Ex-News of the World reporter Roy Stockdill on Gentlemanranters tells the story behind one of the paper's most famous headlines and reveals it could have been even more bizarre.
He recalls: "The 15-word, four-deck header, sprawling right across a five-column broadsheet page, appeared above a story written by Ron Mount, one of the paper's veteran foot-in-the-door men.
"It had all the elements of a Whitehall farce and starred the welfare services chief of a large London borough who was a practising naturist and walked round his home in the buff. His wife, a part-time model, had had an extra-marital relationship with a gentleman of Oriental extraction who did indeed work in a Co-op bacon factory and was an amateur hypnotist and therapist in his spare time.
"The nudist welfare chief had actually encouraged his wife's friendship with her Chinese paramour in the belief that he was treating her for problems in their marriage – until, that is, one day he climbed into the loft, drilled a hole in the bedroom ceiling and observed his good lady and the hypnotist indulging in some practical therapy on the bed below."
Stockdill also reveals: "The one fact the otherwise admirable headline omitted was that the welfare chief had managed to get up into his loft despite having two artificial legs, so he was actually a legless nudist welfare man… Unfortunately, the sub later admitted, he couldn't work the word ‘legless’ into the headline for lack of space."
Let's see: "Legless Nudist Welfare Man’s Model Wife Fell For The Chinese Hypnotist From The Co-op Bacon Factory". That's even better and a rival to the New York Post's classic: "Headless Man Found in Topless Bar".
Saturday Seven Up
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