Today’s media focus returns to the Tommy Sheridan trial, with the papers reporting that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson – who gave evidence yesterday – has denied claims that he oversaw an era of illegal phone tapping and 'dark arts' at the newspaper.
Coulson – now Downing Street’s director of communications – was editor of the English edition of tabloid at the time of Sheridan’s successful defamation action four years ago. Earlier in the trial he denied that he 'micro-managed' the Scottish version of the newspaper, edited by Bob Bird. Coulson resigned from his post when one of his reporters was convicted of phone tapping.
The Scottish Daily Express (page 7) reports that Coulson “…denied that there was a culture of such practices at the newspaper.” He is quoted, saying: “I don’t accept that there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World.”
Staying with the Sheridan trial, The Daily Record (page 9) takes a different top line with their coverage of yesterday’s proceedings – focusing instead on Coulson’s insistence that a video the paper published, allegedly showing the former MSP admitting to attending a 'swingers' club, was genuine.
Reporter Chris Musson writes: “Coulson said he travelled to Glasgow to watch the tape and ‘believed it to be authentic’ on first viewing, but told Bob Bird, boss of the Scottish edition of the paper, to have expert voice tests carried out on the tape.”
The paper reports that Sheridan challenged Coulson’s ability to verify whose voice is heard on the tape. Coulson’s retort is quoted, the former editor saying: “We matched it against other recordings of your voice. We published the video believing it was you, and I still believe it was you.”
Elsewhere, today’s Scottish Daily Mail (page 5) reports that glamour model Katie Price is taking legal action against Channel 4 after Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle made an off-colour joke about her disabled son.
Writes the Mail: “Miss Price last night instructed her lawyer to make a formal complaint with watchdog Ofcom following the broadcast of Boyle’s Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights on Tuesday.”
The paper reports that Ofcom are expected to decide whether to investigate the case tomorrow.
Channel 4 has defended the comic, a spokesperson for the broadcaster is quoted, saying: “Frankie Boyle is well known for his controversial humour and the programme carried appropriate warnings as to the nature of the material. The joke is an absurdist and satirical comment on high-profile individuals whose lives have been played out in the media.”
Staying with the Mail, the paper reports that television chef, Jamie Oliver, has hit out at rival, Gordon Ramsay, saying that he was disrespectful to Indian culture in his Channel 4 programme, Gordon’s Great Escape. The show saw the Scot tour India in search of the country’s finest cuisine, but Oliver has claimed that Ramsay’s behaviour was inappropriate.
He is quoted, saying: “He just wasn’t respectful. That’s the most important thing when you visit another culture. You shut your mouth, you listen and you smile and you suck it all up and you take it all home. You don’t judge. You don’t start shouting at people. How dare you do that?”
And finally, today’s Scottish Sun (page 42) reports that BBC Scotland is to screen the first ever sketch show in Doric – the Aberdeenshire dialect.
The show – titled the Desperate Fishwives – will make its debut next week on BBC Two Scotland, and is performed by part-time actors. Writes Marc Deanie: “The show has a string of hilarious characters and sketches including Jackanory golfer Norris, a Duncan Banantyne stalker and a comedy take on Take That’s Back For Good video. There’s also a spoof MTV show presented by hilarious farmers Jim and Jock, who are seen asking viewers to guess the weight of sheep poo.”
Actor John Hardie – who juggles his acting commitments with his job as a criminal lawyer – is quoted, saying: “People living in Aberdeen I’m sure will be pleased something has been made up here that the rest of the country can see. We like laughing at ourselves and – and it’s a lot different to someone poking fun at us.”