Remarkably, given the turmoil that engulfed the paper throughout his time in office, Donald Trelford was editor of The Observer for eighteen years. His tenure was marked by swiftness of thought and action and great energy, allied with a strong sense of self-preservation. One underestimated Trelford – and many did – at one’s peril.
Trelford rose fast from humble origins (both his grandfathers were coalminers). He achieved a first at Cambridge and was a pilot officer during his national service stint. Most of his journalist contemporaries left school at sixteen, learned shorthand and, when called up, were dispatched as corporal clerks to