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Paper Monitor

12:39 UK time, Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

While enduring an episode of the most talked about children's programme de jour, In the Night Garden, the appearance of the alien-like character Makka Pakka set Paper Monitor's mind drifting. Here's one rich seam of punnage that seems to have been woefully overlooked in the whole Mills-McCartney fallout.

"MUCCA TELLS MACCA PACK-HER IN" (Heather tells Paul to… oh you get the idea…) Anyway that was last week's story. But anyone looking for further evidence of the press's enduring fascination with the Beatles need look no further than today's front pages, which carry news of the death of Neil Aspinall.

You'd be forgiven for never having heard the name before, so the Daily Mirror is one of those to put it in context thus: "Macca weeps for 5th Beatle".

Others include the Times with "Accountant who was 'fifth Beatle' dies"; the Daily Mail with "Sir Paul in mourning as the 'fifth Beatle' dies aged 66 " and the Independent, which shows a disturbing pack mentality with "Neil Aspinall, the 'fifth Beatle', dies aged 66".

Paper Monitor doesn't want to sound churlish, but how many others closely associated with the Fab Four have been labelled the "fifth Beatle"?

There's Beatles' producer Sir George Martin, ex-drummer Pete Best, ex-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. Perhaps one of the few people qualified to pronounce on such matters is journalist and the Beatles' only authorised biographer, Hunter Davies. Luckily he's signed up to the Guardian and has written front page piece today. So, is Hunter prepared to pronounce on whether Aspinall was worthy of this great title? Unfortunately, no.

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