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Paper Monitor

12:14 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Happy birthday G2. The Guardian's daily standalone features tabloid today celebrates 20 years in existence by giving itself a rather large pat on the back.

As editor Alan Rusbridger - who launched the section - notes, the product had a major impact on the newspaper industry.

The Independent and The Times launched their own equivalents within months of G2's arrival, and newspapers across Europe followed suit.

But G2 was not entirely novel. Pass Notes, for instance, was pinched from the short-lived Sunday Correspondent, Rusbridger says.

And not everyone on the paper was pleased to see this new arrival in 1992. Many feared the tabloid format was a sign the Guardian was dumbing down. One member of staff wrote a scornful memo "lamenting that the Guardian could have come to this dark moment in its history".

Elsewhere, the paper pulls out a selection of its best interviews (Thora Hird on discovering the body of her late husband: "It's a terrible thing to say, only God understands me very, very well - the first thing I thought was, 'Why are your shoes cleaner than anyone else's?'"), columns (Germaine Greer on sharing a bed with Fellini: "He changed into the brown silk pyjamas with cream piping that he had brought in his little overnight bag, and hung his clothes up carefully for the next day"), and other assorted features (Nancy Banks-Smith: "In EastEnders (BBC One), any minor crisis - fire, pestilence, the sword - calls for a nice cup of tea. For the apocalypse, add biscuits").

In addition - perhaps to remind us why the section is not quite everyone's cup of tea - there is a selection of G2 "stunts". Paper Monitor recalls reading about G2 gonzo specialist/whipping boy Tim Dowling digging a World War I trench in his back garden and feeling particularly nonplussed.

But few can doubt the significance of the supplement in reshaping newspapers. Many happy returns.

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