David Yelland (journalist)

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David Yelland (born 14 May 1963) is a former journalist and editor of The Sun and founder of Kitchen Table Partners, a specialist public relations and communications company in London, which he formed in 2015 after leaving the Brunswick Group LLP. [1]

<i>The Sun</i> (United Kingdom) Tabloid newspaper from the United Kingdom and Ireland

The Sun is a tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. As a broadsheet, it was founded in 1964 as a successor to the Daily Herald; it became a tabloid in 1969 after it was purchased by its current owners. It is published by the News Group Newspapers division of News UK, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Since The Sun on Sunday was launched in February 2012, the paper has been a seven-day operation. The Sun previously had the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, but it was overtaken by rival Metro in March 2018.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.


Early life and education

Born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Yelland was adopted at birth by Michael and Patricia Yelland of York. [1] He has a younger brother, Paul. Yelland subsequently traced his birth father, now deceased. [1] [2] Yelland's natural mother was a children's writer from Harrogate, who died before he could meet her. [1] In childhood he suffered alopecia and after wearing a series of wigs he decided to go without them when he was 31 and living in New York. [1]

Harrogate town in North Yorkshire, England

Harrogate is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens. 13 miles (21 km) away from the town centre is the Yorkshire Dales national park and the Nidderdale AONB. Harrogate grew out of two smaller settlements, High Harrogate and Low Harrogate, in the 17th century. Since 2013, polls have consistently voted the town as "the happiest place to live" in Britain.

Yorkshire historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

Yelland was educated at Brigg Grammar School (now known as Sir John Nelthorpe School) in Brigg, Lincolnshire from 1976–81, [3] followed by Coventry Polytechnic (now a university), where he obtained a BA in Economics. He was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party. [4] He later studied at the Harvard Business School in 2003, [1] sponsored by News International. [5]

The Sir John Nelthorpe School, is a secondary school and sixth form on Grammar School Road and Wrawby Road in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, England. The present school was established in 1976, and has a timeline through earlier schools to that established by Sir John Nelthorpe in 1669.

Brigg market town in North Lincolnshire, England

Brigg (/'brɪg/) is a small market town in North Lincolnshire, England, with a population of 5,076 in 2,213 households, the population increasing to 5,626 at the 2011 census. The town lies at the junction of the River Ancholme and east–west transport routes across northern Lincolnshire. As a formerly important local centre, the town's full name of Glanford Brigg is reflected in the surrounding area and local government district of the same name. The town's urban area includes the neighbouring hamlet of Scawby Brook.

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (18 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.


Yelland's first journalism post after university was at the Buckinghamshire Advertiser . [1] He was a trainee with Westminster Press, then part of Pearson, and worked on a series of regional papers including the Northern Echo and the North West Times in Manchester. [4] Yelland was hired as business editor on The Sun in 1992 by then-editor Kelvin MacKenzie, [6] [7] and became deputy editor of New York Post in 1995, [1] as well as a speech writer for Rupert Murdoch. [7]

Kelvin Calder MacKenzie is an English media executive and a former newspaper editor. Best known for being editor of The Sun from 1981, the publication was by then established as the Britain's largest circulation newspaper. After leaving The Sun in 1994, he was appointed to executive roles in satellite television and other broadcasting outlets, as well as being involved in a number of publishing enterprises.

<i>New York Post</i> Daily tabloid newspaper based in New York City

The New York Post is a daily newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com, the entertainment site Decider.com, and co-produces the television show Page Six TV.

Rupert Murdoch Australian-American media mogul

Keith Rupert Murdoch, is an Australian-born American media mogul.

Editorship of The Sun

He was editor of the British tabloid newspaper The Sun from mid-1998 [7] to January 2003. His predecessor was Stuart Higgins and his successor was Rebekah Wade. [8]

Tabloid (newspaper format) type of newspaper format

A tabloid is a newspaper with a compact page size smaller than broadsheet. There is no standard size for this newspaper format.

Stuart Higgins is a British public relations consultant and former newspaper editor.

