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Tributes paid to former tabloid editor and Argus columnist Derek Jameson
Tributes have been paid to veteran broadcaster and former Argus columnist Derek Jameson.
The 82-year-old, who edited three national newspapers, had a heart attack at his home on Wednesday, his wife Ellen said.
Mr Jameson edited the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the News of the World and was alsomanaging editor of the Daily Mirror and a popular BBC Radio 2 presenter.
After retiring he had a weekly column in The Argus from September 1999 until October 2000 and took a keen interest in local issues.
Launching his column he said: “I have to know what’s going on and I can’t answer those questions sitting in the conservatory looking at the sea. There is a compulsive motor inside me. It is a great asset and I hope to use some of that in my column for The Argus.”
He lived with his wife Ellen in Western Esplanade – now home to Norman Cook and Adele – where he ran the residents association and was chairman of the Association of Harbour Communities, set up by those living and working around Hove Lagoon and Shoreham Harbour to keep an eye on local developments.
He joked at the time: “I have visions of being the uncrowned king of a media village. Perhaps Nick Berry will be vice c h a i r - man.”
Mr Jameson was born in poverty in London’s East End where, without parents, he grew up in a home.
He began work in Fleet Street as a messenger boy aged 14 and rose through the ranks to edit some of Britain’s biggest newspapers.
He developed a reputation as a builder of circulation and was asked to launch the Daily Star – the first new nationaltabloid for 75 years – which he took to more than amillion copies within a year.
He also put on half a million readers at the Daily Express, which languished at less than twomillion when he joined it.
In 1984, he found himself broke and unemployed.
Rupert Murdoch had fired him because of differences at the News of the World and he then lost all his money in a disastrous libel action against the BBC.
He launched the lawsuit after Radio 4 called him “an East End boy made bad”.
However it was the BBC, recognising his gifts as a communicator, which turned him into a celebrity with television series such as Do They Mean Us? and his popular breakfast show on Radio 2.
He went on to present a chat show for six years with his wife, establishing the largest late night radio audience in Europe.
Radio 2 executive producer Gary Bones, who was a senior producer on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Mr Jameson in the early 90s, said: “Derek was not only a unique broadcaster and Fleet Streetlegend but also a really nice, kind and generous man who always knew exactly how to tap into the mood of the nation at the time.
“Listeners at the time will remember his daily catch phrase ‘morning morning Jameson here’.”
Hugh Whittow, editor of the Daily Express, said: “Behind the rough exterior was a very clever, charming man who had a knack of getting the best out of people.”
The Jamesons’ moved to Florida in the early 2000s but missed Sussex and their family and moved back to Worthing