Punch Expires Six Years After ‘Near Death Experience’

31 May 2002

RIP Punch magazine, b. 1841; d. 2002.

The 161-year-old granddaddy of all satirical magazines has finally been consigned to its resting place after fifty years of terminal decline. Current owner, the controversial boss of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, broke the news to the magazine's twelve staff on Wednesday afternoon.

Al Fayed, who rescued the magazine in 1996 from a four-year ‘near death experience’, said he had done “everything in my power to keep Punch alive by pumping in massive amounts of cash”.

Launched launched in the summer of 1841, the magazine’s birth coincided with an upsurge in radical politics. It took a stance as the “defender of the oppressed and scourge of all authority.”

“Punch is a British institution,” Al Fayad said. “I was immensely proud when I was able to revive the magazine after four years of absence. However, the warmth with which many people welcomed the return of Punch has not been reflected in sales. As a businessman, sometimes the head has to triumph over the heart and it is therefore with great regret that I have decided to close.”

But, aficionados and historians will be glad to learn, the spirit of Punch will live on in its online archives.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff