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Newspaper runs Trainspotting parody to speak out on Brexit ‘chaos’

A newspaper drew inspiration from an acclaimed 1990s film in order to address the “chaos” caused by Brexit.

The Herald on Sunday spoofed the opening lines from Danny Boyle’s 1996 film Trainspotting, which follows the lives of a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, on the front page of its latest edition.

The splash showed the faces of Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove and Jeremy Corbyn superimposed on to images of the film’s main characters.

It also an featured an amended version of the monologue delivered by Renton, the character played by Euan McGregor, at the start of the film, with the words changed to reflect the Brexit impasse.

Trainspotting front

The Glasgow-based Herald on Sunday called on politicians to “put our future before your future” and “choose something”.

The paper explained its reasoning behind the splash in a post on Twitter.

It wrote: “With no end to the Brexit chaos in sight, unrest growing and No Deal looming, we decided it was time to speak out, to demand that MPs set aside party politics and personal power games and work together – for the good of everyone.”

The concept was a collaboration between senior staff with the original idea coming from news editor Shaun Milne working with Platforms editor Nicola Love, assistant editor Mark Eadie and the Sunday edition’s editor, Andrew Clark.

Andrew wrote in an editorial: “It’s the weekend after ‘Brexit Day’ ‘­– a time when the UK should have left the European Union and the country should have been contemplating its future – and, if anything, the chaos at Westminster has got worse.

“With No Deal looming as large as at any time in the process, The Herald on Sunday decided it was time to speak out, to demand that MPs set aside party politics and personal power games and work together – for the good of everyone.

“Our take on the famous Trainspotting ‘Choose Life’ poster is a simple and very striking way to get the message across – and it’s the perfect introduction to a hard-hitting Brexit report inside.”

The paper published six-further pages on Brexit news and comment inside, as well as articles across their website and social media channels, which saw a significant life in social engagement, referrals and web traffic. Early sales figures also suggest a boost for circulation.

Editor-in-Chief Donald Martin said he felt it was right for the title to articulate the frustration that many of its readers had expressed through its letters’ pages and reader comments.

He said: “We’ve chosen to change how we express the voice of The Herald and bold front pages and ideas like this are a part of the content mix we can call upon thanks to the creative talent and innovative minds we have in our ranks.

“It was geared specifically to work for our editions in print, digital and social – something we are able to do with ease thanks to our single structure newsroom – which allows for strong forward planning and high impact collaborations.

“Politically we are neutral, but the tone of feedback and overwhelming praise we have received since publishing, goes to show the team judged it just right, allowing discerning readers around the country to vote with their pockets and choose the Herald on Sunday.”