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Terence Roger Lancaster (29 November 1920 – 6 October 2007) was a British journalist, socialist, and the political editor of the Daily Mirror in the 1970s and 1980s.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Terence Lancaster was the only son of Reginald Lancaster, who owned a family firm of printers,[1] and Dorothy (née McMahon) of Salisbury, Wiltshire. During the war he worked as an officer in RAF Intelligence in the Western Desert Campaign, the youngest such officer, and subsequently in Italy and Germany. He had wanted to become air crew, but had failed the medical test.[1]

Career[edit | edit source]

After the war he worked for the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton and the Star, a London evening paper. He contested for Labour the safe Conservative seat of Finchley in 1955, gaining 17,408 votes, and coming second by more than 20%. He never stood again for election.[1]

Daily Express[edit | edit source]

In the mid-1950s he moved to the Daily Express, which at that time was owned by Lord Beaverbrook and was the UK's best-selling national daily newspaper, having a daily circulation of about 4 million copies. He became Foreign Editor under Edward Pickering; he interviewed Nikita Khrushchev in 1957. He later served under Bob Edwards, and was in charge of the largest number of foreign correspondents in the British press at the time.[1]

Daily Mirror[edit | edit source]

After Beaverbrook died in 1964, and Edwards ceased to be Express editor the following year, Lancaster was appointed by Hugh Cudlipp as editor of The People (now The Sunday People).[2] A columnist too, he was soon moved to become the political editor of the Daily Mirror in 1970, after his predecessor John Beavan was elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Ardwick. Lancaster later also became Assistant Editor. He had a good rapport with prime minister Harold Wilson and his circle, including his press secretary Joe Haines. After Wilson stood down as PM in 1976, Haines was appointed to the paper at his suggestion.[2]

After Robert Maxwell gained ownership of the Mirror titles in 1984, Lancaster was the ghost writer of Maxwell's statement of principles, but Maxwell interfered editorially, despite promising otherwise. Lancaster co-wrote an article with Geoffrey Goodman, at Maxwell's request, about miners' leader Arthur Scargill at the height of the 1984–85 miners' strike; according to Michael Leapman, the article was more vehemently critical than the Mirror had been hitherto. The article though was modified without their consent, according to Goodman, and they insisted on changes approved by editor Mike Molloy. The article was unsigned, because of Maxwell's interference, and both men soon left the newspaper.[2][3] Lancaster's friendship with Haines ended thanks to Maxwell's behaviour at the Mirror.[1]

Lancaster was briefly a writer for the Sunday edition of Eddy Shah's Today newspaper, and later press officer and speech writer for the Commons' speaker Betty Boothroyd from 1992,[2] and obituary writer for the Times and the Independent.[4]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Lancaster married Brenda (1918-1998), a schoolteacher, on 19 August 1941; the couple had two sons, Guy and John, and were married for 53 years. His second wife was Margaret Douglas, whom he married in 2000, a former chief political adviser for the BBC[2] and Supervisor of Parliamentary Broadcasting at the Palace of Westminster. [5]

He died aged 86 in early October 2007 from heart failure.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Goodman, Geoffrey (9 October 2007). "Terence Lancaster". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/oct/09/guardianobituaries.pressandpublishing. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Leapman, Michael (9 October 2007). "Terence Lancaster". The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/terence-lancaster-396449.html. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  3. Goodman, Geoffrey (17 October 2007). "Terence Lancaster". The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/terence-lancaster-394951.html. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  4. "Terence Lancaster Obituary", The Independent, Tuesday 9 October 2007 23:00 BST
  5. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/margaret-douglas-former-bbc-chief-political-adviser-907807.html The Independent Sunday 24 August 2008, Obituary Margaret Douglas OBE
Media offices
Preceded by
John Beavan, Baron Ardwick
Political Editor of the Daily Mirror
1970 - 1984
Succeeded by
Joe Haines
Preceded by
Foreign Editor of the Daily Express
Succeeded by

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