Newspaper review: America votes, 'Alcatraz' jailbreak and Jimmy Young

As the US presidential race reaches its final stretch, the papers reflect the tense state of the race for the White House.

The Times reports that a surge in early voters has given Hillary Clinton an advantage over Donald Trump - but the vote is too close to call.

"From the Democratic suburbs of Chicago to staunchly Republican rural Oklahoma, states that allow early voting have recorded record turnouts - a phenomenon expected to give Hillary Clinton the edge," it says.

"The Democratic candidate went into polling day with a three-point lead over Mr Trump, according to an average of recent national polls by the Real Clear Politics website, meaning that the battle to become America's 45th president remained too close to rule out a Brexit-style upset."

The Times continues: "Both candidates have a credible route to achieving the 270 electoral college votes needed, but Mr Trump's leaves no room for error because Democrats dominate the most populous states, such as California and New York.

"The billionaire must claim key battleground states, but he is trailing in several.

"However, the Democrats are worried about Mrs Clinton's weakness across the rust belt of the Midwest, where her rival's populist message has shown signs of gaining traction.

"Polling in the two most crucial swing states, Florida and North Carolina, put the candidates neck and neck."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The first presidential election day votes were cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire

The Guardian concurs, saying that Democrats gained a late confidence boost as a final series of national opinion polls confirmed a "small but steady" lead for Mrs Clinton.

"Early voting numbers point already to a record turnout among Latino voters stirred into action by Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric, boosting Clinton's chances," it says.

"But the continued risk of an upset that would send shockwaves around the world was underlined by state-level polling suggesting several possible paths to victory also remain for Trump."

According to the i, the world is holding it breath as the US votes.

Mrs Clinton has a poll lead, says the paper, but Mr Trump is confident of victory.

The Financial Times notes that the dollar surged and US equities rallied on the last full day of campaigning as investors grew more confident of a Clinton victory.

This, the paper continues, came despite polls that showed her with only the narrowest of leads over Republican rival Mr Trump.

"The rally came at the end of a ferocious race that has deeply divided the US and alarmed its allies as Mr Trump stirred up raw populist sentiments and Mrs Clinton campaigned under the shadow of a federal investigation," says the FT.

"Despite the two being the most unpopular nominees in modern history, they continued to draw big crowds.

"Swing state polling indicates that the race is tightest in New Hampshire and Nevada, and the heavyweight states of Florida and North Carolina."


'On the run'

In other news, the papers are keen to liken the escape from Pentonville Prison in London by two men, named by police as James Whitlock and Matthew Baker, to the film Escape From Alcatraz.

The Sun says Whitlock and Baker stuffed their beds with pillows to convince jailers that they were asleep in their beds as they fled the prison.

According to the Mirror: "Matthew Baker and James Whitlock copied Clint Eastwood's character in Escape From Alcatraz. A source said: 'No-one can believe it'."

Police warned the public not to approach them.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Two men escaped from HMP Pentonville in north London

The Times reports: "Two prisoners were on the run last night after leaving home-made dummies in their beds and cutting their way out of their cell.

"They had put dummies made of sheets and pillows in their beds before using either diamond-tipped cutting equipment or an electric saw to cut through bars of their cell on the 5th floor of G wing.

"The men used a rope thought to have been made from sheets to drop down the 20ft wall and flee. It is thought that they were met by accomplices and driven away."

The Telegraph says a source told the paper that the incident had raised questions about whether the prisoners had been helped by someone both inside the prison, such as a member of staff, and outside.

The Guardian says the incident triggered a stark warning from prison governors that worse is to come.


'Housewives' favourite'

There are tributes in the press to veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young who has died aged 95.

The Times leads the way, saying: "The broadcaster, who spent 29 years at Radio 2, was a favourite of Margaret Thatcher who appeared on his show 14 times.

"He was one of the original DJs at the launch of Radio 1 in 1967, moving to Radio 2 in 1973 to take the lunchtime slot where he stayed until December 2002."

The Telegraph recalls: "His catchphrases, such as 'what's the recipe today, Jim?' and 'Orft we jolly well go', became famous.

"He went on to front the early afternoon slot on Radio 2. The Queen was said to be among his listeners, and he had interviewed every prime minister during his time at the station."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jimmy Young: "Pop star and DJ legend"

The Mail dubs him the "voice of middle England" and a "gentleman".

"Sir Jimmy, for decades one of the most-recognised and best-loved voices on the BBC, died peacefully at home with his wife Alicia by his side on Monday afternoon," it says.

"His gentle but incisive questioning earning him the respect of politicians from every party."

The Express hails him as a "pop star and DJ legend".

The Express says Sir Jimmy, a columnist for the paper until 2014, was the original "housewives' favourite", but could also count royalty and prime ministers among his listeners.


Dead Sea Tapes

Finally, irreverent sketches made by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore about the life of Jesus Christ have surfaced.

Image caption Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Behind The Fridge

As the Times explains: "For more than 50 years the series of recordings that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore made while on tour in America have been the stuff of legend - lost comic masterpieces that vanished before they ever saw the light of day.

"All anyone knew of The Dead Sea Tapes was that they purported to be the reminiscences of acquaintances of Jesus Christ that had somehow never made it into the Bible, and were deemed unsuitable for broadcast because of concerns about the blasphemy laws.

"Now they have resurfaced again after being discovered in a box of tapes in Cook's old home in Hampstead, north London.

"They were unearthed by the writer and television producer Victor Lewis-Smith when he was going through Cook's belongings while researching a documentary about him."