One in the Eye


From Private Eye 29th January 1971

Fleet Street's roving correspondents were startled recently to be rushed off to Cuba. Brian Vine of the Daily Express's New York office had apparently discovered the whereabouts of the Canadian kidnappers and had even observed them washing their babies' nappies.

The correspondents arrived to find that the hideout was a deserted girls high school and that there was not a kidnapper in sight.

Before they could get back to Havana and have it out with Vine, he had written another story saying that he was about to be deported and was being fed on a diet of fish and rice.

Some weeks later a package arrived in the London offices of the Daily Express. It had been airfreighted from Cuba, via Prague, and inside were two shirts and a bill for £41. A note said that the bill was for laundry and air freight of the shirts, which Mr Vine had left behind him in the room of Comrade Maria Diaz at the Hotel Havana Libre.

The hotel menu on the night before Mr Vine flew back to New York included fish and rice.

From Private Eye 21st January 1966

PAUSE FOR A SMILE: The circulation of the Daily Express is now reliably reported to be approximately in the vicinity of 3,800,000 – the lowest figure since the war.

From Private Eye 19th February 1966

The Daily Express excelled even itself with its absurd moon picture scoop. But readers would be wrong to think that its astonishing self-adulation was simply a coolly-calculated publicity stunt.

The atmosphere at the Express was one of hysterical joy. And the Editor, Derek Marks, never one to disguise his emotions, went into a delirious seventh heaven. More phlegmatic members of staff were astonished when later in the day a special notice went up on the board.

It consisted of the St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V: ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers’ and was signed by the Editor.

Even those accustomed to the excesses of the Daily Express thought that this might be construed as ‘overdoing it a bit’.