John Blake (journalist)

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John Blake
Born (1948-11-06) 6 November 1948 (age 67)
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 best-selling 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] Blake 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. Both books topped The Sunday Times bestseller list.[citation needed] 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