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Paper Monitor

09:24 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor often wonders what goes through the minds of entertainment reporters on a Sunday.

It must be a weekly struggle to regurgitate what was on telly on Saturday evening and present it as fresh, exciting news to send papers flying off the shelves on a Monday morning.

Most fall back on the British public's seemingly insatiable appetite to read anything, however trivial, about Cheryl Cole.

"The dimpled smile remains - but there were growing fears yesterday that Cheryl Cole's popularity may be fading faster than her fake tan," reports a cattier-than-Bagpuss Danielle Gusmaroli in the Daily Mirror.

She says the Girls Aloud star had such an orange hue that many viewers, apparently, compared her to an Oompa-Loompa from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

The Daily Star has even more grave news for the Geordie favourite, reporting that: "Tormented Cheryl wrecks X Factor."

A public backlash against Ms Cole's decision to pick Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel over Gamu Nhengu resulted in the show losing 3m viewers.

Mind you, with 13.8m people still tuning in, Paper Monitor suspects the ITV1 bosses will not be too troubled.

While someone as photogenic as Ms Cole - whatever her skin tones - is always likely to shift copies, not all assignments must be so easy.

So, every once in a while, Paper Monitor just has to sit back and applaud one of those masterpieces of modern journalism that just make you think "I wish I'd thought of that."

Such a moment was provided by page three of today's Daily Express.

Straight-talking former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe would probably be the first to admit she's not the most graceful of movers.

But it hasn't stopped her from proving a hit with viewers of that other Saturday night staple, Strictly Come Dancing.

A photo of dance partner Anton Du Beke smiling - or is that a grimace? - as he twirls the 63-year-old, blue dress billowing around her, during their salsa routine fills most of the page.

And while the pair's efforts were panned by the show's judges, Ms Widdecombe has undoubtedly captured the imagination of the public in a way that would make even John Sergeant jealous.

So, capitalising on this sudden surge of support, the Express presents the other side of the politician - as a style guru.

It notes she has "changed her image more often than Madonna" and compares her various hair styles to those of singers Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry, actress Joanna Lumley, Posh Spice and even Cheryl Cole.

Journalistic gold, considers Paper Monitor, although it's a treat denied to the Express's online version.

Ms Widdecombe might be an Express columnist but even in its rival, the Daily Mail, Claudia Connell can't resist waxing lyrical about her talents.

"We were treated to a salsa that was about as sexy as a wet kipper, as raunchy as a morris dance and, for all that, still possibly the most entertaining thing ever seen on TV."

High praise, indeed.

However, not everyone was so taken with the performance.

"It's in danger of becoming a pantomime," moaned DJ Goldie, who was voted off by viewers, in the Sun.

He reportedly complained that the show was becoming more about entertainment than dancing talent.

Paper Monitor suspects that - unlike the press - he may be missing the point.

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