Winter road teams hit by cuts


As regular readers will have noted, the Daily Drone is trying something new this week.

As the World’s Greatest Newspaper seems to have such success splashing on the weather we thought we would try the same. We wonder if our circulation will go up? (No – Ed)

Our hero councils are defying the cuts and are using their initiatives and showing true grit to keep our highways clear as may be discerned below...


At last! The roads are clear

road clear

Meanwhile north of Watford...

This little offering is to cheer up our chums in the North by reinforcing their prejudices. Who says Southerners can’t laugh at themselves? Hahahahaha (That’s enough hahas – Ed)

Of all the villages in all the world...

ted simon

BOTTOMS UP: David Richardson, left and Ted Simon

IT’S A SMALL WORLD, as Lord Drone is often heard to mutter in his more sober moments. And that is what David Richardson found when he bumped into another former Expressman in his tiny French village.

Richardson, former foreign editor of the Express, has lived in Aspiran in the Languedoc for many years with out realising that Ted Simon was a near neighbour. They made up for lost time by sharing a few glasses of red in the village.

Simon, now 86, once travelled round the world on a motorcycle, which was more fun than his  days on the Express which he says were not his happiest.

He found himself in Fleet Street after National Service with the RAF. When he was demobbed he founded Scramble, a magazine for recruits, which caught the attention of Arthur Christiansen, editor of the Daily Express

Ted eventually became features editor of the Daily Sketch, and shortly before that paper was amalgamated with the Daily Mail in 1964 he left to found and edit a man's magazine, King, which survived for three years. He moved to France and contributed to various English newspapers and magazines, including The Observer and Nova. 

In late 1973, sponsored by The Sunday Times, Ted Simon began travelling around the world on a 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle. For four years he travelled over 64,000 miles through 45 countries. Most accounts from his trip are detailed in his book, Jupiter's Travels, while some of the book's gaps are filled in its second part, the book Riding High.

His books and long-distance riding inspired the actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in their 2004 journey from London to New York on motorcycles (Long Way Round), during which they arranged to meet Simon in Mongolia.

He has recently returned from the US where he was reunited with his old boss, the legendary Harry Evans.


Jonathan Pie assesses Brexit talks


Help! I've won wooden spoon

wooden spoon

When your dog is cooler than you

dog cooler than you

Tavener’s Tales 4

A gun barrel of laughs

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IN the fourth part of his memoir, told exclusively in the Daily Drone, former Daily Express star reporter ROGER TAVENER tells of a drunken press trip to the South of France.

A gun barrel of laughs

To Russia with love toys

Lost in France

Quest for the Black Widow


Nosebags for all at the King’s Arms

kings arms

LADDIES WHO LUNCH, PART 96: Yes folks, here’s another pic of chaps in a pub. Seven of us had several glasses of luncheon at the King’s Arms, an old Express drinking haunt in Roupell Street, Waterloo, London. Pictured, from left, are Ray King, Ray Williams, Alan Livermore, David Laws, Brian Izzard and Nick Ingram. Behind the camera was Alastair McIntyre who was unable to contrive a way of getting himself in the shot. Pathetic.

A topping day out for the gossips

ascot diarists

TELLING TAILS: Fleet Street gossip diarists enjoy a day out at Royal Ascot in the 1980s all in the name of work. Those were the days! Pictured, from left, are Nigel Dempster, James Whitaker, Peter McKay, Peter Tory and John Roberts. More pictures here


The day Dumpster & Co dumped  poor old Hickey into a coffin

IT all seemed rather jolly when the Mail’s Nigel Dempster danced gleefully on the coffin of William Hickey in Fleet Street back in 1987. Well he would wouldn’t he? More pictures here

Daily Star newsroom staff 1989

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Surrounded by their staff, Daily Star editor Brian Hitchen, deputy Nigel Blundell and No3 Peter Hill pose for a picture on their final day in Fleet Street before the move to Blackfriars in 1989. We can recall a few names … Bob Hadfield (second left) and next to him is Chris Hilsden. Ian Mayhew is seated next to Blundell. On the extreme right wearing a tie is Mike Parker, from the news desk. Golf correspondent  Bill Elliot is on the extreme left.

The Star and its Express siblings remained in their new home until 2004 when Richard Desmond moved the operation to Upper Thames Street. Thanks to Pat Wooding for posting this picture on Facebook. Click for a larger view.


Cartoons of the day


Christian Adams, Evening Standard


Dave Brown, Independent


Ben Jennings, Guardian


Patrick Blower, Telegraph


Steve Bell, Guardian


Morten Morland, The Times


Steven Camley, Herald Scotland


Brian Adcock


Brian Adcock

Tuesday’s first editions




 © Carl Giles 1950

Hector Breeze


Punch Classic (1940s)

classic shepherd

Hold Page 96! 

News you may have missed

crap dominatrix

Latest Eye


Classic Eye (1966)


Potts of fun! TP Fielden’s new book

FORMER Hickey editor Christopher Wilson has been hard at work on his typewriter again (an upright Underwood, no doubt) to produce a sequel to his first Miss Dimont mystery,The Riviera Express.

