‘Big Ones’ Boss to Launch National Sunday Newspaper

22 March 2002

Richard Desmond, proprietor of Express Newspapers and less salubrious titles such as Big Ones, Asian Babes and Nude Readers’ Wives, will shortly launch a Sunday edition of his thriving downmarket tabloid the Daily Star.

The Star is steadily in the ascendant, the only one of Desmond’s newspaper stable to increase its circulation. Its new Sunday sibling will run to eighty pages and is likely to repeat the daily’s editorial mix of sport and near-nude pulchritude.

Whether the Sunday Star will be a Sabbath replica of the daily produced by the same editorial team is still under discussion. Nor has any announcement been made about the identity of its editor. However, word on Grub Street is that the favoured launch date is May 26 and a circulation target of 700,000 has been set. The newcomer will compete head-on with Trinity Mirror’s Sunday People.

Separately, editorial staff at Express Newspapers have called off the strike threatened for Saturday [WAMN: 18-Mar-02] after agreeing a management pay offer. The stoppage was cancelled Thursday afternoon after a union meeting accepted a £1,100 (3.1%) per head annual pay rise. Described by staff as “not overwhelmingly generous”, it was nevertheless conceded to be a major improvement on Desmond’s original offer of £750.

But members of the National Union of Journalists are threatening to strike next month over a separate issue: an improvement in the employment terms of casual staff .

Data sourced from: Independent.co.uk and MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff