British ‘Daily Star’ Tabloid to Try Ending Topless ‘Page 3 Girl’

The nearly five-decade tradition of British tabloids publishing nude or semi-nude photos of women on “page 3,” started in 1970 by The Sun newspaper, appears to be coming to an end. The Sun ceased the practice in 2015, and on Friday its tabloid competitor The Daily Star also said that it would swap its topless models for a new “covered-up” version of the iconic “Page 3 Girl”—at least for a while.

But just because the models will no longer bare their breasts for the perusing pleasure of morning commuters doesn’t mean that The Star will cease featuring its trademark risqué content. A quick look at the paper’s headlines for Friday reveals stories about, “World’s 1st Human Sex Robot,” “Instagram Model Strips to Thong Bikini Inside Airport,” and “Olivia Atwood Jiggles Boobs to Celebrate Joining TOWIE,” among other highlights.

(TOWIE refers to The Only Way is Essex, a British reality show focusing on the nightlife and relationships of a group of millennials in the working-class London suburb of Essex.) 

 The move marks what The Guardian newspaper called a “U-Turn” for the “idiosyncratic” Star tabloid, which had reacted to the end of nude Page 3 Girls in The Sun by “increasing on its own commitment to the feature.”

The Daily Star is proud to continue the great British page 3 tradition,” the newspaper announced in 2015. “It brightens the day for our readers during tough times and has launched many successful careers.”

But when Star owner Richard Desmond—a major financial backer of Britian’s far-right UKIP party, and proprietor of such soft-core porn magazines as Asian Babes, among others—sold the paper to the company that owns the left-leaning Mirror tabloid, change on Page 3 appeared inevitable. 

The Daily Star is always looking to try new things and improve,” said the Star’s newest editor — and former Mirror associate editor — Jonathan Clark. “In that spirit, we’ve listened to reader feedback and are currently trialing a covered-up version of Page 3.”

Women featured in the Page 3 slot will now be at least scantily clad in lingerie or swimwear, according to a report by The Independent newspaper. 

The weekly Sunday Sport tabloid, however, reportedly will continue to publish topless photos of women throughout its paper—but the Sport makes few pretensions to report actual news, and self-consciously styles itself as a parody of the tabloid genre, running stories claiming that a statue of Elvis Presley has been discovered on Mars, and that “Aliens Turned Our Son into A Fish Finger,” according to an Independent report

Photo by Daily Star Online