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Paper Monitor

12:29 UK time, Friday, 24 April 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Laydeeez and gentlemen, WELCOME to the celebrity news knockdown challenge! It's Paper Monitor's Friday sport of choice, to be sure.

In the red corner, the reigning heavyweight champion OF THE WORLD, Lost in Showbiz, a veteran whose quill is sharpened by one of the Guardian's razor wits, Marina Hyde.

But we have a contender in the blue corner, laydeeez and gentlemen, hungry to trade blows with the champ. I give you... Celebrity Watch, coached to spill bile and lustful drool in equal measure by the Times's master of the craft, Caitlin Moran.

Both cast a gimlet eye over the comings and goings of celebrities. Lost is ever-alert for signs of the approaching apocalypse (in Biblical times it was a plague of locusts; today watch out for when Peaches shrugs). And Watch treats 'em mean, picking 10 but only granting one a full complement of column inches.

These are dirty tactics, laydeeez and gentlemen, so let the fight begin.

Ding ding! Round one.

Watch dances like a butterfly, ducking, weaving and jabbing each target.

Biff! Hugh Heffner is "the intriguing 83-year-old sexual 'iconoclast' in a dressing gown". Pow! Casting Hell's Kitchen's Marco Pierre White and Grant Bovey in "tragic TV movie Who Will Love My Children?"

But Lost counters with a sharp left hook. Is there a headline in any of today's papers that shouts "READ ME" quite as loudly as "When Paris met Chantal (the wife of the world's 19th most evil dictator)".

Watch reels onto the ropes, but comes right back with a ker-piff, describing Lady Gaga's outfit of choice as "little more than a gigantic hat and a Dolly Mixture glued to her lulu..." Zowee!

Ding ding, seconds out.

As the fighters retire to their corners, coaches Hyde and Moran dab brows with wet towels and bawl encouraging expletives into the cauliflower ears of their protégées.

Ding ding, round two.

Lost, adopting the sartorial digs tactic, describes the Cameroonian first lady - she who met Paris Hilton - as dressing "like Chaka Khan by way of the Carrington mansion". God, but the 80s were great.

Watch skitters out of reach, landing a quick one-two with "[Susan Boyle] has become a fresh stick of gum for all the Glendas of Fleet Street to chew over, now Jade's dead".

But has there ever been knock-out blows delivered with such precision as Lost's take on the Madonna-falling-from-a-horse tale? No, there has not. First she grants Steven Klein, owner of said horse, the job title of "photographer/narcissism enabler". Then Lost outlines the Queen of Pop's rehabilitation regime as "600 abdominal crunches and a couple of hours on her specially customised 13th-century rack".

She suspects a conspiracy at the heart of the accident, from which don't-call-me-Madge recovered so very quickly. "Lost in Showbiz would like both to know what efforts are being made to trace the white Fiat Uno that may have clipped the side of Steven Klein's perimeter fence, and to see the Duke of Edinburgh account for his actions on the afternoon in question."

Ow and ow.

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