Daily Express

Daily Express
Daily Express
Daily Express 2009-01-10.jpg
Front page, 19 November 2011
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner Richard Desmond
Publisher Northern and Shell Media
Editor Hugh Whittow
Founded 1900
Political alignment UKIP, Right-wing, Euroscepticism
Headquarters 10 Lower Thames Street,
London EC3R 6EN
Circulation 625,952 (July 2011)[1]
Official website


Daily Express on Twitter

The Daily Express is a daily national middle market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. It is the flagship title of Express Newspapers, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell (itself wholly owned by Richard Desmond). In July 2011 it had an average daily circulation of 625,952.[1]

Express Newspapers currently also publishes the Sunday Express (launched in 1918), Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday.



Exterior of Owen Williams' Daily Express Building in Manchester.
Exterior of Owen Williams' Daily Express Building in London.

The Daily Express was founded in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Pearson sold the title after losing his sight and it was bought in 1916 by the future Lord Beaverbrook. It was one of the first papers to carry gossip, sports, and women's features, and the first newspaper in Britain to have a crossword. The Russian communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote despatches for the paper following his expulsion from the Soviet Union in 1929.[2] It moved in 1931 to 120 Fleet Street, a specially-commissioned art deco building. Under Beaverbrook the newspaper achieved a phenomenally high circulation, setting records for newspaper sales several times throughout the 1930s.[3] Its success was partly due to an aggressive marketing campaign and a vigorous circulation war with other populist newspapers. Beaverbrook also discovered and encouraged a gifted editor named Arthur Christiansen, who showed an uncommon gift for staying in touch with the interests of the reading public. The paper also featured Alfred Bestall's Rupert Bear cartoon and satirical cartoons by Carl Giles. An infamous front page headline of these years was "Judea Declares War on Germany", published on 24 March 1933.

The Express had started printing in Manchester in 1927 and in 1938 moved to the 'Black Lubyianka' building on the same site in Great Ancoats Street. It opened a similar building in Glasgow in 1936 in Albion Street. Glasgow printing ended in 1974 and Manchester in 1989 on the company's own presses. Scottish and Northern editions are now printed by facsimile in Glasgow and Preston respectively by contract printers, London editions at Westferry Printers.

In March 1962, Beaverbrook was attacked in the House of Commons for running "a sustained vendetta" against the British Royal Family in the Express titles.[4] In the same month The Duke of Edinburgh described the Express as "a bloody awful newspaper. It is full of lies, scandal and imagination. It is a vicious paper."[5] At the height of Beaverbrook's time in control, he told a Royal Commission on the press that he ran his papers "purely for the purpose of making propaganda".[6] The arrival of television and the public's changing interests took their toll on circulation, and following Beaverbrook's death in 1964, the paper's circulation declined for several years. During this period the Express, practically alone among mainstream newspapers, was vehemently opposed to entry into what became the European Economic Community.[3]

"I run the paper for the purpose of making propaganda and with no other motive".[6]

Lord Beaverbrook, former owner.

The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers. In 1982 Trafalgar House spun off its publishing interests into a new company, Fleet Holdings, under the leadership of Lord Matthews, but this succumbed to a hostile takeover by United Newspapers in 1985. Under United's ownership, the Express titles moved from Fleet Street to Blackfriars Road in 1989. As part of a marketing campaign designed to increase circulation, the paper was renamed The Express in 1996 (with the Sunday Express becoming The Express on Sunday).

Express Newspapers was sold to publisher Richard Desmond in 2000, by which time the names had reverted to Daily Express and Sunday Express. In 2004 the newspaper moved to its present location on Lower Thames Street in the City of London.[3]

On 31 October 2005 UK Media Group Entertainment Rights secured majority interest from the Daily Express on Rupert Bear. They paid £6 million for a 66.6% control of the character. The Express Newspaper retains minority interest of one-third plus the right to publish Rupert Bear stories in certain Express publications.


