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Paper Monitor

13:14 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

No need to apologise for tardiness on this occasion, Paper Monitor was merely holding back details of the Daily Mirror's interview with Julie Walters for readers who otherwise would be enjoying their daily porridge ration. (NB Paper Monitor strenuously denies all rumours of a hangover after yesterday's festivities.)

"I've been having hot flushes for eight years but it hasn't hurt my sex life!"

For those who haven't guessed, this is no ordinary, superficial sleb interview - rather, the theme is auntie Julie's menopause. "It started then and grew to ginormous proportions. And at night it was terrible - I have never felt so hot."

As if that wasn't enough, flicking back a few pages, to p10, the paper presents us with a full-page diagrammatic "truth about your body clock" feature, "as science shows that dads become less fertile too".

Which is fair enough, until, four pages further on, we're presented with "veteran rocker Rick Parfitt (59) proudly [showing] off his baby twins".

It's all a bit unsettling - a response Daily Mail readers may be able to understand should they decide to get into the nitty-gritty of today's leader column.

Typically portrayed as a bastion of right-wing reactionary-dom, one might expect the Mail to sign up wholeheartedly to the idea, mooted by David Cameron, for example, that anyone caught carrying a knife ought to face a mandatory jail term. Not so, it seems. The Mail accepts there are "no easy answers" in this matter and that banging up youths with knives would be a "sure way of criminalising them for life".

Then there's the Mail's take on the idea that Shakespeare - a name always invoked by traditionalists in the teaching world - should be taught to six-year-olds. It's about as far as you can get from namby, pamby modern teaching methods. So surely the Mail's on board on this one...

Again, no. "The Bard has a place in education" the paper says, but couldn't it wait a few years while "our children enjoy their all too precious years of innocence".

All of which is enough to bring Paper Monitor out in something of a hot flush of its own.

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