Toby Young Toby Young

From our archive: Toby Young interviews Sir David Frost

oldS2Sir David Frost, one of Britain’s greatest broadcasters, has passed away today at the age of 74. From our archive, here is Toby Young interviewing Frost in 2007 following the release of Frost/Nixon, the film chronicling his series of interviews with Richard Nixon. As Toby reveals, Frost was revelling in the new found interest of his broadcasting legacy.

Sitting in one of the green rooms at Yorkshire Television on a Saturday afternoon in Leeds, it’s difficult to reconcile the man I’m watching on the monitor with the David Frost of legend. He’s recording four back-to-back episodes of Through the Keyhole to be broadcast on BBC2 later this year and he’s finding it difficult to muster much interest in his current guest, a former soap star called Lee Otway.

‘So, Lee, is Celebrity Love Island the biggest thing you’ve ever done?’

Could this really be Sir David Frost, OBE, the man who has interviewed the last six British prime ministers and the last seven American presidents? The man whose annual garden party at his house in Chelsea attracts a dazzling array of senior politicians and A-list celebrities? The man who presented the most-watched political interview ever broadcast on American television?

In fact, David Frost has been juggling these two personae — the lowbrow and the highbrow — from the moment he burst into public consciousness as the host and co-creator of That Was The Week That Was in 1962. One minute he’s interviewing micro-celebrities, the next he’s coaxing headline-making admissions out of world leaders, as he did last year when he prompted Tony Blair to admit that the violence in Iraq was a ‘disaster’.

‘I think that diversity is what keeps you fresh,’ he tells me over dinner in Leeds. ‘You would have interviewed Saddam Hussein in a different way to the way you’d interview Julie Andrews.’

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