William Hickey (columnist)

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"William Hickey" is the pseudonymous byline of a gossip column published in the Daily Express, a British newspaper. It was named after the 18th-century diarist William Hickey.

The column was first established by Tom Driberg in May 1933.[1] An existing gossip column was relaunched following the intervention of the Express's proprietor Lord Beaverbrook. It was titled "These Names Make News".[2] Driberg described the new feature as "...an intimate biographical column about...men and women who matter. Artists, statesmen, airmen, writers, financiers, explorers..."[3]

Historian David Kynaston calls Driberg the "founder of the modern gossip column",[4] which moved away from genteel chit-chat towards commentary on social and political issues. The tone of the column was described by biographer Richard Davenport-Hines as "wry, compassionate, and brimm[ing] with...open-minded intelligence".[5] Driberg continued to write the column until 1943.[6]

The column has been written by numerous anonymous journalists over the decades. In the 1960s, it was written by columnist Nigel Dempster.


  1. ^ Martin Stannard, Evelyn Waugh: the critical heritage, Psychology Press, 1997, p,226
  2. ^ Wheen (2001), The Soul of Indiscretion: Tom Driberg, Poet, Philanderer, Legislator and Outlaw. London: Fourth Estate. pp. 79–81
  3. ^ "These Names Make News: Statement of Policy". Daily Express: 19. 12 May 1933.
  4. ^ Kynaston (2007), Austerity Britain 1945–51, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, p. 141
  5. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard (2004). "Tom Driberg". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edition. Retrieved 12 February 2010.(subscription required)
  6. ^ BBC News, Driberg always under suspicion, 13 September 1999

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