Where did BHS money go? & 'war' over doctors

"Sharks who bled BHS dry" is the unapologetically damning verdict from the Daily Mail following the collapse of the high street retail giant.

In the paper's sights are the current and former bosses of the 164-store chain, which it points out has been a high street fixture for 88 years.

Image copyright Reuters

It says that retail magnate Sir Philip Green "pocketed" £425m while he owned the company. And in the 13 months since he sold it for £1 to consortium Retail Acquisitions, that company has taken payments worth £25m to cover management fees, salaries, legal fees and interest payments.

Although the paper does not actually say that either party has done anything illegal, it says that MPs will "come after" anyone guilty of impropriety.

The Guardian also leads on the same story, saying that Sir Philip's stewardship has been labelled by critical MPs as the "unacceptable face of capitalism". The paper calculates that he made £580m from BHS and points out that the businessman was listed at number 29 in the Sunday Times Rich List at the weekend.

The Times focuses on the one investigation that has already been announced. With a £571m pensions deficit having played a major role in BHS's financial woes, the pensions regulator is to investigate whether Sir Philip should be forced to pay more than the £80m he has already offered towards the shortfall.

"Crisis? Yacht crisis?" is the Sun's take on the story, as it highlights that Sir Philip has just bought a new £100m yacht that is "four storeys high and 300ft long, the same length as a football pitch".

Image copyright Rex Features

A Daily Mirror profile describes Sir Philip as a "foul-mouthed, tough-talking businessman whose number one aim is making money and woe betide anyone who gets in his way". Elsewhere, writer Brian Reade calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood "unless he sorts out the pensions deficit from his own deep pockets".

Some other papers analyse what went wrong with the store itself. The Daily Telegraph's Laura Craik explains that it was "the trendsetter that became a frump" and that it has been overtaken by rivals with strong well-defined brands. "As BHS has found to its cost, if you don't stand for something, you may soon find yourself standing for nothing".

The Guardian turns to no less an authority than Mary Portas, TV's Queen of Shops, for an answer. She says that British Home Stores (as it was known then) had "a place in the heart of the 1970s shopper". But, she adds, it has failed to change in "changeable times". In her hands, she explains, BHS would have been transformed into a mix of Tiger, Uniqlo, Primark and Ikea.

Only the Financial Times offers some hope that being put into administration will not kill off BHS for good, suggesting that "30 companies had expressed an interest in acquiring all or part of the business". The i has less faith, advising that customers with BHS vouchers should "use them as soon as possible".


Eye-catching headlines

Image copyright Thinkstock

The Bronze Age king who fathered half of Europe - Chromosome studies from across Europe suggest one elite noble from 4,000 years ago is at the top of a continent-wide family tree (Daily Telegraph)

Leicester star just inches from death - Young footballer Demarai Gray hopped out of a helicopter taking him to the PFA awards last night and was unaware of the danger of the aircraft's rotating blades (Daily Star)

Stubborn tower block resists demolition bid - It seems they really do build them tough in Merseyside as workers trying to demolish two tower blocks with a controlled explosion saw one take an hour to collapse while the other remained standing (i)

Time really DOES go more quickly when you're over 50 - The findings of the scientific study speak for themselves, but the paper puts the story on the same page as its revelation that singer Sheena Easton looks older at 56 than she did when singing with Prince aged 27 (Daily Mail)


The doctors won't see you now

Image copyright Getty Images

With the first all-out doctors' strike in the history of the NHS just hours away, the front page of the New Day reveals the results of a "shocking survey" that claims half of junior doctors will consider leaving the NHS if they do not win their fight against proposed new contracts.

The paper carries a "resignation letter" from one junior doctor, Ben White, who says he doesn't want to strike but "if we don't fight for the NHS and for patient safety, then who will?".

The Daily Star reports that the same Dr White actually announced his resignation live on ITV's Good Morning Britain yesterday. The Daily Mail is more cynical, suggesting the move may have been "just a political stunt" that was "more about publicity than principle".

The i leads on the view from the other side of the argument - with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt accusing doctors' leaders of "wanting war" over the issue.

But the Guardian's Polly Toynbee suggests in an editorial that it is Mr Hunt - along with the prime minister - who wanted this battle. She points out the pair rejected a "sensible cross-party compromise".

The front page of the Daily Mirror pictures Mr Hunt climbing into the back of his chauffeured car. The paper explains that he was driven just 50 yards in order to "dodge" a protest by doctors outside the Department of Health. "Stop running, start talking" is the paper's advice to the politician.

With battle lines drawn for the next two days, the Daily Telegraph reports that the British Medical Association has written to junior doctors assuring them that they cannot be held responsible for any patients' lives that are lost while the strike is ongoing.

The Times reports that ambulance workers are now threatening to "follow doctors on to the picket lines" after accusing Mr Hunt of breaking a promise on pay. The Sun focuses on the same line, saying that the NHS faces a "crippling summer of discontent".


Good ideas of the day?

Image copyright Thinkstock
  • In China, brides who are short of bridesmaids (blame the one-child policy) can hire someone to do the job (Financial Times)
  • A self-driving delivery robot is expected to be making its first drop-offs in south-east London next month. It can handle groceries, parcels or anything else small enough to fit in its cargo bay. (Times)
  • Romancing the Armpit will offer singletons in London a dating event with a difference. Love-seekers will sniff each other's armpits (i)
  • A former free-diving champion is to use a paramotor (a propeller on her back, attached to fabric wings) to fly 4,700 miles this autumn following the migration of swans from Arctic Russia to the UK. (Times)
  • Bristol Council is to use vinegar to kills off weeds as part of a year-long trial. (i)
  • An Asda supermarket in Manchester is to pioneer a "quiet hour" - with no background music or Tannoy announcements - to cater for autistic customers and their families. (Guardian)

Finishing the business for a fallen colleague

Image copyright PA

The tragic tale of an Afghanistan war veteran who was running the London Marathon to raise funds for wounded soldiers, but collapsed and died three miles from the finish, is naturally a story that is highlighted by many papers.

The Guardian says that 31-year-old Capt David Seath had raised nearly £700 for Help For Heroes before the race but the total has been rising ever since news of his death emerged.

"He died a hero" is the Sun's verdict, revealing that the total had passed £90,000 by last night. The Daily Telegraph says that, at one stage, 25 people a minute were adding donations.

The Daily Express highlights the vow made by his friends and colleagues to run the final three miles of the course in his honour, with Capt James Walker-McClimens explaining: "In the Army, we don't like unfinished business".

The Daily Mirror gives the story a full page and its headline comprises the words of the dead soldier's mother: "David achieved more in 31 years than most do in 70."


And finally, a very shaggy dog story

The amazing journey of a homesick sheepdog that trekked 240 miles in 12 days to find its way home will warm the heart of many an animal-loving reader.

The Sun - which headlines the story "240-mile Rover's Return" - explains that the border collie (actually called Pero, rather than Rover) had been given away to a farmer in Cockermouth, Cumbria, but found its own way back to his former owner Alan James in Penrhyn-coch, near Aberystwyth.

The Daily Mail suggests that, to get home, Pero would have had to walk 20 miles a day through the Lake District, the Forest of Bowland, the old industrial towns of Lancashire, Merseyside, Chester and the mountains of Snowdonia. It quotes Mr James as suggesting Pero must have a "satnav in his brain".

The Times makes the obvious connection with its headline "Beat that, Lassie", saying that it is an even better storyline than Lassie Come Home.

And just like the films, there is a happy ending. Mr James reassures the Daily Telegraph that Pero's travelling days are over. "I don't think it would be fair of us to send Pero away again. He obviously enjoys his home."