Newspapermen: Hugh Cudlipp, Cecil Harmsworth King and the glory days of Fleet Street

NewspapermenThey were ‘Cudlipp’ and ‘Mr King’ when they met in 1935. At twenty-one, gregarious, extrovert and irreverent Hugh Cudlipp had many years of journalistic experience: at thirty-four, shy, introspective and solemn Cecil Harmsworth King – haunted by the ghost of Uncle Alfred, Lord Northcliffe, the great press magnate, and bitter towards Uncle Harold, Lord Rothermere of the Daily Mail – was fighting his way up in the family business.

Opposites in most respects, they were complementary in talents. Cudlipp the journalistic genius, and King, the formidable intellect, were to become, in Cudlipp’s words, ‘the Barnum and Bailey’ of Fleet Street. Together, on the foundation of the populist Daily Mirror, they created the biggest publishing empire in the world.

Yet their relationship foundered sensationally in 1968 when – as King tried to topple the Prime Minister – Cuddlip toppled King. Through the story of two extraordinary men, Ruth Dudley Edwards gives us a riveting portrait of Fleet Street in its heyday.

NEWSPAPERMEN Hugh Cudlipp, Cecil Harmsworth King and the glory days of Fleet Street published by Secker and Warburg, 472pp, Hardback £20. Available as hardback and paperback on Amazon.


A hurtling journey, often hilarious and sometimes monstrous, through newspapers, class, politics and sex; not just the double biography of two extraordinary men, but a sideways history of Britain in the fifties and sixties

Andrew Marr

The Omagh families have not only held terrorists to account for the death of their loved ones; their legacy is a new legal remedy for victims of violence everywhere.

Liam Clark

Sunday Times

Ruth Dudley Edwards has adorned with anecdotal dazzle a psychological thriller in which intrigue is flecked with madness.

Edward Pearce

Glasgow Herald

A thoroughly entertaining book.

Michael Davie

Times Literary Supplement

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