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Paper Monitor

13:23 UK time, Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor wasn't remotely surprised to wake up this morning to news that Britain's middle-aged are the most depressed in the country, according to a "Happiness" report commissioned by the PM. (Prime minister, that is. Not Paper Monitor. Or indeed Radio 4's PM).

Your humble correspondent often reflects wistfully upon the heady days of youth. Or looks forward to the twilight years, when the papers will finally be hung up for the last time and the quill put down; the ink-stained hands turned to horticulture and haute cuisine. 

For now, Paper Monitor should just be grateful not to be living in Thurrock, says the Guardian. More specifically, not to be a divorced, middle-aged machine-operative living in Thurrock. 

But having read the Times, watch this column for news that the Monitor's next missive has been filed from the Shetland Islands - officially one of "the happiest places in Britain".

Meanwhile, we understand that a noble scion of the house of Hollywood is soon to join these shores to take up the mantle of the English aristocracy. 

Dame Shirley MacLaine is reportedly the latest in a string of luminaries to grace the Downton Abbey screen, joining the likes of Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith.  

That paper of record, the Sun, reports that MacLaine has made the somewhat startling revelation that she and Dame Maggie were once lovers (in a previous life, she addends, but offers precious little detail.)

Which could explain the stage fright reported by the Daily Star

"Downton Abbey's actors were so starstruck when they filmed with Shirley MacLaine they almost forgot their words."

Downton Abbey was very much in our mind as we flicked through the Daily Mail and happened upon a stricture against incorrect sleeve lengths sported in the presence of her Majesty.

This "cuff clanger" occurred when four prime ministers, past and present, appeared in her royal presence apparently needing some attention from their valets.

Paper Monitor can't help but sigh, remove a barely visible greying hair from one's suit-shoulder and reach for a copy of Debretts.

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