Mail axes Wicked Whispers column

The Daily Mail has axed its showbusiness column Wicked Whispers. By Tara Conlan.

The Daily Mail has axed its showbusiness column Wicked Whispers.

Last night the Mail's diary editor, John McEntee, was informed it was ending - just under four years after it began. It was immediately dropped from today's paper.

Recently the column had been pulled on a few occasions and been given less space, but its departure surprised many who thought the Mail wanted to increase its showbusiness story count.

Wicked Whispers began life after the Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre, finally succeeded in luring over former Express diarist McEntee to the paper in 2001. McEntee had previously edited the Daily Express's Hickey column.

The Mail had already tried to poach him once before, as had the Independent. One of the most jovial characters on the diary circuit, when he joined the Mail in 2001 McEntee ensured Wicked Whispers immediately began raising hackles and breaking exclusives.

They have included Cherie Blair's sister Lauren Booth's pregnancy and Michael Gambon taking over the late Richard Harris' role in the Harry Potter films.

Wicked Whispers also became a useful outlet for behind-the-scenes showbusiness gossip, released under the cloak of anonymity.

McEntee was unavailable for comment today but senior Mail sources said he is in talks with executives about continuing at the paper.

Sources said any role he is offered is likely to include contributing to the Mail's other two columns, Hardcastle and Richard Kay.

A Daily Mail spokesman said: "It was felt that the column had run its course."

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Tara Conlan

The GuardianTramp

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