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Paper Monitor

11:01 UK time, Wednesday, 11 April 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Day seven of the Iran captives' release ordeal, and finally the story has been bumped off the front pages... make that front page singular as even the Mirror had demoted it to the inside pages by yesterday. The Sun, however, is determined to get every bang possible for its rumoured hundred-thousand bucks and yesterday's Paper Monitor could hardly contain its excitement at the prospect of leading ex-captive seaman Faye Turney hooking up with John Nichol, who was also held captive in Iran, only it was actually Iraq; for 13 days, only it was six weeks; and wasn't tortured, only he was.

They must have had so much in common to talk about – not that you'd think so from reading the Sun's write-up, which is mostly devoted to Ms Turney's decision to "face her demons" and "RETURN" to Gulf duty.

Mr Nichol does, however, absolve Turney of any guilt she may be harbouring – stoked, no doubt, by those papers which failed to bag her exclusive – about agreeing to appear on Iranian TV.

But just when it looked like the whole story was about to taper off into tabloid oblivion, the Sun delivers a timely reminder of what makes it such a treasured organ of HM Press: a chance to "WIN Ahmadine-jacket". Yup, one of those freebie suits the Iranians packed the captives off with is up for grabs; just a premium-rate phone call away, if, that is, you can also crack this Enigma-like riddle: "What is the capital of Iran?"

All this ignores the fact that Sun does have what looks like a genuine exclusive on its hands – its front page splash that ITV is to bring back the News at Ten with Sir Trevor McDonald. ITV officially denies the story yet Paper Monitor can't help but wonder whether the tabloid's newshounds picked up the story as part of the joint deal it struck with ITV to buy up Faye Turney.

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