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.