The long-awaited biography of that legendary Fleet Street editor (and former Cabinet minister) Bill Deedes comes out later this month.
It wasn’t that long ago that Axegrinder attended his memorial service at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks – and what still sticks out is that Bill asked for the South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika, to be played as the congregation was filing out of the chapel. Bill had, of course, made provision in his will that everyone should have a “drink on me” and this was all suitably arranged in a nearby tent.
Stephen Robinson, former Telegraph foreign correspondent and latterly comment editor, had access to Bill and his papers over the last three years, and The Remarkable Lives of Bill Deedes is the result.
It will be launched later this month at El Vino, a Fleet Street watering hole favoured by Bill and many of his thirsty Telegraph colleagues over the years. Sadly, the main Telegraph pub of that era – The King and Keys, scene of much highbrow discussion between Telegraph hacks, as well as quite a few drunken brawls – closed down last year.
Meanwhile, for those who want a glimpse of what might be inside the 400-plus pages of Bill’s amazing life, I understand that there will be excerpts in this weekend’s Daily and Sunday Telegraph. Shurely, to borrow from Bill, this is no mishtake this time.