Resort To Murder, written under his alias TP Fielden, is published on 2 November and once again delves into the world of 1950s local newspapers, with chief reporter Judy Dimont taking time out from the day job to solve a mystery or two in the company of ace snapper Terry Eagleton.

Christopher told the Drone: "Nobody called Shrimsley is murdered in this one; there's only a walk-on part for the dipso manservant called Lamb; but the wine waiter Potts is rushed off his feet when visiting Fleet Street staffers descend on Temple Regis to follow up a brace of killings. 

"Resort is the second in a series of five commissioned by HarperCollins, inspired by my days on Westminster Press weeklies long ago. 

"The Fleet Street boys always drop in for a drink in these books, but they're about local journalism.  RIP.

Lord Drone warmly recommends both books.


Alice takes on the mighty Fielden

alice castle

It appears that TP Fielden is not alone in turning to a life of crime. Fielden, alias former Hickey editor Christopher Wilson, has former Hickey hackette Alice Castle as his rival for sales when they both have books out in the run-up to Christmas.

Fielden’s Resort to Murder is the second in his splendid Judy Dimont amateur sleuth series. 

Alice, pictured, who wrote for Hickey in the days of the great Ross Benson from 1990-94 before moving to Features for a further two years, also has a heroine.

Hers is single mum Beth Haldane, who made her first appearance in Death in Dulwich and now gets caught up in all sorts of life or death nastiness in The Girl in the Gallery, set in Dulwich Picture Gallery.  

Alice’s first book in her Beth Haldane series topped the satire/detective fiction category on Amazon when it was published in September. Because of that success, The Girl in the Gallery is out on December 19 and is full of the sort of yummy mummies that make driving through Dulwich Village so delightful (if hazardous).

To order Death in Dulwich click HERE

To order TP Fielden’s two excellent books, of which more below, click HERE

Can you name these Expressmen?

beano barty

The Drone can, well we can name three of them. They were pictured at a redundancy party thrown by the Daily Express features subs at London's City Golf Club in, we think, 1985. The pictures were supplied by ELAINE CANHAM. Can you name them?
Find the answers and heaps more pictures here.

One in the Eye

eye title

No 103

Volume 15: 1986

THE history of the Daily and Sunday Express as told 30 years ago through the columns of Private Eye (Lord Drone does not necessarily agree with the sentiments expressed although, from memory, they seem reasonably accurate.) 

New readers: The Eye referred to the Express as the Getsworse, the Getsmuchworse, or the Getsevenworse or sometimes even worse than that.

UPDATED 19th September, 2017

2nd May 1986

Street of Shame

DESPITE the pleadings of Roy Hattersley to replace Keith Waterhouse as the Mirror’s columnist, Robert Maxwell has personally selected someone else for this crucial position.

He is none other than George G Ale, Thatcher-lover extraordinaire, lifelong Tory and £100,000 redundee from the Daily Getsworse.

This is a return to pastures old for Ale. Prior to Waterhouse he was the Mirror’s columnist for a disastrous 12 months. After years of oblivion as a gravelly-voiced radio phone-in host, he was brought back to the Street of Shame by Lord Matthews as the Getsworse leader writer.

Ale subsequently resigned from this post after Fingers refused to print an editorial of his in adulation of Mrs Thatcher. Since then his task has been to fill a weekly page which has earned him the nickname of Attila the Columnist.

With a background like this Ale will have no trouble slotting into the Maxwell Mirror.


EDDY Shah has demanded a high standard of technical competence from his staff on Today, though some of his appointments were as blurred as his colour printing.

He has continued to introduce some of the most advanced equipment known to modern science. The latest was a coffee percolator for use by the editorial staff.

On the first day of its installation it was carefully filled by brilliant chief sub-editor Simon Crookshank. Unfortunately, Crookshank’s skill was not sufficient to cope with this.

It blew the plant’s whole system and Shah lost an entire edition.


30th May, 1986

Street of Shame

Our recent prediction that United Newspapers’ horrible sleaze-meister-in-chief Roger Boyes had downmarket designs on the stately, decent Sunday Express are likely to be confirmed soon. Editor Sir Jonah Junor has been persuaded to stand down next month, and Boyes is conducting the search for his successor. Jonah’s choices have included book critic Graham Lord and the ectomorphic Henry Macrory, whose chief qualification as a Sunday Expressman was that his diplomat father, Sir Patrick Macrory, was a Walton Heath member prepared to play golf with Auchtermuchty’s most irascible son.

Sir Jonah would be happy with either of the two, confident – perhaps wrongly in the case of Lord – that he could continue to exert power from his position as curmudgeon-columnist. But his biggest fear is that the ghastly, naff Boyes only interviewed Macrory and Lord for appearance's sake, and befriended while at the Daily Mirror someone in the mould of his Daily Express choice ‘Nick’ Lloyd.

