AddThis SmartLayers

Scarborough's loss was Burton's gain

The phone call came through to the Burton Mail newsdesk on Tuesday afternoon.

Would the paper let a crew from Channel 4’s Big Breakfast film at the newspaper the next morning to mark Local Newspaper Week?

Editor Brian Vertigen didn’t hesitate. “I said ‘Yes’ straight away. It’s great publicity for us, and local newspapers in general,” he told HoldTheFrontPage.

“Apparently they’d already been turned down by Scarborough – I don’t know why,” he added.

He said they did wonder, for a few moments, if the programme might “take the mickey” – but he was delighted with the programme, which went out live yesterday.

“We got four slots over the two hours,” said Mr Vertigen. “It was excellent. The crew were very professional and didn’t cause any disruption at all.”

The fun and games gave the Mail a page one picture story yesterday and it got early bills out to town newsagents in the morning so that readers could tune in to the show.

Most editorial staff at the Mail start work between 8am and 8.30am on a normal day but yesterday’s drama meant an early start for news editor Andy Parker and deputy news editor Julie Crouch, who were at their desks for 6am.

Ex-Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon interviewed them both about some of the recent stories in the Mail.

Later, he joined trainee reporter Tracey King and photographer Richard Johnson at the nearby village of Hartshorne, where they were covering a story on retiring lollipop lady Dorothy Freeman.

Mr Vertigen commented: “They did poke a bit of fun at some of the stories we cover which might seem trivial, but that’s what local newspapers are all about.”

Andy Parker told Richard Bacon that the Burton and South Derbyshire area was very small to have its own daily newspaper. Although the paper has one of the smallest circulation figures in the country, he said they believed it was read by most people in the area.

He also recalled one of the biggest exclusives the paper broke – the news that Toyota was to build a car plant at Burnaston.

Over at the Scarborough Evening News, they’re not too disappointed at having missed out on their 15 minutes of fame.

“We had the radio in once, and that was a fiasco, with people tripping over wires and all sorts,” said one hack. “So we didn’t fancy this idea at all.”

Click here to see some more pictures of Burton Mail staff in the TV spotlight

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111, x6022, or e-mail us now