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Friday, February 19, 1999 Published at 19:41 GMT


Radio row over Hutchence posters

Paula Yates and her daughter at Michael Hutchence's funeral

Talk Radio is denying responsibility for fly-posters bearing its logo which feature a crude joke about Paula Yates and her late partner Michael Hutchence.

The national commercial station insists it has nothing to do with the posters, which show Ms Yates holding an urn with the slogan "The only Ashes England will bring back this year" underneath.

INXS singer Hutchence - the father of Yates' daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily - committed suicide in a Sydney hotel room in 1997.

Her solicitor Anthony Burton said his client was among a number of people who rang him on Friday afternoon to tell him about the posters.

Ads have to be pre-vetted

"She has instructed me to take action. I cannot say anymore at this moment but steps are underway.

[ image: Talk Radio's new boss Kelvin MacKenzie]
Talk Radio's new boss Kelvin MacKenzie
"Sadly, it appears that these posters are rather more widespread than we first thought," he said.

The station already has to have its campaigns pre-vetted by the Advertising Standards Authority after a previous row over its posters.

Since then the station has been bought by a consortium led by former Sun editor Kevin MacKenzie.

A station spokeswoman said: "We have only just found out about it ourselves. These images were created by an advertising agency and were used on postcards sent to just a few trade contacts. They were never actually intended to be used as posters."

But Burton replied: "I hold Talk Radio responsible. I am holding a picture of one of these posters now and it bears their name."

Poster is 'seriously defamatory'

In a letter to the station he described the ad as being "in extremely poor taste" and said it had "caused considerable mental anguish and distress to Ms Yates, and is seriously defamatory of her".

Talk Radio chief operating officer Jonathan Goodwin said: "I am disappointed this poster made it into the public domain and regret any distress that may have been caused.

"This poster was never intended to be displayed publicly."

Earlier this week the station abandoned plans to use a poster showing a woman's breast disguised to look like former politician David Mellor at the Premiership football match between Manchester United and Arsenal, which was being broadcast by Sky.

Mr Mellor hosts BBC Radio 5 Live's Six-O-Six soccer phone-in. One of Mr MacKenzie's ambitions for the station is for it to take the rights to Premiership matches away from 5 Live.

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