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"Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits."

A British newspaper trope, basically involving the gratuitous placing of pictures of semi-naked people in a newspaper. Of course, when we say "people" we really mean "young attractive women."

The most famous (or infamous) example is The Sun and its "Page Three Girls", one of whom poses topless on the third page of each day's issue (unless something big and tragic has happened). There's some quote from them on an issue of the day – in which, by extraordinary coincidence, they invariably agree with the Sun's right-wing editorial stance. Some of the "models" used to be as young as 16 until the law was changed.

In Germany, these are called "Page One Girls", although the nude pictures are (most of the time) placed below the fold. The Austrian equivalent of the Sun, "Kronen Zeitung" has a smaller photo on page 7 or 9 (yet).

The Sun is not alone in this, although other papers do it with celebrities posing for magazines and revealing slightly less. Even middle-class tabloid The Daily Mail has twice done double-page spreads on naked female student calendars, and several other tenuous reasons such as a drop in the share price of a clothes retailer. It also did a spread on boots with the model wearing just boots. Nothing was exposed, and the Daily Mail is 'lower middle class' at best, but still...

"Excuses" for this sort of thing are legion:

  • It's cold -- here's one to warm you up.
  • It's warm -- she's so happy, she's topless!
  • The national side have a big match on -- here's one to show them our support.
    • Bear in mind that the chances of the players actually seeing said pics pre-match are rather low. One, because of the Day Delay. Two, no self-respecting national manager wishing to enforce a "no sex before a match" rule is going to let them near one. Three, the WAGs (Wives And Girlfriends) are going to have something to say about their men ogling Jenny from Jarrow -- your average Page Three Girl rarely gets the dignity of a surname in the paper.
  • We've won -- tops off time!
  • We've lost -- let's cheer everyone up.
  • There's an election on -- let's get three models to represent the three big parties and have the appropriate one remove her top depending on who "won" the previous day.
    • The Sun did precisely this in 2005.
      • Incidentally, in the 2010 General Election in the UK, the Sun threatened that if the Tories didn't win, they would stop making page three girls.
        • But they didn't win... not properly anyway.

The Sun will often include a comment (ostensibly) from the model in question about some topical story, under the heading "News in Briefs". Recently these have moved away from Alan Davies's "Jenny from Exeter thinks that war is bad" to the frankly absurd.

With the news that the President of France was dating a supermodel, the papers grabbed all the revealing pics they could, including a nude shot with visible nipple for a Daily Mail interview with her.

Naturally, this sort of thing riles up some feminists (and others), and there are often calls for the things to be banned. One of the most famous anti-Page Three activists is MP Clare Short (Ind, Birmingham Ladywood -- formerly Labour). After another attack from Ms. Short, The Sun attempted to retaliate by trying to get hold of a picture of her topless from an ex. They got a picture of her in a nightie and a severe rap from the Press Complaints Commission (the UK's watchdog for the press). They also got a hold of a 19-year-old girl to be a new Page 3 model...named Clare Short.

It also has to be said that "aftercare" to former models is not good. Jane Warner graced the third page for thirteen years, between ages 16 and 29. This is a long shelf-life for a glamour model. Jane was exceptionally attractive, but it is pretty much universal that there are no thirty-year old Page Three Stunnas. Deprived of publicity and all the frills and lucrative personal appearances that come with being a Page Three regular, as well as losing the fanbase she had come to accept as her right, she descended into seedier "private shots" sessions that grew cheaper and more desperate, and then into outright prostitution and a drug habit. Like a footballer who is too old to stay at the top, she didn't know how to cope with the inevitiable descent from fame. The Sun, the newspaper that had made her fame, might at least have paid for counselling or rehab, but did nothing more than to treat her court appearances, imprisonment and mental illness as a handy source of stories. Old stunnas are left to sink or swim...

Even broadsheets can do this sometimes, although they usually try to tie the pictures in to some topical story -- usually an arts piece.

European tabloid papers are sometimes even less reserved, sticking said women on their front pages. The Hungarian Blikk has every single issue containing a well-endowed and completely topless shot right on the front page.

