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A working class hero is something to be
Having worked with a host of big names, from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to O.J. Simpson, Simon Cowell, Jade Goody and, currently, Imogen Thomas, he is one of the best-known PR men in the world, famous for breaking some of the biggest stories in newspaper history – and also for successfully suppressing ones that were ready to dominate the headlines. But behind the high level jousting with the hardened bootboys of the British media (and the decent types too), Max Clifford is a remarkeably straightforward and down to earth working class character, who – as it turns out – loves the life he lives.
Olaf Tyaransen, 15 Jun 2011
Well, not just charities. For example, you represented Robert Murat (original chief suspect in the Madeline McCann disappearance) for no charge. Do you take on people that you feel sorry for?
If I’m sorry about what’s happened to them, yeah. And that’s something that obviously I get a huge amount of satisfaction from doing. I’ve made a wondeful living from the media. I love it. I have a great time. I’ve never had a contract with anybody in my life. My whole business is a handshake, and that’s worked incredibly well for me – whether it’s been Muhammad Ali or Sinatra or Simon or anybody. And I enjoy what I do. If I don’t like something, I don’t do it.
How’s your relationship with the editors of papers like The Sun and The Star?
We’re all in the same jungle. I like to think that most editors of national newspapers at the end of 12 months will have enjoyed their working relationship with me, that the plusses outweigh the minuses. Sometimes you are working together, and sometimes you’re not. You’re in opposition. You’re often trying desperately to stop something that they would desperately love to print, that’s gonna sell a lot of papers, whether it’s The Times or The Telegraph or The Sun or The Mail. I mean, you talk to the editor of one paper today and he can’t bear me – and tomorrow he loves me. And hopefully, because I’ve been doing this a long, long time, I can share things around. I mean, Simon does one big interview and this year it’s that paper, and then next year it’s that paper, and then next year it’s that paper. And it’s not about circulation, it’s all about a balance. Because as I say, the biggest part of my business is public relations. I have lots of clients, so you know, someone comes up and does that – and they do a piece on this. There’s a restaurant we’re doing in Mayfair for example. It’s a Michelin-star restaurant that we recently got involved with, and they’re gonna feature the chef. I’ve done that this morning. I’ve done a big piece with Berlusconi’s girl, the girl that’s alleged to have been involved with him, for one of the papers – and in return they’re going to do a big spread on the restaurant. So hopefully it’s a win-win situation. It’s worked incredibly well.