In 2000, Express Newspapers was bought by Richard Desmond, publisher of a range of titles including the celebrity magazine OK!. Controversy surrounded the acquisition because, at the time, Desmond also owned a number of pornographic magazines such as Big Ones and Asian Babes.. He is still the owner of the most popular pornographic television channel in the UK, Television X. Desmond's purchase of the paper led to the departure of many staff including the then editor, Rosie Boycott, and columnist Peter Hitchens moved to The Mail on Sunday, stating that he could not morally work for a newspaper owned by a pornographer. Boycott, despite her different politics, had an unlikely respect for Hitchens.[7] Stars of old Fleet Street, like the showbiz interviewer and feature writer Paul Callan, were brought in to restore some of the journalistic weight enjoyed by the paper in its peak years.

Express Newspapers left the National Publishers Association in 2007 over unpaid fees. Since payments made to the NPA fund the Press Complaints Commission, it is possible that the Express and its sister papers could cease being regulated by the PCC. The chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, which manages PCC funds, described Express Newspapers as a "rogue publisher".[8]

The Express group lost an unusually large number of high-profile libel cases in 2008–2009; it was forced to pay damages to people involved in the Madeleine McCann case (see below), a member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, the footballer Marco Materazzi and the sports agent Willie McKay. The string of losses led the media commentator Roy Greenslade to conclude that Express Newspapers (which also publishes the Star titles) paid out more in libel damages over that period than any other newspaper group; although most of the individual amounts paid were not disclosed, the total damages were disclosed at £1,570,000.[9] Greenslade characterised Desmond as a "rogue proprietor".[9]

In late 2008, Express Newspapers began a redundancy plan to cutting 80 jobs, with the aim of reducing costs by £2.5 million; too few staff were willing to take voluntary redundancy.[10] [11] In early 2008, a previous cost-cutting exercise by the group triggered the first 24-hour national press strike in the UK for 18 years.[12] In late August 2009, plans for a further 70 redundancies were announced, affecting journalists across Express Newspapers (including the Daily and Sunday Express, the Daily Star, and the Daily Star Sunday).[13]

Also in August 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority criticised the company for running advertorials as features alongside adverts for the same products. The ASA noted that the pieces were 'always and uniquely favourable to the product featured in the accompanying ads and contained claims that have been or would be likely to be prohibited in advertisements'[14][15][16][17][18]

In January 2010, the Daily Express was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority over a front-page promotion for "free" fireworks. This led to comment that the Express has become "the Ryanair of Fleet Street", in that it is a "frequent offender" which pays little heed to the ASA's criticisms.[19]

In May 2010 Desmond announced a commitment of £100 million over the next five years to buy much-needed new equipment for the printing plants beginning with the immediate purchase of four new presses amid industry rumours that he was going to establish a new printing plant at Luton, north of London.

On 31 December 2010, the Daily Express, along with all the media titles in Desmond's Northern & Shell group were officially excluded from the Press Complaints Commission after withholding payment.[20] The chairman of PressBof, the PCC's parent organisation called this "a deeply regrettable decision"

Circulation figures according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations in September 2010 showed gross sales of its long-standing rival the Daily Mail are at 2,144,229 compared with 659,650 for the Daily Express.[1]

Sunday Express

Front page of Sunday Express, 7 May 2011

The Sunday Express was launched in 1918. It is currently edited by Martin Townsend. Its circulation in September 2011 was 680,119.[1]


John Bodkin Adams

Suspected serial killer Dr John Bodkin Adams was arrested in 1956 suspected of murdering up to 400 of his wealthy patients in Eastbourne, England.[21] The press, egged on by police leaks, unanimously declared Adams guilty, except for Percy Hoskins, chief crime reporter for the Express.[22] Hoskins was adamant that Adams was merely a naive doctor prosecuted by an overzealous detective, Herbert Hannam, who Hoskins disliked from previous cases.[22] The Express, under Hoskins' direction, was therefore the only major paper to defend Adams, causing Lord Beaverbrook to frequently question Hoskins' stance on the matter.[22] Adams was tried for the murder of Edith Alice Morrell in 1957 and found not guilty (a second count was withdrawn controversially). After the case a jubilant Beaverbrook phoned Hoskins and said: "Two people were acquitted today" – meaning Hoskins as well.[22] The Express then carried an exclusive interview with Adams, who Hoskins interviewed for two weeks after the trial in a safe house away from other newspapers. According to archives released in 2003, Adams was thought by police to have killed 163 patients.[21]


