Dog watches dog 17.06.04

Critics in c-word drama

What is it about theatre critics and bad language. Almost 40 years ago Kenneth Tynan shocked the nation by becoming one of the first people to utter the “F” word on live television. Now two critics are engaged in a row over the “C” word.

A fortnight ago, theatrical weekly The Stage reported that Sheridan Morley (above left) and Michael Coveney had a lively exchange during the interval at the press night of The Black Rider, at the Barbican. The Stage claimed that Morley – until a while ago theatre critic of The Spectator – “stormed” over to Coveney – until recently theatre critic of the Daily Mail – and said: “You are a cunt.”

Coveney is said to have retorted: “At least I am not a fat cunt.”

But did the erudite Morley utter such a coarse word? In a letter printed in this week’s Stage he claims he did not. He writes: “I was indeed in the Barbican bar in the interval. Coveney was also there … he was not, shall we say, in the best of tempers.

I wandered over to have a bit of a chat. ‘Don’t you start speaking to me,’ says Coveney, ‘you cunt’. I, witty and quick-thinking, reply, ‘You too’.

“The bit about me also being fat I mercifully never heard. Anyway, I have recently lost 40 pounds, largely due to illness but an achievement nevertheless.”


Drinks all round on the tiny Mediterranean sunshine island of Gozo this week where former Mirror managing editor Revel Barker got the news that his first novel, The Hitler Scoop, has sold out in England after its first four weeks of publication.

Acclaimed by Clive Crickmer in The Northern Echo as “the most thought-provoking novel of the year”, it tells the story of a young reporter who stumbles, in the way we do, across a man who turns out to be Hitler’s doctor, a man believed to be dead but who has been living since the war secretly in Ireland.

Says Barker: “At least a reprinting gives us the opportunity to put Clive’s quotes on the front cover – and also the chance to replace a few forgotten umlauts.”

The story includes scores of real life Fleet Street anecdotes (it is set in the late Sixties) as well as numerous, fairly easily recognisable characters. It also includes a wonderful quote from the late, great Vincent Mulchrone: “Journalism is the only form of human activity in which the orgasm comes at the beginning.”

The book is published by PenPress at £7.99.

Sponsored slide? Fat chance

Who ate all the pies? Could it be Charlie Allan, deputy sports editor of the Aberdeen Evening Express? That’s what his colleague, columnist John McRuvie, told readers last week. He revealed that Allan, known for his gargantuan appetite for pies and pints, had been disqualified from a sponsored slide down a 140-metre rope at Aberdeen Football Club’s Pittodrie stadium to raise money for the Gordon Highlanders’ Museum Appeal. For safety reasons, sliders need to weigh 17 stone or under. And as McRuvie put it: “He was nearly 17 stone when he was born.”

It’s perhaps no surprise that McRuvie had such fun at his expense, because his colleagues on the paper’s lifestyle section have recently been putting avuncular Allan’s ample figure to good use. A spotlight on the best food for barbecues was illustrated by a picture of an unnamed Allan preparing to wolf down a monster roll. That was his second appearance in a week celebrating the joys of nosh.

Nothing Express about this ‘exclusive’

Maybe Sunday Express duo Tim Shipman and Michael Knapp mistakenly believe the Jewish Telegraph is a foreign paper. That can surely be the only explanation for their front-page interview with former PLO bomber Walid Shoebat being labelled “exclusive” and “his first interview with a British newspaper”.

In fact, Shoebat gave an interview to the Manchester-based Telegraph in October last year when Doreen Wachmann landed the scoop with the terroristturnedardent-Zionist editor.

TITLE: Sunday Express, 30 May 2004

EXCLUSIVE CLAIM: “First interview with a British newspaper.”

NOMINATED BY: Jewish Telegraph editor Paul Harris

SOURCE: Jewish Telegraph

NOMINATOR’S COMMENT: “This was a big Jewish Telegraph exclusive as Shoebat himself commented earlier this year. Either the Sunday Express doesn’t do its homework properly or chooses to ignore the fact that a small publication got there first!”


This pull-no-punches item was spotted by reader Francis Harvey in Cardiff listings magazine Buzz. “It makes a change from the usual regurgitated, sycophantic press releases,” says Harvey.

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