyshire, 17, a bandana, CDs, signed pictures of himself and a limited edition doll to help her recovery.”

The paper writes that relatives played the works of Marshall Mathers to Claire as she lay in her hospital bed, close to death after catching meningitis. Clearly desperate, they also played the music of other chart-toppers, such as Atomic Kitten, Destiny’s Child, Blue and A1 in a bid to aid the Manchester girl’s recovery.

But it was the rapper’s soothing and life-affirming lyrics that struck a chord deep in her subconscious, and her family ”were amazed when the songs miraculously stirred her back to life”.

”Her eyes lit up and she was overcome, especially when she received the gifts from Eminem,” says her aunt, Julie Widall, who had spent days on the phone persuading the stars to help. ”It was the first time in 17 weeks that she was awake. It was just unbelievable.”

Even though Claire only emerged from her coma to scream at her relatives to turn that crap off, the prognosis is now good and doctors are optimistic about her chances of a full recovery.

Posted: 14th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

A Toast To The King

‘NOTHING could bring Elvis back from the dead, especially as he’s actually alive and well and working in a KFC outlet in Norwich. But, in the lead up to the 25th anniversary on Friday of his so-called death, the tabloids are filling their pages with tributes to the Burger King, and none more so than the Star, where this week has been declared ”Elvis week”.

The bit of Elvis that never tanned

To mark this special occasion, the paper publishes an article headlined: ”The King is toast – it’s Edible Presley in bread role.” ”The King has been immortalised in a 12-foot high portrait made from 4,000 slices of toast,” it informs us.

Observers may be disappointed to note that artist Maurice Bennett did not create the work with some of Elvis’s favourite sandwich toppings, such as peanut butter and bacon or strawberry jam and lard, but rather used a huge oven to toast up to 90 slices of bread at a time, grilling the bread to different shades – ”ranging from burnt for Elvis’s hair to lightly warmed for his skin”.

Not surprisingly, the idea ”came four years ago while Maurice was out drinking with friends”. It’s a grand tribute to the rock’n’roll legend, but it’s just as well that he’s not here to see it – nobody would want to see Maurice’s masterpiece reduced to a pile of crumbs.

Posted: 14th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Young Man

‘WILL Young may be big, but he’ll never be as big as Elvis – not unless he has McDonald’s set up a restaurant in his living room. But still, the Pop Idol is discovering that there are some drawbacks to being rich and famous.

”Pop fans soon forget you,” warns Sonia

The Star writes that Will ”is the latest to complain that success has ruined his sex life”. ”The posh lad with the big smile insists he can’t find Mr Right after winning the ITV1 show,” says a sympathetic Star.

”His admission that he was gay failed to dent his popularity and he’s on the way to becoming a millionaire. But despite the attraction of his sizeable wad, Will – who scored hits with Evergreen and Light My Fire – can’t even find anyone to stoke his embers.”

So if there are any blokes out there with red-hot pokers and a bit of free time on their hands, Will is waiting for your call. ‘

Posted: 14th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Kat Creamed

‘DOCTOR Truman must be suffering from severe sleep deprivation caused by Zoe’s disappearance as next week he sleeps with her mother, Kat, ”by mistake”. Regular viewers will of course recall that Anthony had a relationship with Kat some months earlier (it qualifies as a relationship in Kat’s book as she actually knew his name) before switching his attentions to her daughter.

It’s unlikely that the ”mistake” excuse will wash with either Kat or Zoe. For a start, the pair look nothing like each other. In fact Kat looks like she’s eaten Zoe and is storing her remains down the back of leopard skin mini skirt. But Zoe is still missing and there’s a rumour that she won’t be coming back, so maybe Kat really has disposed of her daughter to get her claws back into the not-so-good doctor.

There’s another shock in store for the Truman family, when Paul discovers that Patrick isn’t his father after all, it’s another, entirely different racially stereotyped West Indian bloke called Milton. Milton and his daughter Rebecca came to The Square for Anthony’s wedding, and it wasn’t long before Paul put the move on the lovely Rebecca.

