LEFTIES: A LOT OF BALLS BBC FOUR Wednesday 22 February 2006 Brief Summary: News on Sunday was a left-wing tabloid that launched to great fanfare in 1987 and went bankrupt just eight weeks later. It was one of the boldest business ventures ever attempted by the far left and it was a disaster. Movie Webpage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/lefties.shtml Full Summary: A group who met through a tiny left-wing faction called Big Flame were convinced it was possible to market a left-wing mass-circulation newspaper. They were led by ex-Ford worker Alan Hayling (now head of BBC Documentaries) under the editorial leadership of John Pilger, who walked out before the paper had even launched. The News on Sunday share issue raised an impressive 6.5 million from Labour local authority pension funds and trade unions. Keith Sutton, who had formerly edited The Wapping Post, became the editor. In the first of a series of ill-fated decisions, the paper based itself not in Fleet Street but in Manchester. News on Sunday also gave a controlling interest to a collective of workers - including some of Hayling's colleagues from the shop floor at Ford. The newspaper's advertising campaign was designed by fashionable ad agency Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty around the slogan "No tits but a lot of balls", which so offended feminists within the workforce that it had to be dropped. The paper needed to sell 800,000 copies to stay afloat, but the first issue sold only 500,000. By its eighth issue circulation was down to 200,000. Kept alive during the general election campaign to avoid embarrassing Labour, the paper went bankrupt immediately afterwards. It was bought from the receivers by eccentric millionaire Owen Oyston (who was subsequently jailed for rape), but went bankrupt five months later, this time for good. News on Sunday became one of many defeats suffered by the radical left as they went into decline in the late 1980s.
Feb 26, 2006, 10:02:29
Number of files