The build-up to the UK's recent general election and the prolonged passing of Pope John Paul II helped boost newspaper circulations in April.

The two quality compacts, The Times and The Independent, fared best with the former increasing sales by 2.19% over the previous month to 685,448. The latter's increase was less robust, but comforting enough at 1.35% to 258,505.

The results reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations showed almost imperceptible gains for left-leaning The Guardian at 0.12% and 0.6% for the staunchly rightist Daily Telegraph.

Among the stagnant tabloids, the best performer was Rupert Murdoch's The Sun, up 0.25% to 3,258,502.

In the middlebrow sector, the Daily Mail failed to sparkle, showing a 0.14% drop in circulation in April, but not as big a fall as the 1.33% of its arch-rival, The Daily Express.

In the Sunday quality sector, The Guardian's stablemate, The Observer reported a healthy 2.03% gain, while The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph respectively fell, 2.8% to 1,359,159 and 4.56% to 686,270.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff