Bernard Shrimsley

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Bernard Shrimsley (13 January 1931 – 9 June 2016) was a British journalist and newspaper editor.

Early life and career[edit]

Shrimsley was the son of a tailor's pattern cutter who was from an immigrant family, whose surname had originally been Shremski.[1] Shrimsley's younger brother, Anthony (1934–1984), was the political editor of three national newspapers (the Sunday Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Mail) and editor of Sir James Goldsmith's short-lived news magazine Now!.[2]

After leaving school, he first worked as a messenger at the Press Association in London.[1] After a year, he was taken on as a trainee at the Southport Guardian in 1948 where he remained, apart his National Service in the Royal Air Force, until 1953. After spells at the Manchester offices of both the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express, plus a brief period in the Daily Mirror's London headquarters, Shrimsley was appointed as the editor of the Liverpool Daily Post.[3]

Appointed as deputy editor of the imminently relaunched Sun newspaper in 1969, Shrimsley was recommendation to new owner Rupert Murdoch by Larry Lamb, his immediate superior. The circulation of the new tabloid doubled to 1.6 million in the first year. Shrimsley served in the same role until 1972.[1] He became editor of The Sun that year. Remaining in that post until 1975, he took over the equivalent job at The Sun's Sunday sister title, the News of the World. During his time as editor of the News of the World, which was then still a broadsheet, its circulation declined by a million. Murdoch was urged by Shrimsley to re-launch the paper as a tabloid, a change which was not taken up by Murdoch at the time.[3] Shrimsley ceased to be editor of the News of the World "by mutual agreement", according to an announcement from News Group Newspapers, in late April 1980.[4]

Later life and career[edit]

Shrimsley was taken on by Associated Newspapers during that year to launch The Mail on Sunday, but Lord Rothermere did not discuss the appointment with David English, the editor of sister title, the Daily Mail, who made Shrimsley's job difficult.[1] English refused permission for any Mail writer to work for the new stablemate. Following the launch in May 1982,[1] The Mail on Sunday's initially projected circulation of 1.25 million,[5] was not reached after ten issues, and Shrimsley was replaced. English succeeded him in July.[6]

His former Murdoch colleague, (now Sir) Larry Lamb, was now editor of the Daily Express. He choose Shrimsley as the title's assistant editor, a post he held between 1983–86. After Lamb left the Express, Shrimsley served as the associate editor during 1986–96.[3][7] He advised Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party during the 1997 general election, and wrote editorials for the Press Gazette from 1999 until 2002. He continued to write articles for the publication subsequently.[7]

Shrimsley wrote three novels after his retirement: The Candidates, Lion Rampant and The Silly Season (2003). The Silly Season, wrote Roy Greenslade in The Guardian, is a "fine piece of satire" about tabloid journalism which contains "considerable wit and verve".[8] It contains "a thinly veiled portrait" of former Sun editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, combined with elements of the "self-publicising egoism" of Piers Morgan, then editor of the Mirror.[8]

Bernard Shrimsley died on 9 June 2016, aged 85.[9] The Shrimsley brother's descendants have also worked in the media. Bernard's daughter, Amanda, worked as a feature writer for The Sun as did Anthony's daughter, Emma. Anthony's son, Robert, was news editor of the Financial Times and is now managing editor of its website,


  1. ^ a b c d e "Bernard Shrimsley". The Times. London. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Mr Anthony Shrimsley". The Times. London. 6 November 1984. p. 18. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c Greenslade, Roy (10 June 2016). "Bernard Shrimsley, the perfectionist who edited three national papers". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "News of the World editor to go". The Times. London. 25 April 1980. p. 2. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ Ford, Richard (28 October 1981). "May launch for new paper". The Times. London. p. 2. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Mail on Sunday editor quits". The Times. London. 6 July 1982. p. 2. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b Morris, Sophie (9 May 2005). "Inside Story: The ex-editors' files". The Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (20 December 2003). "Red-hot red top". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (10 June 2016). "Former Sun and News of the World editor Bernard Shrimsley dies aged 85: 'A real newsman' who 'loved journalism and journalists'". Press Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
Media offices
Preceded by
Deputy Editor of The Sun
Succeeded by
Peter Stephens
Preceded by
Larry Lamb
Editor of The Sun
Succeeded by
Larry Lamb
Preceded by
Peter Stephens
Editor of the News of the World
Succeeded by
Kenneth Donlan
Preceded by
New position
Editor of the Mail on Sunday
Succeeded by
David English