21 Oct 2011

Satirical magazine now 50

9:07 am on 21 October 2011

British satirical magazine Private Eye reaches the ripe old age of 50 on Tuesday.

Underlining the fortnightly magazine's status as a national institution, the Victoria & Albert Museum has dedicated an exhibition to it and a new glossy history has been published.

Private Eye began on 25 October, 1961 with a yellow pamphlet that resembled a school magazine and sold a few hundred copies.

Founding figures included Christopher Booker, Willie Rushton, Paul Foot and long-time editor Richard Ingrams. Incumbent editor Ian Hislop took over in 1986.

Hislop takes pride in the magazine's survival when so many people have predicted its demise.

In an age of glossy magazines and fast-moving news delivered via the Internet, the Eye, as it is known, has retained its old-fashioned appearance.

Regular columns include "Street of Shame" on the excesses of British journalists, "Rotten Boroughs" targeting council corruption and "Pseuds Corner" poking fun at pompous prose and corporate jargon.

Private Eye has been the subject of high profile libel cases, most notably in 1976 when the late entrepreneur James Goldsmith issued more than 60 writs against the magazine and its distributors and wholesalers.