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Paper Monitor

11:01 UK time, Monday, 24 December 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

No sign of the papers slimming down for Christmas Eve, or any flicker of festive cordiality between the tabloids.

alesha_pa203.jpgThe interview they all wanted is with Alesha Dixon (right), winner of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, and the scrap between them for her story is an illuminating one.

The Sun, which can usually outbid its rivals, is victorious, devoting the front and a double-page inside to its "STRICTLY SAVED MY LIFE" scoop.

As is usual practice among the losers, the Mirror, Mail and the Express steal the quotes but only the Mirror - which probably lays claim to the story that Jesus was born in Bethlehem - has the audacity to put it on page three and slap "exclusive" on it.

The only photo it has of Alesha that's not from the show is one with her head turned, as if being driven away in a car trailed by unwanted photographers. Not the usual kind of shot from a cosy tete-a-tete holed up with a reporter.

So far, so strictly desperate, but the Mirror compounds its temerity by relegating its genuine exclusive to page 22.

On his 50th birthday, Shane McGowan is in good spirits, and reveals not only that he started drinking when he was four - "Ribena turned to stout" - but that he will have his teeth fixed next year.

The Mail and Express have their own Alesha showdown over how much she'll make in the coming year.

"ALESHA SET TO MAKE £5M" says the Mail front page. "DANCE CHAMP ALESHA SET TO EARN £10M" says the Express front.

Their source is Max Clifford, although there's no quote to support the figures. A classic case of think-of-a-number. Then double it.

But let's break for Christmas on a more constructive note and a nod to the witty subs. The stories are the Queen on YouTube (right) and bad weather. The headlines...

WHITE MISTMAS - Sun (near-miss)
MIST FLIGHTS - Mirror (hit)
ONE'S TUBE - Sun (hit)
ONETUBE - Guardian (near-miss)
HER ROYAL iNESS - Mirror (near-miss)

Many happy returns.

PS. Chris Martin has bought three Henry vacuum cleaners in John Lewis, says the Mirror. One for himself and two more as gifts. Perhaps his loved ones should read today's Magazine lead on what to say on opening an unglamorous gift.

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