Helliker says goodbye to Mandrake for MoS

Helliker: parting on good terms

Even promotion to assistant editor at The Sunday Telegraph did not persuade Adam Helliker, the paper’s Mandrake diarist, to turn down an offer to return to Associated Newspapers.

Helliker is to get his own, named diary page in The Mail on Sunday alongside that of his old boss Nigel Dempster. Helliker, 42, spent 16 years as Dempster’s No.2 on The Daily Mail and MoS diaries before leaving for The Sunday Telegraph four years ago.

MoS deputy editor Rod Gilchrist said he had left the Mail as the master’s apprentice but was returning as "a fully-fledged star in his own right".

"In our view, he has done an absolutely brilliant job with the Mandrake column. He has broken a series of outstanding stories which have been hugely followed up by all the other papers.

"He has made himself almost indispensable as an object of our desire," said Gilchrist.

Helliker is to get a specially- designed page which will have different projection from Dempster’s.

"Nigel’s is an established page. He has a certain kind of repertory company of leading players and Adam deals in a different crowd," said Gilchrist.

Helliker is pleased to be "coming out" from under his nom de plume but has enjoyed his time as Mandrake.

"Dominic [Lawson, Sunday Telegraph editor] is very interested in diaries and very good at them himself, so he encouraged me. We are parting on good terms," he said.

His promotion gave Helliker pause for thought about leaving but, he said: "It is very rare to get the offer to do a column of your own in a leading Sunday so I’ve got to go."

Helliker has had a successful three-year partnership on Mandrake with his No.2, Jane Slade, whom he has known since they trained together in journalism. He will have an assistant at the MoS and there is already speculation that it will be Slade.

It is also rumoured that Lawson will look again towards Dempster’s column for a replacement for Helliker.

Dempster’s current No.2 is Tim Walker.

Helliker will start at the MoS in mid-September.

Going in the opposite direction, to The Daily Telegraph as home news editor, will be the MoS’s chief reporter Fiona Barton (Press Gazette, 14 June).

After 12 years at the MoS, she said: "It will be a complete change, Sunday to daily and reporter to news editor. "I am ready to do something different."

Jean Morgan

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