Daily Mail denies taking hatchet to book on Bogarde

The Daily Mail has denied claims from an author that in serialising his biography of Dirk Bogarde, it reduced it to a “repellent hatchet job”.

Former Daily Telegraph literary editor John Coldstream rounded on the Mail in a letter that appeared in weekly magazine The Bookseller, and he has also written to the Press Complaints Commission.

Mail literary editor Jane Mays has responded to Coldstream’s claims that her paper perpetrated a “grotesque rewrite” with her own letter in the magazine. She said: “In the 12 years that I have been responsible for acquiring serialisation rights for the Daily Mail, every single book we have bought has been adapted.

“It beggars belief that an experienced former newspaperman represented by a leading literary agent well versed in the ways of serialisation should claim to be ignorant of this.”

The letter also stated: “Mr Coldstream has written what is, in his own words, a warts and all account of his subject. It was therefore inevitable that any newspaper serialising the book would focus, as we did, on some prominent and interesting themes.

“The book runs to some 288,000 words, from which we were permitted by Mr Coldstream’s agent to use 15,000. We stand by our adaptation as a ‘fair and accurate representation of the book’ – something which is anyway required by a clause in our serialisation contract.”

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