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Paper Monitor

12:25 UK time, Thursday, 24 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

With the Darwin verdict in, the papers are unbridled from legal restrictions and free to show off everything they've amassed on "Mr Canoe" and his wife since the story first broke at the end of 2007.

The Daily Mail devotes four pages to the extraordinary story, including a chunk of text from reporter Natalie Clark whose bizarre byline reads "who spent an extraordinary few days with Anne Darwin last year after the Mail tracked her down to Panama".

Ms Clarke relays how she too became an unwitting victim of Mrs Darwin's lies, when the latter used an interview at the time to tell her how shocked and surprised she was to discover her husband was alive.

There's no mention of this, but if Paper Monitor's memory serves it well, that "exclusive" Mail interview was somewhat trumped on the day by the Daily Mirror's exclusive picture of the Darwins sporting Cheshire cat grins as they posed for the camera in their Panama estate agent's office.

Aside from the main story, there's of course comment and speculation about the effect the couple's deception has had on their grown-up sons.

Fair point, but any progress Darwins Junior may have made in recent months would surely be offset by the effect of reading some of the e-mail exchanges between their parents, reproduced in the Mail.

In one, subject lined: "Nude and in the mood for love", Mr D just hopes "the mosquitos or other bugs don't bite or at least not in a certain place... don't want it all lumpy lol".

Over at the Mirror, Paper Monitor is lamenting the end of what had been a lucrative line in canoe puns - the apogee of which was the paper's "Canoe's this in Panama?" when it published said infamous picture.

The baton seems to have been picked up by the Sun at least, with "Canoe wants to be a millionaire" and its inspired front page headline "Shock and oar".

But one aspect that seems to have been consistently overlooked by the headline writers is the couple's surname. Surely there's some aspect for creative licence there. Yet the qualities fail this test. Not even a backgrounder on their deception entitled "Darwins' origins of specious".

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