Media Lifeline: Hello! magazine

Celebrity journalism's Rolls-Royce is back to getting the biggest weddings as it turns 20 years old.

May 1988: Hello!, a UK version of the Spanish weekly celebrity title Hola! (which first started in 1946), launches with a cover story featuring Princess Anne - the first one-to-one royal interview published in a British glossy, it claims. Its debut ABC figure is 180,169.

December 1992: Circulation builds steadily, despite the launch of a rival title, OK!. Its successful formula is based on the life and times of minor royals (Fergie, for instance) and its exclusive coverage of trashy celebrity weddings (Bill Wyman to Mandy Smith, Liz Taylor to a man in a white tuxedo). In the July-December 1992 ABCs, its sale is 487,704.

September 1997: Triumph out of tragedy as Hello! produces its two best-selling issues - coverage of the death of Princess Diana and then, a week later, of her funeral. The latter notches up a sale of 1.1 million, and helps the magazine to its best ABC to date - 574,585.

July 2003: The early years of the new century find the title's sale fluctuating wildly. Its battle with OK! has intensified following OK!'s coup in winning an auction for coverage of the Beckham wedding in 1999; it sells 1.5 million copies of that issue. But by 2003, Hello! has settled down to steady growth again, and a Jan-June 2003 ABC of 347,461.

May 2008: Hello! celebrates its 20th birthday with a bash attended by Joan Collins, Tamara Beckwith, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Gloria Hunniford and the Llewelyn-Bowens. With its circulation now at 405,615, the publisher claims it is the Rolls-Royce of celebrity journalism, citing its piece on the wedding of Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne, as an example.

Fast forward ...

June 2010: After a couple of thin years, Hello! hits paydirt once more when it secures exclusive access to the nuptials of Prince Harry and a nightclub chanteuse formerly known as Cheryl Tweedy-Cole, sponsored by After Eight mints. The issue shifts more than a million copies, threatening to eclipse the title's previous record sale.