Andrew Morton, from features sub to fame

BOB CUMMINGS remembers Andrew Morton, pictured, who was a features sub on the Daily Star in Manchester before going on to find fame with his books about Princess Diana.

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There weren’t many people working at Ancoats Express Building who went on to be household names. Derek Jameson became a Radio Two DJ of course and Roy Greenslade has a certain amount of fame - at least among fellow journalists. However, Andy Morton was once seemingly never far from the media due to his controversial book written about and with the help of Lady Diana Spencer.

Andy Morton’s similarity in appearance to Clark Kent, alias Superman, was stunning. Tall, bespectacled and with a mop of straight black hair, he once appeared in a feature in the Star inside a telephone box to complete the Marvel Comics scenario. 

Apart from the Diana books he has gone on to write biographies on people as diverse as Tom Cruise and Monica Lewinsky. One reviewer of the Tom Cruise unauthorised biography praised Andy for ‘constructing a 250-page gossip column’. Obviously the time spent on Daily Star Features desk was not wasted.

His demeanour towards the composing room staff reminded me of the way my headmaster, Brother Cyril, used to talk to the groundsman, Bates - not a meeting of social equals. I thought at the time that he must have been the product of a minor public school but I found out from Wikipedia he was a grammar school boy like myself. 

I remember once on the stone, one of the comps, Sid Lloyd, who had a severe chest condition, was struggling. Usually in winter his bronchitis would get considerably worse and resulted in coughing fits that could last for several minutes. I remember Andy Morton coming down on to the stone in the middle of one of these occasions, muttering “good grief, it’s like something out of Cancer Ward down here”. A reference to the famous book of the time written by Solzhenitsyn – not the most sympathetic remarks I have ever heard but no doubt indicative of the hard-nosed personality necessary for the stardom he achieved. Odd how some of these events lodge in your memory and just won’t go away.


© 2005-2018 Alastair McIntyre