On 8 March 2009, the Scottish edition of the Sunday Express published a front page article critical of survivors of the 1996 Dunblane massacre, entitled "Anniversary Shame of Dunblane Survivors". The article criticised the by-then 18-year-old survivors for posting "shocking blogs and photographs of themselves on the internet", revealing that they drank alcohol, made rude gestures, and talked about their sex lives. The article provoked several complaints, leading to the printing of a front-page apology a fortnight later,[23] and a subsequent adjudication by the Press Complaints Commission described the article as a "serious error of judgement" and stated that "Although the editor had taken steps to resolve the complaint, and rightly published an apology, the breach of the Code was so serious that no apology could remedy it".[24]

Diana, Princess of Wales

The Daily Express has a reputation for consistently printing conspiracy theories about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales as front page news, earning it the nickname, the Daily Ex-Princess; this has been satirised in Private Eye, the newspaper being labelled the Diana Express or the Di'ly Express, and has been attributed to Desmond's close friendship with regular Eye target Mohamed Fayed.[25] For a long period in 2006 and 2007, these front-page stories would consistently appear on Mondays; this trend ceased only when the paper focused instead on the Madeleine McCann story (see below). Even on 7 July 2006, the anniversary of the London bombings (used by most other newspapers to publish commemorations) the front page was given over to Diana. This tendency was also mocked on Have I Got News for You when on 6 November 2006, the day other papers reported the death sentence given to Saddam Hussein on their front pages, the Express led with “SPIES COVER UP DIANA 'MURDER'”. According to The Independent "The Diana stories appear on Mondays because Sunday is often a quiet day."[26] In February and March 2010, the paper returned to featuring Diana stories on the front page on Mondays.

Madeleine McCann

In the second half of 2007 the Daily Express gave a large amount of coverage to the missing child Madeleine McCann. From 3 August 2007, the Express dedicated at least part of the next 100 front pages to Madeleine in a run that lasted until 10 November 2007. Of the 100, 82 of these were the main headline (often stylised by "MADELEINE" in red block capitals, plus a picture of the child).

Though the family initially said that some journalists may have "overstepped their mark" they acknowledged the benefits in keeping the case in the public eye,[27] but argued that the coverage needed to be toned down since daily headlines are not necessarily helpful.[28] However, in March 2008, the McCanns launched a libel suit against the Daily Express and its sister newspaper, the Daily Star, as well as their Sunday equivalents, following the newspapers' coverage of the case. The action concerned more than 100 stories across the four newspapers, which accused the McCanns of causing their daughter's death and covering it up.[29] One immediate consequence of the action was that Express Newspapers pulled all references to Madeleine from its websites.[30]

In a settlement reached at the High Court of Justice, the newspapers agreed to run a front-page apology to the McCanns on 19 March 2008, publish another apology on the front pages of the Sunday editions of 23 March and make a statement of apology at the High Court. The newspapers also agreed to pay costs and substantial damages, which the McCanns said they would use to fund the search for their daughter.[29]Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade said it was "unprecedented" for four major newspapers to offer front-page apologies, but also said that it was more than warranted given that the papers had committed "a substantial libel" that shamed the entire British press.[31] Craig Silverman of Regret the Error argued that given how many of the stories appeared on the front page, anything less than a front page apology would have been "unacceptable."[32]

