The Times relaunches with beefed-up Saturday edition

LONDON – News International is looking to emulate the success of the Sunday Times with a new, beefed-up Saturday edition of the paper, with increased coverage of health and beauty, arts, entertainment and a new price tag up 15p to 90p.

Each new section in the paper has its own editor and a series of high-profile writers to help draw attention.

Last week, it was revealed that the paper had poached controversial journalist Rod Liddle, the former editor of BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, from The Guardian. Liddle, who was forced to quit 'Today' over an article he wrote that was politically biased, wrote his last Guardian column last week.

Liddle will write for the the Weekend Review, a provocative guide to arts, culture and modern living, alongside former 'Today' colleague, presenter James Naughtie.

The section will be edited by former Times US editor Ben Macintyre. Other writers include Booker prize judge David Baddiel, philosopher AC Grayling and popular historian Lisa Jardine.

The health and beauty pages are to be called Body&Soul. Edited by Hilly Janes, former features editor of The Independent, its writers include Amanda Platell, William Hague's former spin doctor and former editor of the Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express and Hello! magazine.

The Eye will cover home entertainment such as TV, DVDs, videos and gaming, and will be edited by former Time Out editor Dominic Wells.

Contributors include Booker-Prize shortlisted novelist Tibor Fischer and Times columnist and the winner of the Fleet Street edition of 'The Weakest Link', Giles Coren.

The Times on Saturday will be edited by Michael Gove and has been designed by Tomaso Capuano, art director for new projects, in conjunction with David Driver, head of design. It goes on sale on Saturday, September 6.

Times editor Robert Thomson said: "The Times now has the most ambitiously designed sections of any newspaper in the world and contains, by far, the largest group of talented, witty and challenging writers. While other newspapers seem to believe that bland bulk is best, our emphasis is on quality and originality."

The relaunch is the latest attempt by Thomson to help The Times catch its rival the Daily Telegraph in the battle for readers.

In the last set of ABC's The Times had dropped 7.27% in the last year to 633,067. The Telegraph fell further, down 8.28%, but maintained its large lead at 921,741.

Since Thomson joined in March 2002, he has launched a number of new weekday sections including a public service section and a Saturday guide to going out, seen as a direct competitor to The Guardian's Guide.

Clive Milner, managing director of Times Newspapers, said the paper is "committed to delivering Britain's best audience for our clients and agencies".

"The new Saturday Times is an outstanding product and the combination of the fresh design, new sections and authoritative and intelligent writing that The Times is recognised for will provide our advertisers with the most compelling product on a Saturday," Milner said.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.