Another ‘pre Metro’ free daily

In our list of pre-Metro’s (launched before February 1995) free daily newspapers (see previous post), one title at least is missing: “Tonight”, a free daily distributed five days a week in the afternoon in the London subway from July 1994 on, half a year before Metro Stockholm was launched.

The paper was funded by Derek Clee, who had made a fortune as a tumble-drier manufacturer based in Halifax. Editor was Peter Grimsditch

The paper was totally different from Metro; it was according to one of the ‘eye witnesses’ from Metro Stockholm who visited London in the late summer of 1994 “rather trashy, Brit tabloid small format, few pages, black headlines, celeb news etc.”

The Evening Standard reacted by distributing free papers as well. However, it scared Associated Newspapers enough to recruit ex-Metro CEO Thomas Grahl from Stockholm to start Metro London.

Thomas Grahl later became director of the free Stockholm daily Stockholm News, closed down in 2000 after pushed out of the market by spoiler Everyday by Metro International.

Major sources for this blog item, Roy Greenslade’s “Press Gang” book and Metro-founder Pelle Anderson’s memory. According to Press Gang, Tonight was an:

unappealing sixteen-page tabloid which made little if any impact. It couldn’t attract advertising and the distribution of its notional 100,000 print run was patchy. Well before the end of the year it was appearing only once a week and in January 1995 Grimsditch was fired. This under-funded, amateur enterprise limped on for a couple of months, but it wasn’t as foolish a notion as it seemed at the time. It gave the Standard’s owners, Associated, something to think about. Could a paper given away to London commuters really work?

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