In its apology, the Express stated that "a number of articles in the newspaper have suggested that the couple caused the death of their missing daughter Madeleine and then covered it up. We acknowledge that there is no evidence whatsoever to support this theory and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance."[33] This was followed in October by an apology and payout (forwarded to the fund again) to a group who had become known as the "Tapas Seven" in relation to the case.[34]

"Muslim Plot to kill Pope"

The issue published on Saturday 18 September 2010 gave very prominent front page headlines to a story that stated that "islamic terrorists" working under the guise of "bogus street cleaners [had] allegedly hatched an audacious plot to blow up the pope". The plot, which the Express revealed had been foiled by a police raid at the "11th hour" was said to involve "plotters with links to Al Qaeda [who] planned 'a double blow to the infidel′ by assassinating the head of the Roman Catholic church and slaughtering hundreds of pilgrims and well-wishers." The Express further alleged "An investigation is also under way to determine if the foreign nationals had entered Britain legally and were entitled to work here."[35] The six street cleaners arrested by the counter-terrorism police were said to be "no credible threat" and were released without charge the same day. In very small font on page nine of their issue for Sunday 19th, the Express noted that the men had been released.[36]


Daily Express

Sunday Express

1920: James Douglas
1928: James Douglas and John Gordon
1931: John Gordon
1952: Harold Keeble
1954: John Junor
1986: Robin Esser
1989: Robin Morgan
1991: Eve Pollard
1994: Brian Hitchen
1995: Sue Douglas
1996: Richard Addis
1998: Amanda Platell
1999: Michael Pilgrim
2001: Martin Townsend

Notable columnists



Political allegiance

With the exception of the 2001 general election, when it backed the Labour Party, the newspaper has declared its support for the Conservative Party at every general election since World War II.

'Crusade for Freedom'

