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A different Formula for F1 magazine publishing

NEWS STORY
05/03/2013

Bernie Ecclestone has often said that Formula One isn't just competing against other sports but also other forms of entertainment as it is in the show-business industry. It has all the key ingredients going for it - speed, celebrity guests, huge sums of money pouring in and superstar drivers. However, despite their best efforts, some of the media which covers F1 sometimes fails to put it in an entertaining light.

At Pitpass we do our best and our independent, irreverent tone has become our hallmark. When it comes to magazines about F1 it doesn't always work out that way and this may be because the publishers, like many of the sponsors, seem to have a traditional background and come across as being somewhat straight-laced. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it often matches the attitude in F1 which thrives on formality.

Monthly magazine F1 Racing is published by Haymarket Group which is majority-owned by Tory peer Lord Heseltine and his family. Late last year it got competition in the form of GP International which is another monthly magazine about the sport and it happens to be edited by former F1 Racing editor Hans Seeberg. GP International is produced by Cambridgeshire-based Bright Publishing which is majority owned by former advertising manager Matt Pluck and publishing director Andy Brodgen.

There is now a new F1 magazine publisher on the scene and his background is hardly typical. It is also far from boring.

Last week a new magazine, simply called Formula, hit the newsstands. Lewis Hamilton adorns its cover and contributors include Sarah Holt, former BBC Sport reporter, and Natalie Pinkham who will this year take over the reins hosting Sky's F1 Show. Alongside their biographies on the magazine's contributors page is the name Paul Chaplin who is listed as being the magazine's publisher. In fact, Chaplin is a pseudonym used by Paul Baxendale-Walker, a former solicitor who was struck off in 2007 and directed and starred in X-rated movies before selling his adult entertainment company Bluebird Films last year to invest in magazines.

Baxendale-Walker sold Bluebird last year and started investing in magazines which brings us back to Formula. Pinkham, Holt and the magazine's other contributors are working under editor Ian Edmondson who some Pitpass readers may have heard of though not through F1. This is because Edmondson is the former head of news and assistant editor of the defunct newspaper the News of the World. He was arrested in 2011 on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages and was charged last year.

So who is Baxendale-Walker? His career in the porn industry was a far cry from his original job as a solicitor who specialised in tax. He was struck off in 2007 but was not left without a job. Baxendale-Walker founded Bluebird from 2005 and, according to an interview he gave last year to lad's magazine Loaded, he ended up on the other side of the camera through being involved with one of the adult stars.

Baxendale-Walker created Bluebird by working with a team of well-established porn stars and it became one of the leading adult entertainment producers worldwide. According to reports in tabloids, Bluebird was behind a string of X-rated titles with bizarre names such as Ello, Ello: Lust In France and Sugar Daddy.

Last year the Guardian reported that Baxendale-Walker introduced himself as Paul Chaplin in an interview with the newspaper and it added that one of his starring roles was as the character Jo-Kerr in Katwoman, a blue spoof of the Batman franchise. Reporters at The Sun newspaper know far more about Baxendale-Walker's on-screen exploits and anyone who feels inclined to read more about them can find plenty of lurid details right here.

Baxendale-Walker sold Bluebird last year and started investing in magazines which brings us back to Formula. Pinkham, Samos and the magazine's other contributors are working under editor Ian Edmondson who some Pitpass readers may have heard of though not through F1. This is because Edmondson is the former head of news and assistant editor of the defunct newspaper the News of the World. He was arrested in 2011 on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages and was charged last year.

According to a report printed in a trade publication in January, Formula also has its own grooming and beauty editor (yes, you read that correctly) whose name is Cheryl Carter and appears on the magazine's contributors page.

Some early reports have given Formula a thumbs up with F1 PR Emma Buxton saying on Twitter last week that she "had a sneak peek via client - looks great! Impressive contributor/ editorial team too!"

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