Private Eye.

Lord Gnome Aged 49 And Three Quarters

BBC Radio 4 documentary. 1 episode in 2011. Features Michael Crick.

Lord Gnome Aged 49 And Three Quarters

Michael Crick celebrates the history of satirical magazine Private Eye as it reaches its 50th birthday

BBC Radio 4
Michael Crick
Michael Crick
Rob Shepherd

Private Eye magazine was first published on 25 October 1961 and became part of the 'satire boom'. As Private Eye's 50th anniversary approaches, its fortnightly combination of cartoons, jokes, journalism and gossip makes it Britain's best-selling current affairs magazine.

Michael Crick traces Private Eye's origins back to Shrewsbury School in the mid-1950s, when four of its key figures - Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot - wrote the school magazine. Booker was the first editor of Private Eye until Ingrams took over in 1963. The present editor, Ian Hislop, succeeded Ingrams in 1986.

Michael Crick asks how Private Eye has survived despite its many costly legal battles, notably those against James Goldsmith and Robert Maxwell. Has Private Eye won a deserved reputation for speaking truth unto power by its irreverence and investigative journalism? Or is it now becoming something of a national institution? And will it survive the new challenge from bloggers and other online journalism?

Production Details

Production company
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Saturday 8th October 2011 on BBC Radio 4 at 10:30am
Episode length
30 minutes