Memories of Sir Peregrine

(Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images).
(Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images).

By Amit Roy

ANOTHER editor I knew has been in the news.

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, who was briefly editor of the Sunday Tel­egraph, died last week, aged 96. While Trevor Grove was the paper’s editor when I first joined, Perry was in charge of four comment pages.

On Saturdays, after we had done our stories, we would go to the paper’s restaurant – on a ship moored next to the office in Canary Wharf – for an extended lunch. Perry presided over the meal, but so much (free) wine was consumed that man­agement finally ended this expensive indulgence.

When I was on the Daily Mail, I merited a small mention in Perry’s article. After the military junta under Lt Gen Leo­poldo Galtieri in Argentina was defeated and replaced by the democratically elected Raul Alfonsin, Perry arrived in Buenos Aires. He sought an inter­view with Alfonsin but was refused. I was sent back to Buenos Aires after the war by the Daily Mail’s editor, David English, who – as always – wanted the first exclusive inter­view although there were several hundred foreign journalists there.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the Indian ambassador, Lakhan Lal Mehrotra, intervened on my behalf and Alfonsin gave me the first interview. In a long article from Ar­gentina, Perry explained that the president had spoken to a junior Indian reporter of no consequence (all very true), because Alfonsin wanted to be seen to be kind to a Third World journalist. I laughed it off and later, dur­ing our Sunday Telegraph lunches, Perry and I re­mained on cordial terms.

I remember he had a go at my previous editor, Andrew Neil, who had an affair with Pamella Bordes, a former Miss India, when he was editor of the Sun­day Times. Perry castigat­ed Andrew for being a “playboy”. When the affair was revealed by the News of the World, Andrew had made me and a colleague, Mick Brown, write a full-page “focus” on his for­mer girlfriend.