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Paper Monitor

11:05 UK time, Monday, 4 February 2008

A service highlighting the riches the daily press.

Let's be clear about one thing: Paper Monitor has not got cleavage on its mind. But after Friday's mention of the "c" word comes today's Daily Express and its apparent determination to test that noted piece of cocktail bar wisdom, that, like the sun, cleavage can't be looked at directly (source: Friday's Paper Monitor again).

The "volunteer" for this piece of social experimentation is TV host Holly Willoughby, whom the Express has cannily spotted wearing a dress with a plunging neckline. Well, it and the several other million viewers who tuned into Saturday night's show, Dancing on Ice.

Turn to page three and look, there's a whole page of coverage – or lack of it, as the case may be – of La Willoughby ('scuse the Franglais) wearing (sharp intake of breath) other dresses with plunging necklines. Such wantonness. The last time readers will have glimpsed this state of undress was probably in a Sunday evening BBC costume drama or at a WRVS AGM or, yes, at a cocktail party.

But, hey, it's not all cynical manipulation until the cows come home. While the Express could hardly claim to have an exclusive on images that were broadcast freely into living rooms up and down the country on Saturday night, it is at least playing the celebrity flesh game without resorting to paparazzi pics. So that's "ethical", at least. And hey, they probably hadn't even considered this one iota, but re-running television grabs is also a lot cheaper.

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