Capping an awful week for the Daily Mail grandee, Paul Dacre is now having to come to terms with the fact his old enemy Lord Michael Grade – the man he once dubbed “pornographer-in-chief” – has been appointed chairman of Ofcom.
Dacre, 73, who abandoned his own bid to chair the broadcasting regulator after failing to impress at his interview, gave Grade the nickname during his time presiding over Channel 4, where he had sanctioned controversial late-night programmes such as The Word, Eurotrash and Dyke TV.
Amusingly, the word c— , a word that Dacre would almost certainly have considered appropriate to use in relation to Grade, was found scrawled in vast letters on the underside of the table in the Channel 4 boardroom a few years ago.
There had been embarrassment on Tuesday for Dacre when circulation figures were released that showed the Daily Mail‘s print edition had slipped below 900,000 for the first time in 100 years. In a bewildering raft of appointments and unappointments last year, Dacre had been brought back by the proprietor Lord Rothermere specifically to arrest the declining circulation.
It saw, too, the departures of Geordie Greig as the Mail‘s editor – under him the paper had in 2020 surpassed the Sun as the best-selling newspaper in the UK – and Martin Clarke, the innovative figure who had made such a success of Mail Online.
Dacre has also had to contend with his own senior staffers – past and present – and at least one member of his immediate family heading off to see Bloody Difficult Women at the Riverside Studios in west London in which he is played in full, foul-mouthed glory by Andrew Woodall. The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday have chosen not to review it.