Ian Gallagher

Mail on Sunday

Ian Gallagher’s range and versatility is amply apparent in these entries. So too is his rare ability to gain the trust of the people he interviews, often those whose lives have been upended by tragedy or seismic events, as with the Dee sisters who lost their mother and two of their siblings in a terrorist attack in Israel, or the troubled Tory MP caught in a sex and drugs scandal. What marks Gallagher’s work above all else is his always-entertaining writing.

In previous portraits, Rebecca Loos emerges as almost cartoonishly one-dimensional – yet in his world exclusive interview Gallagher draws from her details which paint a far more rounded picture, and cast her life in a different light. Stories from her childhood, for instance: being wrongly accused of stealing her piano teacher’s gold bracelet, something that helped forge her sense of injustice. Every facet of her relationship with Beckham has been scrutinised unsparingly in the past yet Gallagher still managed to mine fascinating new material. This captivating piece, in which Ms Loos delivers her scathing response to David Beckham’s Netflix documentary, was picked up around the globe. It was Gallagher’s sharp eye for detail that made his interview with Keren and Tali Dee in Israel’s West Bank simultaneously affecting and uplifting. Tali tells him that she rested her head on her dying mother’s chest and listened to her heart beat then, a week later, after her heart was donated, heard ‘it beating inside someone else’. Alongside this were more quotidian but nonetheless poignant recollections about life with their mother and two sisters. It made for a moving, sensitively handled portrait of a family cleaved apart by random violence. The third entry is another scoop. A contact told Gallagher that a Tory MP embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal wanted to meet him. The MP, David Warburton, was angered by the result of a Parliamentary inquiry into his conduct and was willing to give an interview. Gallagher coaxed from him a very reluctant confession: that he snorted cocaine with an attractive woman half his age. Warburton also revealed he was resigning his seat, giving Rishi Sunak another by-election headache and providing the MoS with a major news story in addition to a three-page interview. Once again, it was the fine detail that made this piece memorable. Gallagher wrote of Warburton’s wife (who joined the interview via FaceTime and contributed throughout), describing how ‘her voice, faint, fights its way out of the phone. It is easy to imagine her as being more strident in person. Far from fitting the cliche of a wronged-but-submissive politician's wife, her loyalty is fierce and vocal, and she will interject in a similar fashion several times over the next few hours’.