Newspaper headlines: Boris Johnson's Brexit deal balances 'on a knife edge'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves from the rear of 10 Downing Street Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boris Johnson likened the Brexit talks to climbing Everest, saying the summit was "not far" but still surrounded by "cloud"

The front pages are dominated by the ongoing negotiations in Brussels.

"Brexit on a knife edge" is the headline for both the Times and the Daily Mirror, which reports that Boris Johnson's plans for a new deal are "hanging in the balance".

The Guardian says the prime minister is engaged in a "last-minute scramble" as he tries to secure the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Other papers choose similar language to reflect the scale of the challenge facing Mr Johnson.

The Daily Telegraph has an unusual headline: "Brexit is like the Shawshank Redemption... but now we can see the light".

It is a quote from comments Boris Johnson made to his cabinet yesterday - where he compared the process of leaving the EU to a film about a prisoner who escapes jail by crawling through a sewer.

For the Financial Times, he's fighting "an uphill battle" as he tries to win support not just from the DUP but also from hardline Brexiteers in his own party.

Boris Johnson "would prefer to govern in poetry" says the FT, but yesterday he was given a stark reminder that he had "no alternative but to govern in prose".

The i newspaper says there's "deadlock" - just hours before a crucial EU summit.

The Daily Mail agrees that the DUP "could still scupper" his chances - but after "1,210 days of dithering, delay and doom" the paper thinks Mr Johnson is now "tantalisingly close" to getting an agreement.

For the Daily Express he's closing in on a deal "against all the odds"

But according to the Sun, the DUP have indicated that they could hold out for months.

A party source has told the paper that "they're ready to play the long game" with the real deadline set for next summer when the EU will sign off its next budget. The headline: "Stuck in the muddle with EU."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption DUP leader Arlene Foster wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that there "needs to be a sensible deal which unionists and nationalists can support"

The Daily Express says former prime minister Theresa May used a speech in the Commons yesterday to take a "thinly veiled swipe" at her successor.

Giving her reaction to Monday's Queen's Speech, Mrs May said it was important to recognise that being a good leader wasn't only about getting the best headlines.

The i says her intervention was widely seen as a "coded warning" to the prime minister not to "put style over substance".

Brexit bubbly

Meanwhile, the i reports on a small French business, looking to capitalise on Brexit by selling limited-edition bottles of sparkling wine.

The fizz, available in both a white and rose variety, contains flakes of real gold, and is available online for £138. The specially-engraved label reads "Brexit - We Made History".

The owner of the company tells the paper that a French businessman has bought several bottles to present to his British clients - to help "inject some humour" into the UKs exit from the EU.

Criticism of the investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown, makes the lead in the Financial Times.

The paper says it's under fire, after almost 300,000 of its customers were caught in the collapse of Neil Woodford's fund.

According to the FT, the role of Hargreaves - which attracted more than £1.5bn of assets for the British stock-picker - is now being examined by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning

A number of the papers reflect comments made by the Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, about the future of the licence fee.

Mrs Morgan said yesterday that she was "open-minded" about the possibility of scrapping the charge and replacing it with a Netflix-style subscription scheme.

The Guardian points out that while funding is fixed for the next eight years, Mrs Morgan's remarks go further than those of any of her predecessors.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nicky Morgan was returned to the cabinet as Culture Secretary by Boris Johnson after he became PM in July

Finally, the Welsh steel town of Port Talbot is famous for its high concentration of Hollywood megastars - with both Richard Burton and Sir Antony Hopkins calling it home.

Now, according to the Daily Mail, another of its celebrated actors thinks there's a new reason to put the town on the map... Michael Sheen is convinced it's a hotspot for UFOs.

The paper says the actor told an audience in London that he's seen strange lights over the steelworks - and on separate occasions so have his dad and his next door neighbour.

Sheen says he's sure Port Talbot must be a stop off on the way to other more renowned alien hotspots - likening the town to a layby, or "the Little Chef of the Galaxy".