The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Yes, that's correct. That's a fair summary. In the first six months, Mr Murdoch was just the kind of owner one would like: involved, not bullying. He came into a few things -- for instance, when he suggested I attack the Royal Family in the first budget because they had got the civil list increased, I didn't mind him suggesting that. When I investigated the facts, I found it was completely wrong, he'd misread it. That evening I went to the Sun newspaper and told the editor -- the editor said, "I'm doing a blast on the Royal Family", I said, "Just a minute, those figures you've been given are not right because you're misreading the calendar years", and I told Mr Murdoch too. But the Sun continued with the false story and I didn't do it in the Times and he never said a word about that.

So later on, of course, any kind of conduct of mine like that received a blast, but for the first six months he was extremely good: vigorous, encouraging me to change the staff, to infuse -- the Times circulation -- William Rees-Mogg was a very fine editor of the Times, but economic circumstances had taken the papers down and we had to try to revive them, and so Mr Murdoch was continuing, "Why don't you grab so-and-so and so-and-so", and sometimes I would grab -- I took on David Watt, the political person -- all with his enthusiasm.

By the way, I suppose we'll come to the budgets, but I said, you know, "Can we afford it?"

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