What the papers say – August 21

University admissions, the search for Boris Johnson and a record sentence for a terrorist lead Friday’s papers.

There has been “joy” for those receiving their GCSE results as ministers apologise “for pain and anxiety caused by results debacle”, according to the i.

The Government has written to universities asking they prioritise the admissions of disadvantaged students “where possible”, with The Times reporting that may result in middle-class children being “forced” to take a gap year.

The Daily Star continues its visual characterisation of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson as a clown, reporting he knew the exams results would be an “utter fiasco” six weeks ago.

“Boris carries on camping!”, says the Daily Mail, which carries a photograph it says shows the Prime Minister is holidaying in Scotland amid the “extraordinary exams fiasco”.

A sharp rise in UK Covid-19 infections has The Guardian reporting of “lockdown fears for Birmingham”, a story also covered by The Independent.

The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, says the method used to count coronavirus cases at the pandemic’s peak meant hospital admission numbers were over-reported.

“Never let him see the light of day” reports the Daily Express, in a story also covered by Metro, after the Manchester Arena bomb plotter was sentenced to at least 55 years in prison.

The Daily Mirror says the BBC’s flagship TV news programmes are “doomed” as audiences move online.

And creditors have expressed anger at “retention” bonuses being paid to US executives shortly before their companies declare bankruptcy, according to the Financial Times.