Main content

The Sun Newspaper

Sue MacGregor reunites journalists working on The Sun newspaper in the 1980s to consider how it revolutionised our news.

Sue MacGregor reunites journalists working on The Sun newspaper in the 1980s to consider how it revolutionised our news.

In November 1969, the presses rolled on a new tabloid that would change Britain forever. "Does your daily paper bore the pants off you?" asked the television advertisement, "Then wake up with The Sun". The paper was to be a combination of sex, sport and contests - according to its young proprietor Rupert Murdoch. This simple formula had shocked many in his native Australia but made Murdoch a fortune. Fleet Street critics were scathing, but the paper's young working class readership lapped up the scandal.

From day one, The Sun chose sex as the battleground for the coming circulation war with its rivals. Girly pictures were a standard element in tabloids at that time and usually came with spurious fashion features or stories. But The Sun boldly dispensed with those. The regular, topless Page Three features started on the paper's first anniversary.

In the 1980s, with Editor Kelvin Mackenzie at the helm, the paper carved out a position as strident, campaigning, anti-establishment and hugely profitable. His style was epitomised by outrageous headlines such as 'Freddie Starr ate My Hamster', 'Gotcha' after the sinking of the Belgrano and 'It Was The Sun Wot Won It' after the Conservative Party election victory in 1992. Rupert Murdoch referred to him affectionately as "my little Hitler".

Joining Sue around the table to look back on the meteoric rise of the paper are five journalists who were there, including legendary news editor Tom Petrie, Harry Arnold the Royal Correspondent and Wendy Henry who later went on to become editor of the Sun's sister paper The News of the World.

Producer: Emily Williams
Series Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 29 Aug 2014 09:00