street of shame

Ghoul's paradise
True crime , Issue 1625

lord-lucan.jpg
LORDING IT: The Mail group's distaste for true crime speculation doesn't extend to its multiple podcast series, including one about Lord Lucan
"CYBER sleuths... or toxic busybodies?" steamed the Mail on Sunday last month, in a feature tackling a "sinister trend in which members of the public attempt the work of professional investigators, with potentially disastrous results".

The lengthy piece denounced the explosion of online speculation about real-life criminal cases, and revisited how "social media reached new depths of ghoulishness following the disappearance of Nicola Bulley" – while skimming over all that the Mail's own website had done to drive that speculation (Eye 1593).

It concluded with salutary words from criminologist Nic Groombridge: "I recognise everyone's right to an opinion about crime, but I worry about people's fascination with it."

A dying art
No such worries at the Daily Mail Group, which is so keen to exploit people's fascination with crime it has launched a raft of podcasts in recent years, many focusing on gruesome deaths.

Highest-billed is The Trial, covering the grisly case of nurse Lucy Letby in 64 episodes, which has since gone on to chronicle the trial of the killer of Irish primary school teacher Ashling Murphy, the murder of teenager Brianna Ghey, and the ongoing court case against Constance Marten and Mark Gordon in relation to the death of their baby.

In March, DMG head of podcasts Jamie East boasted to the Press Gazette that the series had "an incredibly loyal and engaged audience" that had demonstrated "what success can look like".

Lucan back
Last week, as the election campaign continued to go in a direction it was less than happy about, the Daily Mail devoted its entire front page to important news of its brand-new podcast series about... Lord Lucan and the murder of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, a full half century ago.

And the Mail seems to have put aside its worries about the public offering amateur opinions. In "a world exclusive, week-long True Crime podcast event", the paper enthused, "two eminent barristers will argue whether Lucan was innocent or guilty... Listeners will then be asked to act as jurors and give their verdicts on MailOnline."

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1625 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 19th June 2024
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More top stories in the latest issue:

AWKWARD TIMING
Two days after Rishi Sunak announced the election, the Spectator landed on doormats with a page arguing a hypothetical summer election would be suicidal.

MONEY SPINNERS
The first Mail on Sunday after polling day was announced featured an ad on p2 taken out by Labour, headlined "An open letter to the pensioners of Britain".

PUNDITS ON PARADE
Week one of the election campaign brought a range of "experts" ready to inform newspaper readers exactly how we've ended up in the state we're in.

DIGGER WARNING
"Couples with large age gaps often face judgement and negative stereotypes," argued the Sun's "Dear Deidre" page a day before Rupert Murdoch's nuptials.

BECKS APPEAL
A sudden raft of gushing headlines about David Beckham in the past week – just ahead of publication of a potentially damaging book about him.

OVER REACH
Three years after inviting its hacks to a masterclass titled "How to Side Hustle", Reach plc is, er, banning them from picking up work elsewhere.

RANT ASUNDER
The Telegraph's desperate attempts to rewrite a flawed piece to disguise its embarrassment ended up causing almost as many problems as the original piece.

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