Back in January this blog launched a bingo card to test the degree to which the Daily Express relies upon an apparent rota of well-worn subjects for its front page each day - from its ubiquitous weather stories to tried and tested scare stories about foreigners.
The bingo card was based on some fairly rudimentary science and it looked like this:
Now, after 42 days and a three week wait for the final cross in a box, it is complete. For a while it looked like it might be over far more quickly after Diabetes and The Weather both appeared on day one. Pensions and the EU followed the next day and Foreigners and Kate Middleton weren't far behind (the below chart shows the number of days waited for each topic to appear for the first time):
During the 42 days it took to complete the card, only four days saw the Express overlook one of its dozen hot topics. On average there were 1.5 bingo card topics per day on the front page, boosted by five 'hattricks' (days on which the Express ran three bingo card stories on the front page).
Of course there was one story which outnumbered all of the others by far. The weather appeared on more than half (24) of the 42 front pages. Second place was claimed by a spate of scare stories about Romanians and Bulgarians (as the below chart shows, detailing the number of appearances by each topic):
Sometimes the day's news does coincide with this predetermined agenda - on stories such as the Queen's illness and the EU referendum. But when it doesn't The Express is not one to get distracted in pursuit of news stories that take it and its readers away from a very well defined path.
Even on the days when the bingo card drew a blank, the variation wasn't particularly dramatic - in a couple of instances the difference was a different member of the royal family or a different illness.
So say what you like about The Express but clearly it is confident that it understands the limited array of interests and fears that concern its readership and gives them what they want. It may even consider it a badge of honour that no other newspaper is so predictable.