As I’ve been working in the media slightly longer than the 40 years
Press Gazette has been in existence I thought it a suitable time to
reflect on some of the outstanding events of my 40-odd years in
journalism and PR.
One of the many things that stands out for me
is the frequent bad advice that was given during the amazing time I’ve
had playing the media game: “Stay in journalism, it’s an easy way to
make a comfortable living – press officers are just there to serve the
whims of us journalists. Anyway, there’s never going to be any money in
– Merton & Morden News chief reporter Maggie Briton in
1961 on hearing I, then a young reporter, was considering going into PR.
“Don’t waste too much time on this lot son – we’ve already turned them down once and Decca also turned them down.
God only knows why we’ve signed them now!”
– One of the leading lights of EMI Records, talking in 1961 about a group we were about to launch. They were called The Beatles.
“I don’t give a fuck what you think, this fucking story will ruin me. You’ve got to stop it.”
Words of wisdom back in 1986 from my PR client Freddie Starr. He was of
course talking about claims that he had eaten a friend’s hamster which
somehow got to the attention of then Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie. I
ignored his advice and worked with The Sun to create a headline which
many rate as the most memorable of them all: “Freddie Starr Ate My
“I don’t suppose it would be of much interest Max, but
one of my girls is a researcher in the House of Commons and a couple of
her boyfriends are reporters.”
– My old friend, madam Mary Inge in 1989.
was the story that opened up a whole new world for me. The girl in
question was Pamela Bordes and the two “reporters” were Andrew Neil,
then editor of The Sunday Times, and Donald Trelford, then editor of
Yes, the story proved quite interesting. It also
started a slow trickle of kiss-and-tell stories that has in recent
years become a flood, resulting in hundreds of front page exclusives
from Max Clifford Associates in the past 15 years.
“I doubt that anyone is going to believe my word against his, Max?”
Ted Francis when he first came to see me about the false alibi of his
friend Lord Archer in 1999. Fortunately just about everyone believed
Happy birthday Press Gazette and may we both continue to surprise and entertain for years to come.
The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust