Hacking saga shows truth is stranger than fiction

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If the story of the downfall of the News of the World had been, say, a John Grisham plot, mashed up into a film by David Lynch, would we have thought it was believable?

Or would we have been chucking popcorn at the screen, trying to read the freebie magazine to see what other more realistic movie we could be watching, or snoring through the entire thing?

I say this because – as ever with old clichés (they’re there because they’re right) – truth really is stranger than fiction.

If I’d read what has happened in a book, I’d have put it down to the author trying too darn hard to keep his or her readers interested.

As a semi-news junkie myself, I’ve found the saga gripping. I say semi-junkie as I’m not addicted to all news though.

Remember the MPs’ expenses and how that was drip-fed to us? That was managed scandal, a small portion a day to truly whet our appetites and make us hungry for more.

So while it was satisfying, we all knew that it wasn’t quite the real rush, an untameable story. This saga though, has its own legs and no-one’s managing the devastation which it is causing.

The phone hacking scandal has involved a newspaper or two, media moguls, a redhead with tumbling curls, politicians, the royals, the Met, a shaving foam pie, footballers (George Best, I read, could have been a victim) and, of course, Millie Dowler.

See, what kind of plot is that? It needs a guide book just to make sense of it, or at least an appendix or two for a quick refresh about the twisted and turning tree of impropriety which keeps relentlessly growing, like Enid Blyton’s magic Faraway Tree.

Except there’s nothing magic in this story and the land at the top is one I’m not sure I’m prepared to live in.

This story has embroiled the prime minister, bought a business deal crashing to its knees and then keeps on giving and giving as each day passes, even down to the Benny Hill antics of the MPs’ committee.

If it was a movie it’d need to be played over and over so that all the subtleties and changes of direction could be fully understood.