This is the newspaper's own campaign to give the people of the United Kingdom the opportunity to add their names to a petition addressed to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in favour of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. Each edition of the 8 January 2011 has four cut-out vouchers where readers can sign the pledge and send them to the papers HQ where the petition will be compiled, there are to be further editions with the same voucher included. The campaign has attracted the support of many celebrities including; sportsman/TV personality Sir Ian Botham and Chairman of J D Wetherspoon Tim Martin who both gave interviews for 8 January's special edition of the paper. The first week of the campaign saw a response of around 370,000 signatures being received (just over 50% of daily readership or around 0.6% of the UK Population). UK Independence Party officials often appear in the paper including the party's leader Nigel Farage.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "ABCs". The Guardian (UK). 12 August 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2011/aug/12/abcs-national-newspapers. Retrieved 24 September 2011.  (July 2011)
  2. ^ "CPGB: Trotsky the Temporary Bolshevik Exposed". Marxists Internet Archive. http://www.marxists.org/archive/murphy-jt/1929/03/08.htm. Retrieved 13 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Daily Express: A chequered history". BBC. 25 January 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/974835.stm. 
  4. ^ "'Vendetta against Royal Family': M.P. criticizes Lord Beaverbrook", The Times, London, 21 March 1962, p.5.
  5. ^ "Royalty's Recourse", Time, New York, 30 March 1962.
  6. ^ a b "Popular Newspapers during World War II". Adam Matthew Publications. Archived from the original on Aug, 28, 2006. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20060828075914/http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Resources/Books/adammatthew5.html. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "If Winston Churchill was Britain's bulldog, then Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express and Sunday Express were surely his bark. His papers were always bright, lively and fiercely patriotic, and Beaverbrook had no qualms in telling a Royal Commission on the Press that he used them "purely for the purpose of making propaganda"." 
  7. ^ Peter Hitchens "Everything you write is complete ****," she says, "but I like you", New Statesman, 18 December 2000. Retrieved on 19 March 2008.
  8. ^ "'Rogue publisher' Richard Desmond in fallout with PCC". Press Gazette (Wilmington Business Information). 24 March 2009. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=43409&c=1. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (11 February 2009). "Libel pay-outs show why Desmond is a rogue proprietor". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/feb/11/richarddesmond-dailyexpress. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Brook, Stephen (10 October 2008). "More than 80 jobs to go in Express cull". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/10/dailyexpress.richarddesmond. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  11. ^ Luft, Oliver (6 March 2009). "Express Newspapers looks for fresh savings as it misses redundancy target". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/06/express-newspapers-looks-for-savings. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  12. ^ Brook, Stephen (4 April 2009). "Desmond braves Express picket line". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/04/dailyexpress.dailystar. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  13. ^ Laura Oliver. "Northern & Shell to axe 70 journalists from [http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/700385 Express] and Star titles". Journalism.co.uk. http://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/535630.php. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Sweney, Mark (12 August 2009). "ASA raps Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers over advertorials". The Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/12/express-newspapers-advertorials-richard-desmond-asa. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "ASA Adjudications : Express Newspapers and Goldshield Ltd". ASA. 12 August 2009. http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_46700.htm. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "ASA Adjudications : Express Newspapers and Orthotics Online Ltd". ASA. 12 August 2009. http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_46733.htm. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "ASA Adjudications : Express Newspapers and LadyCare Lifetime Ltd". ASA. 12 August 2009. http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_46734.htm. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  18. ^ Stephen Brook and agencies (19 August 2009). "Express censured for fourth time in two weeks over undeclared advertorials, The Guardian, 19 August 2009". Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/19/asa-daily-express-advertorial. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Brook, Stephen (27 January 2010). "Dailt Express is the Rynair of Fleet Street, Greenslade Blog, guardian.co.uk, 27 January 2010". Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2010/jan/27/express-banned-advertising-desmond. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Greenslade, Roy (11 January 2011). "Desmond's papers excluded from system of press self-regulation". The Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2011/jan/11/richard-desmond-pcc. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  21. ^ a b Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9
  22. ^ a b c d Two Men Were Acquitted: The trial and acquittal of Doctor John Bodkin Adams, Secker & Warburg, 1984
  23. ^ "Dunblane: We're Sorry". Sunday Express. 22 March 2009. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/90417. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "PCC upholds complaints over Sunday Express Dunblane feature" (Press release). Press Complaints Commission. 6 July 2009. http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/index.html?article=NTc5Mg==. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  25. ^ For instance in the "Hackwatch" column of Private Eye #1174, 19 December 2006.
  26. ^ The Independent interview with Peter Hill 20 February 2006
  27. ^ "From Victims to Villains". ABC News. 12 September 2007. http://abcnews.go.com/International/Story?id=3587167&page=4. 
  28. ^ "I don’t think necessarily having newspaper headlines with the image of Madeleine being thrust on to people every single day helps. Clearly we have seen irresponsible reporting.". Sunday Herald. 26 August 2007. http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1644291.0.i_dont_think_necessarily_having_newspaper_headlines_with_the_image_of_madeleine_being_thrust_on_to_people_every_single_day_helps_clearly_we_have_seen_irresponsible_reporting.php. 
  29. ^ a b "Damages due over McCann stories". BBC News. 18 March 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7303801.stm. 
  30. ^ Leigh Holmwood (13 March 2008). "Express titles cut back McCann coverage". The Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/13/pressandpublishing.dailyexpress. Retrieved 17 March 2008. 
  31. ^ Greenslade, Roy. Express and Star apologies to McCanns bring all journalism into disrepute. The Guardian, 19 March 2008.
  32. ^ Silverman, Craig. Daily Express, Daily Star issue front page apologies, pay damages. Regret the Error, 19 March 2008.
  33. ^ "Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry". Daily Express (UK). 19 March 2008. http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/38490. 
  34. ^ Libel payout for McCann friends 16 October 2008,BBC NEWS
  35. ^ Twomey, John; David Pilditch and Nathan Rao. "Muslim plot to kill Pope". Daily Express. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/200262/Muslim-plot-to-kill-Pope. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  36. ^ Palmer, Richard. "The Pope speaks of Nazi agony". Daily Express. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/200595/The-Pope-speaks-of-Nazi-agony. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 

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