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The Fleet Street Sewer Rat [Hardcover]

Mark Watts
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Feb 2005
This is the inside story of "Fleet Street" written by an insider who sheds
light on its grubbiest corner. Tabloids and broadsheets alike may be fearless
in exposing the antics of the rich, the famous and the powerful, yet they
would rather this particular "stone" be left unturned. For underneath this
stone – in the pit of the gutter – lie some tawdry and questionable

The book’s central character is Benjamin Pell, better known as "Benji
the Binman". He made his fortune – and became infamous – by raiding the
rubbish of lawyers and other professional advisers to famous clients and then
selling documents he scavenged to the Press – and others. Mohamed Al Fayed and
Sir Richard Branson are among those who also received the "fruits" of his
labours. Sir Elton John, All Saints, Robbie Williams, Jonathan Aitken, Neil
Hamilton as well as, er, Mohammed Al Fayed and Sir Richard Branson, are among
the long list of famous people who fell victim to his nocturnal prowling. A
thief, a cheat and a liar Pell, who is possessed of a formidable intelligence,
lives on the edge of madness. A High Court judge described his method of
making a living as "despicable" and "contemptible".
The book exposes his activities and lifts the lid off cheque book journalism
in Britain at its very best, its very worst, and at its most hilarious.
Based on taped interviews with Benjamin Pell.
Foreword by John McVicar.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Artnik (27 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903906156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903906156
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

The Fleet Street Sewer Rat is a remarkable true story about a bizarre, surreal character who in four years broke more major news stories than most reporters do in a lifetime. But Benji the Binman stole the documents that were behind the stories.

He said of one his arrests, when the police downplayed his offences:
‘Well that of course was the biggest scandal of all ’cos otherwise the whole of Fleet Street would have had to be in the dock with me, and I don’t think there’s enough room.’

Max Clifford: ‘Benjamin Pell is no ordinary person by any stretch of the imagination.’

John McVicar: ‘Meeting Pell for the first time is like going down to beach for a swim and being confronted with a tsunami – most people just want to get out the cross and the garlic, and head for the high ground.’

From the Author

the muckraker who
got rich scavenging
celebrities’ binbags

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a good editor 19 Aug 2013
By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER
A frustratingly interesting book that covers a fairly known "Fleet Street Legend". Yet the book is a poor execution, needing a good editor to shine and polish the text. It is like reading a poorly translated legal text with many errors, poor structures and just zzzzzz..

I feel more "angry" that this interesting, important subject has been rendered quite impotent due to the poor production or packaging of the text. There are not many books I give up with along the way, sadly this is one of them.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Painful read. 23 May 2005
I am about halfway though, and it is a bit of a struggle. The writing is rather stilted, and does not flow easily - this is because the narative is based almost exclusively on interviews and video recordings of Benji Pell, the Sewer Rat of the title; little further research seems to have been done by the author.
In addition, the production is dreadful; typos everywhere, and phrases that jar because they don't make sense ("Pell gave a similar account, saying which he filmed outside London Records." I beg your pardon?).
The author goes overboard with his annotations, perhaps because his only research is other people's. For example, when he states that 'Benjamin Pell was born on December 23rd 1963...' he references his birth certificate! Come on, this is ridiculous.
All in all, the story merited more research, better writing and better production values (particularly for a hardback).
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