Media Lifeline: Dennis Publishing

Felix Dennis' brainchild has been at the forefront of magazine publishing since the 70s.

1974: Former gravedigger Felix Dennis, one of the Oz magazine team jailed for obscenity in 1971 (and, allegedly, the first man to say "c*nt" on British TV, on The Frost Programme), goes it alone. Cashing in on the cult status of Bruce Lee films, he launches Kung-Fu Monthly.

1981: Dennis Publishing had grown rapidly by licensing Kung-Fu Monthly across 14 countries and had launched Star Wars and ET fan magazines. It had also been flirting with the hobby market, with titles such as Hi-Fi Choice and Which Bike?. But its big break comes after IBM's launch of the personal computer in 1981 - Dennis Publishing's Personal title was the first to recognise the enormous potential of this sector.

1995: By the end of the 80s, Dennis is the UK's dominant computer magazine publisher, as well as being quick to spot the potential for men's lifestyle titles, with Men's Fitness. Its most inspired idea came in the UK with the 1995 launch of Maxim.

1999: And Maxim, targeted at upwardly mobile, young men, shoots Dennis to prominence in the US market. It's a hit when it launches in 1997, and by the end of the 90s, it has outstripped traditional US men's titles such as GQ, and hits a circulation of more than 2.5 million. Back in the UK, growth means that Dennis is the market's largest privately owned magazine publisher by 2002. In September 1999, Dennis starts to write poetry.

2007: Similar to Emap before it, Dennis loses the will to ride out continuing poor trading conditions in the US market and sells all but one of his titles, including Maxim, Blender and Stuff, to Kent Brownridge, a former senior vice-president at the Rolling Stone publisher, Wenner Media, backed by a private equity company. The only US title that Dennis keeps is the current affairs round-up magazine The Week.

Fast forward ...

2010: The reclusive Dennis sells The Week, along with all of his UK publishing interests. He publishes a new volume of poetry (his tenth) and dedicates most of his time to extending the Forest of Dennis (the largest area of deciduous woodland created in Britain for 500 years) to cover much of the county of Warwickshire. In fact, he now begins campaigning against the publishing industry as a scandalous destroyer of trees.