Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reporter's Phone Trick

The Scotsman
17 August 2013


Born: 21 January, 1936, in Arnage, Aberdeenshire. Died: 12 August, 2013, in Aberdeen, aged 77.

Ted Kidd, the doyen of the press corps in Aberdeen, was a journalist of the old school; he described his job as giving him “a ringside view of life”. […]

Those were days before mobile phones, when releases from Peterhead [Prison] caused the hacks to race south towards Aberdeen to secure use of the first telephone box near the village of Stirlinghill to phone the story over.

An apocryphal tale is that Kidd had a contact who worked for Post Office Telephones, and who quietly gave him a special key, explaining that behind each phone kiosk was a lock with which the phone could be turned off.

So prior to the next Peterhead incident, Kidd stopped at the box, and switched it off with his master key. He arrived back at the box to find it surrounded by angry hacks, about to press south to find the next working phone kiosk.

Kidd quietly waited until they departed, slipped round the back, and turned on the phone line again. […]