Remembering the editor who saved the Daily Mail

Caroline Marland

Caroline Marland

Managing director, Guardian Newspapers

Few editors manage to imprint their personality on a newspaper. Arthur

Christiansen did it on the Express, Hugh Cudlipp did it on the Mirror,

Harry Evans did it on the Sunday Times. And David English did it on the

Daily Mail.

He took a failing broadsheet, living in the shadow of the Express, and

transformed it into a confident tabloid which, at the time of his death,

threatened to overtake the Mirror.

He did it through hard work, a shrewd commercial mind and a brilliant

capacity to inspire the people who worked for him by a combination of

flattery and fear. Above all, he did it through sheer journalistic


He could do everyone’s job on the paper better than they could - and

they knew it.

He crafted the paper for his age. He understood the hopes and fears of

the middle classes and he spoke to them directly and reassuringly. He

worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of the industry and was

central in devising a workable code of conduct that would command public

and political respect.He will be greatly missed.

Paul Dacre

Editor, Daily Mail

He reinvented the Daily Mail as a compact, quality newspaper, the like

of which didn’t exist at the time, and he defined a new form of

middle-market journalism. He enabled the Daily Mail to survive and

flourish at a crucial time when the Express was leading the market - now

it is the reverse.

He created a brand of journalism which had a huge influence on new

papers and those in the provinces. There were a huge number of evening

papers which became based on the Daily Mail’s titles.

He played a vital role behind the scenes as an ambassador for the


His work for the Press Complaints Commission was tireless and valuable

in drawing up a charter for the industry and persuading editors to

support the PCC, while ensuring politicians understood that the freedom

of the press was a vital issue.

His partnership with Lord Rothermere was a vital one and it was that duo

that saved Rothermere’s newspaper empire.

Les Hinton

Chairman, News International

I felt the influence of David English years before I got to know him. As

a journalist, he preceded me by a decade or so on the New York beat, but

there were those still working there who copied his style completely -

they even spoke like him. He was that kind of man.

When journalists sit and drink and tell tall stories, David never gets a

passing mention; it’s the full half hour at least. David wasn’t perfect;

there must be people who remain bruised by their relationship with


But nearly everyone has a good memory of working with him - a

buccaneering story of being on the road together; a challenge he threw

at them; an unsought kindness; an editorial principle they have always

stuck to.

It wasn’t until three years ago when I returned to Britain that David

and I finally got to know each other. He was a cunning competitor and I

admired him for that. But, just as important, when he represented the

industry’s views on such sensitive matters as privacy and editorial

integrity, we all knew he had the interests of the business he loved and

the readers he respected at heart.


Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content