Monday, January 30, 2017


The press-ification of BBC News continues today with the announcement that Sarah Sands, editor of the London Evening Standard, is to be the next editor of Today on Radio 4.

Sarah, 55, was born in Cambridge, to parents working in the Colonial Service, and was brought up largely in Tunbridge Wells; she boarded at Kent College, Pembury (contemporaries included Sophie Rhys-Jones, now Countess of Wessex) and went on to Goldsmiths, London, where her subjects were English and Drama - though there's no obvious record of degree achievement.

Sarah switched to indentures with the Sevenoaks Chronicle. At 23, she married actor Julian Sands, in her self-styled "Drew Barrymore period". They had a son, Henry, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1987.

Single-mum Sarah moved to the Evening Standard, where she joined the Londoners Diary team, and was trained by Peter McKay. "I went out for some drinks with some old Fleet Street lags at the end of my first day, fell down a big flight of stairs, and went to hospital with concussion."

Later: "I think back with incredulity to when my six-month-old baby was in hospital with pneumonia and I left him there, put on a suit and went to take a politician out to lunch. I was chatting away while my heart was breaking. But I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t had to."

In the early nineties, she married Kim Fletcher, a Telegraph hack who eventually rose to deputy editor of the Sunday edition. Spookily, in 1996, she took responsibility for the Saturday edition of The Telegraph, and became the first female editor of The Sunday Telegraph in 2005. Kim, who'd had a spell editing The Independent, had to head off for PR to avoid conflict of interest. Sadly, Sarah was sacked before she'd completed nine months in the post. She resurfaced a month later as a consultant editor on the Mail; in 2008 she became editor of the Reader's Digest UK, and joined the Standard as deputy editor in 2009, moving up to editor in 2012.

Sarah and Kim have had two children, Rafe and Matilda (Tilly).

Team Harding:
Keith Blackmore - The Times
Eleanor Scharer - The Times
Felicity White - The Times
Ian Katz - The Guardian
Kamal Ahmed - The Telegraph
Amol Rajan - The Independent
Chris Cook - Financial Times
Nicholas Watt - The Guardian
Helen Thomas - Wall Street Journal

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