Worried that a Brookside incest storyline was developing, producers did the right thing and had Milton tell Paul the truth. Paul was obviously devastated. Not because he’s losing Patrick as a father but because he had to turn down a definite romp.

And speaking of sure things, Janine has finally ventured out of the house. Well, anything was preferable to being in a locked room with her brother, Ricky Butcher. Ricky has come back to help Janine with her social problems, which is the biggest case of the blind leading the blind I think I’ve ever heard.

Ricky got the wrong end of the stick (hard to believe isn’t it?) and thought that it was Billy who’d introduced Janine to cocaine abuse and prostitution. He vowed to ”sort him” (squash him to death between his man breasts probably), and somehow Janine managed to find the strength to leave the house to warn Billy.

And like all physical and mental health problems in Walford, her agoraphobia cleared up within the space of two episodes. Lourdes has nothing on the healing powers of Albert Square. ‘

Posted: 14th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Moon In June – And July, And August…

”’NOBODY parties like the British,” announces the Star in its influential editorial column. ”On holiday we have a fierce reputation as hell-raisers.” Quite so.

We’re still fighting them on the beaches

But what has prompted this proud and defiant announcement? The answer lies on page 23 of the same paper, in a story entitled ”SHAME OF BRIT YOB TOURISTS”.

It explains that a new ITV programme, ”Tourists From Hell” will reveal precisely how we earned our reputation for ”hell-raising”. In other words, yet more footage of drinking, mooning, puking, and all the other things which endear us to the rest of the world.

”It’s not pleasant viewing,” admits a ”source” at Granada TV. ”Most people will be ashamed to be British.”

Not the Star, though. ”Yes, there is a line that a few louts do cross,” it admits, ”but 99.9 per cent of Brit tourists are good, hard working folk innocently letting off a bit of steam. Strange how these same people who call us unwelcome visitors build more hotels, bars and clubs to attract our hard-earned dollar. They should put up or shut up.”

Indeed. And if they don’t, the Star will send its boys round to drink, puke and moon until they do.

Posted: 12th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Wedding Belles

‘THANKS to its one-child policy, females in China are in short supply. Which could explain a spate of grave robberies in Shaanxi province.

The Straits Times reports that a Chinese crime syndicate has allegedly been digging up female corpses to sell to relatives of dead single men. The residents of Jingbian county believe that their dead relatives need ”wives” to help them settle down – and possibly do their cooking, cleaning and laundry – in the spirit world.

Police say members of a gang have been digging up five corpses a night from cemeteries in the province. But brides don’t come cheap, even when they’re dead – the syndicate charged up to £2,300 for the corpses.

Posted: 12th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment

Crocodile Tears

‘THERE is a horrible air of inevitability about the hunt for missing ten-year-olds, Holly Evans and Jessica Chapman. As every hour passes, the chances of their being found alive diminish and the feeling of dread grows.

Accountants at the Express hedge their bets

In these circumstances, we should perhaps welcome any step that might help secure their return, but there is something grotesque about the way the tabloids are trying to outdo each other in their support for the girls.

Yesterday, the Express trumpeted its caring credentials by offering a million pound reward for information leading to the girls’ return. And this morning it is giving itself a massive pat on the back with a truly obscene bit of self-promotion.

Under pictures of the grieving parents, it tells how they ”broke down yesterday as they thanked the Daily Express for the ‘extraordinary’ offer”. We would humbly suggest that maybe they broke down because their beloved daughters are missing.

But the paper is far too busy trumpeting ”the massive bounty – the biggest in British newspaper history” to worry about such details. For all the world, they could be talking about a new lottery game, not the probable abduction of two ten-year-old friends. And does one have to be so cynical to think that the paper has done its calculations and can parade its generosity in the fairly certain knowledge that it won’t have to pay up?

The Sun is never one to pass up a chance of blowing its own trumpet, but it at least has the decency to do so on Page 5 and then only in a sidebar. Or could that just be the embarrassment at seeing their £150,000 bounty trounced by a rival paper..?

Posted: 9th, August 2002 | In: Tabloids | Comment