People gets £2m revamp to meet threat of new Star

Editor Wallis says The People is "redefining the way tabloids are made"

 With Richard Desmond’s launch of the Sunday Star imminent, the Sunday People has had a £2m revamp, added a separate sports section and reverted to calling itself The People.

In the new version out this Sunday – which editor Neil Wallis calls "the most radical innovation in popular newspapers since the introduction of colour magazines" – the paper gets a new masthead, a new design, extra pagination and a new structure.

The SP sports section, edited by sports editor Lee Clayton, will have 48 pages, making it, Trinity Mirror claims, "Britain’s biggest sports newspaper". In a groundbreaking departure for a tabloid, said the company, the main paper will no longer carry sports reports.

People Magazine, under new editor Kerry Parnell, has a new design and content.

Wallis admits that the arrival of the Sunday Star has had an effect on plans for The People.

"It has encouraged us to bring forward by a month or so what we were planning to do anyway," he said.

"We were planning and talking about it for months and then two or three months ago it became a reality. Until then the relaunch of the Mirror had to be centre-stage, concentrating a huge amount of the time and energies of the company.

"And the logical time for launch of the sports paper was the start of the Premiership this weekend."

Wallis promises the paper will look vastly different, though he said it was an evolution of the way it had been moving in the past six months.

The new look has been produced in-house under the direction of deputy editor Alan Edwards and art director Bruce Preston. It has meant an increase in the sports production staff.

The SP will have match reports and results from Premiership, Nationwide and non-League clubs. There will be a big racing section and coverage of rugby, motor racing, cricket and other popular sports.

The Hotline and Sports Confidential features will be expanded to provide more of the latest sporting news and gossip.

TalkSport presenter Mike Parry will give his take on major sporting issues.

Trinity Mirror is investing £2m in the relaunch in the first year. The People’s price remains at 65p.

"We are redefining the way tabloid newspapers are made," said Wallis. "The SP is a totally new concept: a standalone sports paper with its own editorial team, masthead and own distinct identity."

By Jean Morgan

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