[Update at end of post]
When Rupe flew in to Luton last week – private jet rather than EasyJet – his downmarket troops at Wapping were rumoured to be of mutinous mind, following all the recent arrests. But Murdoch didn’t get where he is today without being able to steady the ship by pulling rabbits out of the hat at the right time, and so it proved once again as he announced the Sun On Sunday.
Thus the happiest of coincidences: the shamed Screws has closed down, and so there is no problem of integrating that title’s staff into a seven day operation – think of all the ructions at the Guardian as the Observer has gradually morphed into a Sunday version of its weekday stablemate – and economies of scale can be implemented without further pain.
Moreover, just to show that it’s one operation, weekday editor Dominic Mohan will be responsible for the Sunday edition as well. So there, Richard Desmond, anything you can do cheaply, Rupe can do better. And he’ll shift more copies than you. I mean, look at the “exclusive” (ho ho ho) from the Sun, heralding a “momentous new dawn” (surely “pay day for News International”? – Ed).
Spot the real Sun front page. Is it this one ...
Martin Phillips’ article even carries a number of Sun front pages, but for some reason they do not include the one about Fat Reg From Pinner (and no rent boys), or the Hillsborough one. And the GOTCHA one is missing, but never mind – here’s a copy. Anyhow, it was “our moment” according to CEO Tom Mockridge, and Mohan called it an “historic moment”. So who’s on board?
... oh hang on a minute, it could be this one
Former Man United and Republic of Ireland player Roy Keane is one notable capture, but whether his is the “big money signing” advertised is not otherwise confirmed. And political pundit will be none other than the loathsome Toby Young, famous for promoting the so-called “Rally Against Debt” as a must-attend event, then managing to miss it.
And the exclusives kept on coming today: there’s going to be a magazine given away with the new paper! Wow, who’d have thought it for a Sunday? Nothing gets past Rupe and his troops. The new mag will be called Fabulous. Not absolutely, then. But there are more gushing comments from readers. And yet another photo of Kim Sodding Kardashian.
So how is all this different from the Screws, apart from the name? Well, not very much: the only changes are that it will cost Rupe and his troops a lot less to produce. The new title will doubtless take back market share – right now I wouldn’t want to be explaining to Dirty Des why the Daily Star Sunday’s sales are going off the cliff edge – and make the whole British operation more saleable if the Murdochs lose interest.
Win-Win for the Dirty Digger. It was ever thus.
[UPDATE 24 February 1730 hours: Rupe's downmarket troops are now pushing the Sunday edition with a bargain price tag of 50p - with the Saturday one at the same price. That won't hurt Murdoch at all - he's got deep enough pockets.
Readers are being tempted by a further mystery guest pundit, "style guru" Nancy dell'Olio (er, yes, le's move right along, shall we?), Jeremy Clarkson (ditto) and Terry Venables (Bingo!). That's a well dodgy line-up.
And there'll be Lorraine Kelly and Alex James. I can hardly wait ... to not bother going near the news stand. But enough punters will buy - each to their own]