Duped Cumbria papers slam April fool prank

The Carlisle News & Star and sister paper the Cumbrian Gazette have both criticised Gretna football club press office saying that an April Fool's story it sent which ended up on one of the paper's front pages was "completely believable".

Both CN Group-owned papers fell for the club's prank press release claiming that player Kenny Deuchar, currently on loan to Northampton, was to star in BBC TV hospital series Holby City as a doctor.

The News & Star printed the story on page 4 of its Wednesday edition, while the free Cumbrian Gazette went all out and splashed the story on its front page.

The prank story was sent to other papers including The Sun, the Daily Record, The Annandale Observer and Dumfries Standard but it is believed that none other than the two CN Groupowned papers fell for it.

Off-pitch, Deuchar is a doctor and the striker's on-pitch nickname is "the good doctor" which had provided inspiration for the joke.

Speaking on behalf of both newspapers, News & Star deputy editor Richard Eccles said the press release, emailed by Gretna on 31 March, was picked up in the office the day after April Fool's day, on Monday 2 April.

He said: "We're trying to see the funny side of it but regard this as more of a hoax than an April Fool. Mostnewspaper-generated April Fool stories are clearly ludicrous by the time you get to the end and you have worked out the daft bylines.

"Kenny Deuchar is a real character – there are not many doctors who are also professional footballers, and him landing a bit-part in Holby City was completely believable. L ANAGRAM.

"You could say there is a general lesson for us all about following up press releases, but this was a very uncontentious, straightforward story.

"At the end of the day we have been hoaxed by an official press release from an organisation we should be able to trust.'

A spokesman for Gretna FC press office said: "We couldn't believe it actually got printed. Although it was quite believable because Kenny is actually a doctor in real life, no other papers went for it. As a football club we wanted to build media relations up a bit and have a bit of fun."

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