Martin Townsend (journalist)

Martin Townsend (born 11 July 1960) was the editor of and columnist for the Sunday Express.

Townsend attended Harrow County School for Boys (which became Harrow High School in 1975) and the London College of Printing. He gained his first job as a journalist in 1979,[1] working on Caravan magazine, then was pop music correspondent at Today.[2]

In 1987, Townsend became a freelance reporter, but in 1994 was appointed showbusiness editor of The Mail on Sunday's You magazine,[2] then in 1999 was appointed editor of OK!. During his tenure, he persuaded Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey to pose with chocolate bars in their wedding photos, as part of a promotion. In 2001, he was appointed editor of the Sunday Express.[3]

In 2006, Townsend had a cameo role in the television series Hustle in which he, as editor of the Sunday Express, bought an exposé story from some con men regarding the unscrupulous editor of a rival (fictional) Sunday newspaper.[4]

In 2007, Townsend published The Father I Had, an autobiographical account of his relationship with his father, who had bipolar disorder. This won the Mind Book of the Year Award 2008.[1]

Townsend was the ghost writer of Express owner Richard Desmond's autobiography, The Real Deal: The Autobiography of Britain's Most Controversial Media Mogul.[5][6]

Townsend married Jane O'Gorman in 1989. They have two sons and a daughter.

He left his job five months into a major editorial shake-up of the Express Newspapers group which was initiated in February 2018[7] The reorganisation of senior editorial staff began when Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror[8]) bought the titles owned by Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell in a £127m deal (£184m including pension liability).[9]

The Editors of the Daily Express and the Daily Star left immediately after Reach took over editorial control of the titles in February 2018.[10] Townsend left three days after the departure of Stuart James, editor of sister paper The Star on Sunday[11] in July 2018[12]


Media offices
Preceded by
Michael Pilgrim
Editor of the Sunday Express
Succeeded by
Gary Jones
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