His editorship was largely liberal and in an interview with The Guardian towards the end of his editorship he described himself as "a progressive liberal". He did the same in an interview with Tim Burt in the Financial Times in 2002 which ran on the front of the media section. Yelland says his favourite headline was "Is this the most dangerous man in Britain?" about Tony Blair, and his worst moments were publishing topless photos of Sophie Rhys-Jones (now HRH The Countess of Wessex) [6] [9] and running a front-page editorial asking whether Britain was being run by a "Gay Mafia," a front page he has since acknowledged was a mistake and contrary to his personal views. [4] During his editorship he regularly feuded with Piers Morgan of the Daily Mirror . [4] [10] Yelland appeared on the BBC Today programme and wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian on 29 September 2013 arguing for reform of the press and for the Royal Charter on its future to be adopted. [11]

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

<i>Financial Times</i> Daily broadsheet business newspaper owned by Nikkei Inc. and based in London

The Financial Times (FT) is an English-language international daily newspaper owned by Nikkei Inc, headquartered in London, with a special emphasis on business and economic news.

Tony Blair Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997. As of 2017, Blair is the last UK Labour Party leader to have won a general election.

Public relations

Yelland became senior vice-chairman of the PR consultancy firm Weber Shandwick in 2004. [12] He joined Brunswick in 2006. [1] At Brunswick, he advised businesses on media and crisis management. His clients have included Lord Browne, Burberry, Ocado, Lord Foster, Tony Ball (ex-Sky), Warner Music Group, Brookfield Multiplex, [12] Tesco, [12] [13] Coca-Cola, [12] and Cadbury-Schweppes. In 2015 he left Brunswick to form Kitchen Table Partners which the Financial Times reported would counsel individuals as well as businesses.


Yelland has written a children's novel about a 10-year-old who tries to hide his father's alcoholism, titled The Truth about Leo, [14] which was published by Penguin Books in April 2010. [15] [16]

Personal life

He married Tania Farrell in January 1996 at City Hall, New York City, but the couple divorced in 2004. Tania died from breast cancer in September 2006. Their son, Max, was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Shepherds Bush, London in August 1998. [1] [14]

Yelland is now married to Charlotte Elston, director of communications at BBC Worldwide. [17] On 30 September 2012 they announced the birth of their daughter in The Times.

Yelland said in 2009 that he checked into rehab for alcoholism in 2005 and has not drunk alcohol since. [14] He said his novel was written both for children and adults, and a further theme is that of a young boy who has lost his mother. The book is dedicated to the memory of Tania, and to Max.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. [4] He is a board member of the NSPCC and in 2007 was appointed a Life Patron of the charity. [16] He supports Manchester City Football Club. He was a board member of the National Campaign for the Arts from 2010 to 2012. [4] He became a Trustee of Action on Addiction in 2012. He has been a Patron of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) since 2010. [18]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "A life in the day: David Yelland". The Sunday Times. 8 April 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  2. Sheridan, Dorothy (30 August 2006). "Obituary - John Sheridan". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  3. "Briggensian David Yelland appointed Editor of the SUN". Briggensians. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Murden, Terry (25 September 2005). "Interview: David Yelland: A new place in the sun". Scotland on Sunday. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.(subscription required)
  5. Jury, Louise (14 January 2003). "The quiet man of tabloid journalism returns to the US". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  6. 1 2 Morris, Sophie (16 May 2005). "My Mentor: David Yelland on Rupert Murdoch". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  7. 1 2 3 "Media top 100 2001: 14. David Yelland". The Guardian. 16 July 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  8. Billings, Claire (13 January 2003). "David Yelland replaced by Wade as Sun editor". Brand Republic. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  9. "Interview: David Yelland, Former Editor, The Sun & David Hill, Former Labour Director of Communications". Breakfast With Frost. BBC. 19 January 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  10. O'Carroll, Lisa (22 April 2002). "Yelland rubbishes new-look Mirror". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  11. Yelland, David (29 November 2013). "Leveson: Britain's press needs to learn humility – I should know - David Yelland". the Guardian.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Snoddy, Raymond (4 July 2005). "Colin Byrne & David Yelland: "Yes, we do have the same interests"". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  13. Day, Julia (9 June 2005). "Tesco bags Yelland for PR role". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  14. 1 2 3 Pidd, Helen (11 November 2009). "Former Sun editor David Yelland says alcohol nearly killed him". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  15. Jury, Louise (10 November 2009). "David Yelland: Drink almost killed me". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  16. 1 2 "The Truth About Leo". Puffin Fiction. Penguin Books. Retrieved 23 January 2010.[ dead link ] Review The Daily Telegraph 3 April 2010
  17. Mandrake (1 June 2010). "Some sunny day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  18. Digital, Modular. "Nacoa - The National Association for Children of Alcoholics - David Yelland". www.nacoa.org.uk.
Media offices
Preceded by
Stuart Higgins
Editor of The Sun
Succeeded by
Rebekah Wade