Jonah has almost fulfilled the expectations of those colleagues closest to him over the years – that he would rather destroy the Sunday Express entirely than give up his power. Even after making an estimated £500,000 from buying Fleet Holdings shares when they were 20p, staying as editor well past retirement age, ensuring that his own column was the only sought-after one on the paper, Sir Jonah lingers on while Boyes and his half-witted chairman, David Stevens, plan to do for the Sunday Express what they have already done to the battered Daily Getsworse.

*Robin Esser eventually took over from Junor as Sunday Express editor in 1986. Macrory was appointed deputy editor and later became head of press to Prime Minister David Cameron – Ed

27th June 1986

Street of Shame

Peter McKay’s move to become editor of Eddy Shah’s Sunday Today has been welcomed cautiously by his old mentor, Sunday Express editor Sir John Junor.

Sir Jonah told McHackey on many occasions that he was just the man for the tiller of the Sunday Express. He would encourage the bibulous Scottish scribbler to write to the Express owners and apply for the job.

‘Should I mention your name, John?’ McHackey once asked Sir Jonah.

‘No, no laddie, that would be counter-productive at this stage,’ replied the cunning denizen of Auchtermuchty, who never had the slightest intention of yielding his throne to McHackey or anyone else.

The move to Shah Towers in Vauxhall Bridge Road comes at a sad time for McHackey. He has finally fallen out for the last time with his Street of Shame chum of nearly 20 years, Nigel Pratt-Dumpster.

It was Pratt-Dumpster who went to McHackey’s last editor, Mail On Sunday supremo Stewart Steven, and informed him that the cigar-chomping Lothario had helped to compose the Eye's Sir Jonah column in which Steven was advised to seek employment as chief rodent operative in the sewers of Tel Aviv.

11th July 1986

Street of Shame

Shuffling, cigar-chomping Ron ‘Badger’ Hall has emerged as favourite to edit the Sunday Express after interviews with two other no-hoper candidates – the Getsworse’s features editor Alan Frame and the Daily Mail’s Nick Gordon.

Jonah feels sympathy for the weary Badger, who has been labouring at the Sunday Express’s piss-poor colour magazine since the departure of Charles ‘Pasty-Face’ Wintour and his flame-haired moll Audrey Slaughter.

Frame is a bearded hack who presides over some of the worst features in Fleet Street at the Getsworse while the rodent-like Gordon is best known for filling the Daily Mail with undistinguished showbiz articles.

Jonah is saying he wants to retire from the column and the paper. He cannot stand Roger Boyes, the useless chief executive from the Daily Mirror whose dream is a sleazy, tabloid Sunday Express.

Bowes has power over United Newspapers chairman David Stevens because Stevens is a money man who knows nothing about newspapers. Together they are a downmarket version of another disastrous Getsworse partnership – that of Sir Max ‘Biggles’ Aitken and Jocelyn ‘Piranha Teeth’ Stevens. Even Piranha now sympathises with his old foe, Sir Jonah, and has offered to arrange a grand retirement banquet for Auchtermuchty’s most famous son.

















ONE IN THE EYE 1966-1971



The Beaver’s 75th birthday 

Express1 (1)


Towering changes at Blackfriars

blackfriars1 med

There have been huge changes on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge in London since Express Newspapers vacated Ludgate House in 2004. In this view, seen from Blackfriars Road looking north towards the bridge on 9th June 2017, Ludgate House can be seen behind the bus stop. 

Opposite Ludgate House is the 170-metre high One Blackfriars skyscraper, still under construction and in the right foreground is the new headquarters of United Business Media, former owners of Express Newspapers.

Ludgate House is now boarded up ready for demolition in preparation for the huge Bankside Quarter redevelopment between the old Express HQ and the Tate Modern.



Who put the lights out?


NOTHING stopped the Daily Express in 1972, not even the miners’ strike. It was the year of constant power cuts instigated by Prime Minister Edward Heath to cope with the lack of coal to fuel the power stations. And as the clock hit 4.14 on a winter's afternoon the Express news sub-editors slaved away by gaslight. Lord Drone recalls that the gas lamps on the ceiling were still there when the Fleet Street office was vacated in 1989. 
Who’s in the picture? We put a few names to faces HERE


Farewell to Fleet Street

Fleet Street was full of journalists for the first time in many years when the London Press Club held a long lunch to mark the departure of the last newspaper from the Street of Broken Dreams. Watch the YouTube video of the event above and read the Guardian report


Only on DroneTube

Life After The Front Page

This rare and previously largely unseen film, unearthed in the annals of Lord Drone, recalls the grand old days of Fleet Street. It includes interviews with Ann Buchanan, of The Sun and Daily Mirror; Clem Jones, from the Wolverhampton Express; Eric Todd of the Manchester Evening Chronicle and The Guardian; and George Bell and Ted Townshend of the Daily Telegraph. 

The film, which was made by students of Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1999, also includes someone called Alastair McIntyre (who he – Ed?) who addresses the public from the Daily Express offices in Blackfriars. 

Runtime is 16 minutes.


ONLY on DroneTube

The Crusader Years 1900-1990

Only in the Drone: This video was supplied to Express staff in 1990 and is now published on the web for the first time. 


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© 2005-2017 Alastair McIntyre