Stiff reception for Niagra ‘call-girl’
The indefatigable Bobby Jaye, former head of BBC light entertainment and known to Fleet Street showbiz scribes as the mastermind behind Round the Horne and The Morecambe and Wise Show, recently took a “cold” call at his home in Bromley, Kent.
“The woman asked me if I could confirm a questionnaire I had apparently filled in regarding an application for Viagra and wanted me to elaborate on some personal details,” reports 72-year-old Bobby. “I thought it was one of my old Fleet Street mates having a laugh, so was rather stiff with her, so to speak.”
But the caller was rather taken aback when Jaye refused to answer such questions of a medical nature. “Furthermore,” he added, “I’m not really in need of Viagra.”
There was a pause at the other end of the line. “I’m calling from Niagra Double Glazing.”
Collapse, as they say, of stout party.
Police probe grizzly find
From the Ascot News. Dog can find no mention of bears in the copy, so can only assume that this was a grisly error.
Name dilemma could be costly
Ian Mather’s problem with a namesake (Dog, 16 May) prompts Ian Richardson, ex-BBC World Service “suit” and an occasional Press Gazette contributor, to have a moan about his namesake, the actor Ian Richardson.
“When I worked at Television Centre, I used to get his fan mail,” he reports. “Some of it was bizarre, such as the time a 15-year-old youth wrote that the actor’s portrayal of the deeply sinister MP, Francis Urquhart, had inspired him to take up politics.”
Now no longer with the BBC, journalist Ian has his own media company, but is still haunted by his actor namesake. “I set up my own website, but it’s almost impossible to find me on Google, without putting in my specific address www.richardsonmedia.co.uk.
“A search for ‘ian richardson + BBC’, for example, brings up 2,240 links, almost every one for the actor. Much the same happens with a search for ‘ian richardson + journalist’.
“It’s just as well I don’t rely on my site to keep my business afloat, as I would have gone bust long ago,” he sighs.
And the problem does not stop here. The Sun’s former royal reporter Phil Dampier thought he had a unique byline until people kept asking if he had moved into television.
“There is a producer called Phil Dampier and we are often mistaken,” said Phil, now a successful freelance.
“But apparently it’s worse for him – he has told colleagues he’s not ‘some royal hack’ and I noticed on a recent programme about the royals he called himself Philip Armstrong Dampier, presumably to distinguish us! Obviously, I’m better known or he wouldn’t be so concerned about it.”
Dog plans to sniff out the bogus exclusives
Since no self-respecting column is complete without its own campaign, Dog has decided it’s time to launch The Campaign for Real Exclusives – and expose the bogus ones. The first nomination comes from Take a Break editor John Dale.
Title: News of the World, Scottish edition, Sunday, 25 May
Exclusive claim: “I Made the Devil Cry”
Source: Take a Break, Thursday, 22 May
Nominator’s comment: “Not a single word, quote or headline was original and needless to say there was no accreditation. This was to journalism what Robert Maxwell was to pension funds”
Dog exclusivity rating: 1/100. One point gained for managing to find a single original picture of their own
Send your nominations to email@example.com.
Editors do battle in Wight downpour
When one editor issues a challenge to his fellow editors, in Dog’s experience it’s usually measured in pints. But the Isle of Wight County Press’s Brian Dennis had something a little more bracing in mind.
He challenged his comrades to walk the 16 miles from Carisbrooke Castle in the centre of the island to the most westerly point, the Needles. Three hardy souls accepted his challenge to join 2,200 walkers raising money for the hospice movement.
Bridget Dakin, editor of the Banbury Guardian, Peter Aengenheister, editor of the Rugby Advertiser and Keith Newbery, editor of the Chichester Observer, struggled up the steep climbs against very strong head winds and horizontal rain, in conditions that Dennis described as “probably the worst weather in the 13-year history of Walk the Wight”.
For the record, Aengenheister won Dennis’s challenge as the editor to raise the most cash. Dennis says all three challengers are raring to go for next year’s and are looking for other willing volunteers. For details, call him on 01983 522210 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrie stars invade world of journalism
Dog wonders if the cast of Coronation Street are not content with wiping the board at the soap awards and are now going for the Press Gazette awards by secretly moonlighting at Herts & Essex Newspapers.
Members of staff there include Ken Morley (who played Bettabuy’s boss Reg Holdsworth), who edits the Harlow Star, Steven Arnold (who plays newly widowed butcher Ashley Peacock), who runs the systems department, and Ian Rogerson (who plays the new cleaner at the Rover’s Return, Harry Flagg), who edits the Hoddesdon Mercury.