Wednesday, August 1, 2018

5 September - Ink

by James Graham

It is 1969 and in Fleet Street The Sun rises.  Ink (and these not my words) deals with the birth of the UK's "most influential" newspaper.  A young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch asked the impossible and launched, against all the odds, a red top newspaper to "give the  people what they want".  This it would seem is scandal, topless models on page 3 and to be told how to vote.

Based on modern history and real people who are still alive today, this is a very recent play, first performed in London in 2017, which next year will receive it's Broadway debut.

Now, as much as this pains me, I feel the only way to introduce those of you who are not familiar with The Sun is to direct you to its website.  I deeply regret this, but here you are:


Larry Lamb (1929-2000)
At the time of the play Lamb is in his 40s and is the new editor of The Sun.
Larry Lamb (not to be confused with the actor of the same name) introduced the Page 3 feature to The Sun (for which he was editor from 1969 to 1972, and then again from 1975 to 1981), which saw a dramatic increase in sale in the 1970s. He also applied the term 'Winter of Discontent' to the series of strikes over the winter of 1978–79. In 1985, during his time as editor of the Daily Express, Lamb declared that the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela, imprisoned ANC leader in apartheid South Africa, would be "a crass error".

Rupert Muroch (1931-present)
At the time of the play in his 30s and owner of The Sun.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Murdoch acquired a number of newspapers in Australia and New Zealand before expanding into the United Kingdom in 1969, taking over the News of the World, followed closely by The Sun. In 1974, Murdoch moved to New York City, to expand into the U.S. market; however, he retained interests in Australia and Britain. In 1981, Murdoch bought The Times, his first British broadsheet (large sized newspaper as opposed to the now much more regular sized tabloid) and, in 1985, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, giving up his Australian citizenship, to satisfy the legal requirement for U.S. television ownership.
In 1986, keen to adopt newer electronic publishing technologies, Murdoch consolidated his UK printing operations in Wapping, causing bitter industrial disputes. His holding company News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (1985), HarperCollins (1989), and The Wall Street Journal (2007). Murdoch formed the British broadcaster BSkyB in 1990 and, during the 1990s, expanded into Asian networks and South American television. By 2000, Murdoch's News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries, with a net worth of over $5 billion.
In July 2011, Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty, and public citizens. Murdoch faced police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the U.S. On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International. On 1 July 2015, Murdoch left his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox.However, Murdoch and his family continue to own both 21st Century Fox and News Corp through the Murdoch Family Trust.

The American-Australian media billionaire is currently married to Jerry Hall.  
One can't help but wonder what she sees in him.

Hugh Cudlipp (1913-1988)
At the time of the play in his 50s and editor of The Mirror
Cudlipp was Chairman of the Mirror Group of newspapers from 1963 to 1967, where he oversaw the 1964 launch, as a broadsheet, of The Sun. Intended to replace the failing Daily Herald, the choice of format was to prevent it encroaching on Daily Mirror sales. The paper was not successful and, in 1969, was sold to Rupert Murdoch, who turned it into a tabloid imitator of and competitor to the Daily Mirror; by 1978, it was outselling the Mirror.

Stephanie Rahn (1948-present)
At the time of the play in her 20s, a London Model

There are far too many other characters in this play to list!  But I am hoping that all will become clear, but those unfamiliar with the term 'Father of the Chapel' (now 'Mother' too) need to know that it is the title given to a Shop Steward representing a Trade Union.

James Graham (1982-present)
James Graham is a contemporary playwright whose plays often focus on modern Britain.  He currently has Loves Labours playing to critical acclaim in London.

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