Paul McMullan Leveson

Former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan proudly displays his scrapbook during a show and tell session at the Leveson inquiry

Three months, 63 witnesses, and £855,300 in, the Leveson inquiry has thrown up some memorable moments and quotes. And not just in Paul McMullan's testimony, although he does qualify his own special section in this post, obviously.

We've had nunneries, hot tubs, paedos, priests, switchboard operators and Sylvester Stallone's mum. It's been a wild ride.

Here are just a few of those quotes brought together in one place, please do add your own in comments or on Twitter to @journalismnews.

"This is not the Steve and Hugh show."

Actor Steve Coogan tells the inquiry that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, it's not just about the celebs.

"He flew us in on his private jet from LA to New York which was AMAAAAAZING."

Charlotte Church on singing at the wedding of Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch, who obviously didn't treat her all bad.

"I was effectively under house arrest as I went from friend's to friend's, rather as if I were a recusant priest at the time of the Reformation, going from safe house to safe house."

Chris Jefferies rather eloquently describes being vilified by the media in the wake of his arrest on suspicion of murdering Bristol landscape architect Joanna Yeates.

"First of all, it reflects badly on his imagination ... I have no idea what Mr Dacre's sex life is ... He may have some sort of strange sex life, but the point is it's not up to me to go into his bedroom, film him and then write about it."


Max Mosley responds to Paul Dacre's charge that he was guilty of "unimaginable depravity" with a quip about Dacre's own sex life. Not for the first time.

"Apparently I trade on my good name, and therefore there's a public interest defence in going into my private life. But I wasn't aware I traded on my good name. I've never had a good name. I'm a man who was arrested with a prostitute."

Hugh Grant sets the record straight about what kind of guy he really is.

Derek Webb: "They were made up of drugs offences, addictions, or crime ... and obviously lawyers as well". Lord Justice Leveson: "I'm not so sure about 'obviously'. Does that link them with drug dealers?"

Private investigator Derek Webb risks putting half the noses in the room out of joint as he lumps lawyers in with some (other) unsavoury characters.

"One is potentially abusing and raping children, the other is manning a switchboard".


Piers Morgan gives the only answer really possible to David Barr's question: "What's the difference between a paedophile and a switchboard operator?"

David Barr: "We're going to be adopting a different format today from that which we've followed thus far. I believe the term is called hot-tubbing." [sniggering in the court] Leveson: "Don't laugh, it is. That's in Australia though. It doesn't have to be called that here."

"Hot tubbing": A legal term that might have seemed more at home in one of Paul McMullan's celebrity sting stories.

"Take that as topspin ... It's heightened reality ... It's a shaggy dog story ... I heard that in the pub once ... It was simply a pub legend." (repeat ad nausem).

Former News of the World TV editor Sharron Marshall describes the scientific approach to researching her book, "Tabloid Girl - A True Story"...

Leveson: "What do you mean by the word 'topspin'?" Marshall: "Oh, I'm sorry, I just mean..." Leveson: "Lies?"

...and Leveson quickly debunks it.

And now for Paul McMullan's special section:

"I swapped Sylvester Stallone's mother for David Beckham."

The former News of the World hack harks back to playground days, when swaps was for football stickers and pogs rather than strangers' mobile numbers.

"I remember the programme Friends had an episode where one of them hacked into the phone of another of them to see if they were having an affair and it was all very jolly and what a joke that was."

The "Monica Defence": Easily as audacious an attempt at mitigation as its notorious predecessor.

"Sienna Miller should be cock-a-hoop to have 15 photographers outside her house harassing her because – who's she?"

McMullan explains how Miller has it the wrong way round. Being chased down the street late at night by 15 men is really the sincerest form of flattery.

"So there's two of us, in our underpants, running through a nunnery at midnight after getting the priest."


And later describes the admirable lengths he went to, here as his alter-ego "Brad the rent boy", to get a story.

"Would I have bought it? Tell you what, sometimes I wouldn't have bought the News of the World even though I was working for it, but the British public carried on."

Perhaps the most thought-provoking revelation from the inquiry so far was that Paul McMullan's journalism was, at times, beneath even himself.

And finally... "Privacy is for paedos. No one else needs it."

So self-evident a statement as to need no explanation from me.

So Merry Christmas fellow Leveson botherers, see you for more antics in the New Year!

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