The most famous (or infamous) Page Three Stunna is Jordan, aka Katie Price, former-other half of Peter Andre. She was "retired" from Page Three after she got breast implants (which The Sun doesn't allow). A famous early one was Samantha Fox, who later came out as a lesbian (she sang a bit too). Another well-known former Page Three Stunna is Marina Baker (who these days often goes under her married name of Marina Pepper), a former Playboy Playmate turned journalist, author (of several books on white magic - she's a practicing Wiccan), environmental activist and local politican (in the suburbs of Brighton, England). Oh yeah, and back in her Playmate days, she had an affair with Daniel Craig.

A variation occurs in most Brazilian tabloids (costing $0.25!), which always include a half-nude girl on the cover.

The few American tabloids that do this have only bikini girls, tops firmly in place. This is for two reasons: American tabs are primarily aimed at middle-aged housewives, and the Moral Guardians are stronger in the United States than in Europe. (Canadian tabloids also must limit themselves to bikini-clad women. [1]) For these reasons, the publications that do feature skin are almost always men's magazines like Maxim and Playboy. One of the most famous American glamour models (or "pinup girls") is Carmen Electra. During World War II, glamour models played a heavy role in wartime propaganda, with sexy pictures being distributed to GIs to... relieve tension.

In fiction

Comic Books

  • A subtle reference appears in Ultimate X-Men. Jean boasts that she and Storm made pages one, two and three of Britain's biggest-selling paper, while holding up a copy of The Sun. Main Headline - "X-Babes Smash Real IRA Plot".


  "Also they have newspapers with nakedy ladies in and he got me one and I read it every night! I wish I was british now except for the teeth"


  • In Good Omens, Newton Pulsifer had to count the nipples of each model, in his role as a witchfinder.
  • One of the Discworld books mention the use of these, and suggest a picture of a Goddess to be moved to page three, because she's wearing half a toga..

Live Action TV

  • The Muppet Show, while ostensibly an American program, was actually filmed in the UK; and includes a subtle reference to this in the George Burns episode. As part of an "ambush interview", gossip columnist Fleet Scribbler mentions to Miss Piggy that his paper was thinking of doing a photo spread of her, "Something for Page 3". Needless to say, that joke was probably lost on the American audience.
  • One appears in Waterloo Road as a former pupil of the school.
  • Whatever It Takes is an average ITV one-off drama about a trainee police officer who gets caught having sex with a footballer and becomes one of these, suffering the full effects of celebrity. She is "replaced" by another one, oddly enough played by an actress who had been in Waterloo Road.
  • This song from A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
    • The Rupert Murdoch Wonderful Life sketch has Murdoch comment that "You need tits to sell a newspaper" after opening a newspaper in a world where he'd never been born and finding that page three is just more news.
  • From the Yes Prime Minister episode "A Conflict of Interest":

 Hacker: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.

    • Also referenced in an episode where Hacker's daughter is threatening a nude protest over endangered wildlife. He laments that the stunt will get her onto the front page of the paper — "and probably page three as well".
  • In The West Wing episode "Enemies Foreign and Domestic," there was a reporter at the White House who worked for a Russian newspaper, asking for press credentials because her work was brutally censored by the Russian government. She told this to Toby in a way that made it appear that she was some heroic, intredpid Lois Lane-style muckraker for daring to criticize an oppressive government....but she was actually censored because she ran one of these newspapers, who not only had naked women on every page, but also engaged in putrid yellow journalism, posting and mocking the high school grades of the children of government officials and such. Toby gives her the credentials but viciously lambastes her and wonders how she can waste what little wiggle room her country gives her with regard to freedom of the press on such trash.


  • Mentioned in the Tom Robinson Band song "(Sing If You're) Glad to be Gay":

 Pictures of naked young women are fun

In Titbits and Playboy, Page Three of the Sun

There's no nudes in Gay News or One magazine

But they still find excuses to call it obscene


  1. Canadian tabloids also have male Page Three Stunnas, although a bit further on in the paper.
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