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September 15 , 2007

Getting Over the X


It was the stuff dreams were made of. It became the ultimate nightmare. Being the first winner of the X Factor in 2004, Steve Brookstein should have had it all. Instead, he tells a story of a man sold down the river by his own record label as they championed the runner-up, G4, and forced him into an album of cover songs. This is the story of what really happened, from vicious personal attacks by Sharon Osborne and Louis Walsh to threats from Max Clifford about going public. A decade on, and Max Clifford is inside and severely discredited. So is Andy Coulson, an editor who ran many of the untrue stories about Steve. He has been dubbed a pub singer, a fake, a flop and bitter as the narrative that begun on the show became adopted by journalists who thought he was fair game, frequently reviewing gigs that they hadn't been to or inventing quotes he hadn't said, and always regulated by a toothless Press Complaints Commission. Ten years on, Steve is now able to lift the lid on the show itself and analyse for the first time exactly what Max Clifford said when he rang to say, 'Talk to the press and we'll bury you.'

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