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Paper Monitor

12:32 UK time, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Never mind the myth of record debt, dearest Magazine, Paper Monitor is more concerned at this juncture in the day with the myth of the non-iron shirt/blouse (note sartorial gender neutrality).

Moving on. It's rare that the Guardian and the Daily Mail show a united front when it comes to giving page one exposure to a story of little national consequence. But it seems that a cri de coeur from Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips has further inflamed what Mrs Merton was wont to call a "heated debate".

At the centre of the controversy is former BBC political correspondent John Sergeant, who despite being not a very good dancer has avoided ejection from this contest which, ostensibly, sets out to find good celebrity dancers.

Ostensibly, because, really if this show was just about dancing and not about personality, then why doesn't it just draw its contestants from the morass of non-celebrities out there? Because then no one would watch it, of course.

What Ms Phillips and her irked colleagues fail to appreciate is the British public's glorious bloodymindedness when they feel they are being pressed into a corner. Vote for another grinning, pearly-toothed, lusciously tanned, nimble-footed generi-celeb? No thanks - we'll have the "dancing pig".

Paper Monitor is reminded of the popular mandate given to H'Angus the Monkey, when the government thought it would be a good idea to have locally-elected mayors.

So the coverage accorded to Ms Phillips' comments on the fronts of the Mail and Guardian (the latter, it should be said because Ms Phillips accuses Sergeant of sitting around and reading the Guardian), not to mention the Daily Express, look destined to endear Mr Sergeant to the public even more.

Metro exhibits a similar streak of reality TV ennui (cri de coeur, ennui, get with the French, readers) by staging an Independent-style campaigning front page contrasting contestants eating bugs in I'm a Celebrity... with a boy in Zimbabwe who is subject to a similar diet.

"Sometimes the injustice of this world really sticks in your throat" runs the headline. Wow, it's a bit early in the series to be burning bridges with the I'm a Celebrity publicists. But principles come above all else, right Metro?

Turn to page 15 "First bungle in the jungle as I'm a Celebrity star asks... will eating testicles make me pregnant? Nicola McLean feared she could be pregnant..."


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