John Blake (journalist)

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John Blake
Born (1948-11-06) 6 November 1948 (age 68)
Occupation journalist and publisher

John Blake (born 6 November 1948, Hitchin, Hertfordshire) is a British journalist and publisher.

Early career[edit]

Beginning as a pop columnist for the London Evening News in the early 1970s, his work developed into a column titled "Ad Lib",[1] a gossip column and lifestyle guide. It survived the merger of the Evening News with the Evening Standard. In 1976 he co-wrote the book Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, the memoirs of 'Spanish Tony' Sanchez, friend of and assistant to Keith Richards.

Blake was the first editor of 'Bizarre', a column in The Sun launched in May 1982[2] concentrating on celebrity gossip. Blake moved to the Daily Mirror and launched a pop column called "White Hot Club". He was the newspaper's Assistant Editor between 1984 and 1988.[3]

In 1988, Blake became editor of the Sunday People.[4] He was president of the Mirror Group in the USA in the run-up to Robert Maxwell's anticipated purchase of the National Enquirer which lasted until the deal collapsed.[4] Blake was a producer for Sky TV in 1990.

John Blake Publishing[edit]

He founded Blake Publishing in 1991 with his brother, David Blake.[5] After an acrimonious dissolution of the original partnership in March 2002, John Blake went solo as John Blake Publishing.[1] Six months after the company started, he was joined by journalist Rosie Virgo, who went on to become the company's managing director.[6] In 1998, the company published autobiographies by bareknuckle fighters Lenny McLean and Roy "Pretty Boy" Shaw. In 2004, Being Jordan by Katie Price was published by Blake after larger firms had rejected the book. While the advance to Price was £10,000, the book, ghost written by Rebecca Farnworth, sold a million copies.[7]

In August 2008, On Her Majesty's Service a book that was about to be published by John Blake Publishing under the name of Ronald Evans, a former bodyguard of Sir Salman Rushdie, had a Declaration of Falsity made against it by a Judge in the High Court for the inclusion of 11 "serious falsehoods" defaming Rushdie.[8] Rushdie did not seek any damages in his legal action.[9]

The company also publishes memoirs of football hooligans, including Cass by Cass Pennant,[10] Massive Attack by Trevor Tanner and Undesirables by Manchester United hooligan Colin Blaney.[11]


In 2005, the company received a 'Nibbie' national book award as Small Publisher of the Year.[12] In 2010 the company won a second 'Nibbie' as well as the IPA Award for Independent Publisher of the Year.[13]


  1. ^ a b Danuta Kean "John Blake: Gentleman John", The Bookseller, 13 September 2001, as reproduced on Danuta Kean's website.
  2. ^ Ciar Byrne "Newton returns to edit Bizarre", The Guardian, 18 November 2002
  3. ^ "John Blake Esq Authorised Biography", Debrett's
  4. ^ a b Kercher, John (15 September 1996). "Printing his own money Hard profit". Mail on Sunday. 
  5. ^ Carter, Meg (19 June 2001). "Media: My Other Job is Journalism; When Journalists Write Books, Serialisation Rights Can Mean Big Money. Gentleman's Agreements Don't Apply.". The Independent. p. 9. 
  6. ^ Farrington, Joshua. "John Blake signs book by Mandela's prison guard". The Bookseller. Bookseller Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  7. ^ David Sexton "Katie Price knows how to kiss and sell", Evening Standard, 2 September 2009
  8. ^ "Bodyguard apologises to Rushdie", BBC News, 26 August 2008
  9. ^ Mary Jordan "Rushdie Shoots Down Book's False Claims", Washington Post, 27 August 2008
  10. ^ Matt Hughes "Movies battling over hooligans", Evening Standard, 2 June 2003
  11. ^ Redhead, Steve (2014). The Firm: Towards A Study of 400 Football Hooligan Gangs. Charles Sturt University. pp. 26–45. 
  12. ^ "Shortlists and awards". The Star Online. Star Publications (M) Bhd. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Neill, Graeme. "Hachette wins three at Trade Nibbie". The Bookseller. Bookseller Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Ernie Burrington
Editor of the Sunday People
Succeeded by
Wendy Henry