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ITV’s interview with Prince Harry was a missed opportunity

ITV

For days now, there has been great excitement about Prince Harry’s first UK television interview. Here, at long last, was a chance for a member of the great British press corps to ask the tough questions of the dilettante Duke of Sussex. Not for them, the soft-soaping, credulous quasi-therapy of an Oprah Winfrey light entertainment host. This would be probing, incisive, hard-hitting and accountable journalism at its finest.

So it was something of a disappointment then that Tom Bradby, ITV’s chosen man for the task, failed to live up to the hype. To be fair to Bradby, he had a tricky challenge. A longtime friend of the Prince, he was always going to face criticism for being too close to his subject. He also had to be respectful of the tragedy which Harry suffered at such a young age, while asking the difficult, but, necessary, questions about his interviewee’s (many) public statements concerning life post-Meghan.

Some, like Andrew Marr, thought the ITV veteran succeeded in his task. ‘Perfect click of right inquisitor, right subject, right moment,’ he wrote on Twitter afterwards. Quentin Letts of the Times agreed, writing that Bradby ‘proved commendably more rigorous than the queen of American daytime.’ A low bar, perhaps, but Letts offered up the exchange when Bradby listed to Harry’s ‘whinges about press intrusions’ and suggested that ‘he himself was betraying confidences.’

Such a moment was to Bradby’s credit but such flashes of interrogation were few and far between. He didn’t, for instance, point out that Fleet Street was overwhelmingly supportive of Harry and Meghan during their courtship, marriage and still largely up until their moment of departure. The reporting of respected journalists like Valentine Low of the Times on the Meghan bullying allegations was largely ignored, in favour of a focus on the now-largely irrelevant paparazzi of the 1990s.

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Steerpike
Written by
Steerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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