Sunday, September 01, 2013

David Frost RIP

The Vinyl Word raises a glass to Sir David Frost, a giant of television, who has died suddenly aged 74. Anyone who was a teenager in the UK in the early sixties will vividly remember 'That Was The Week That Was', a live satirical BBC programme broadcast late on Saturday evenings which revolutionised TV. For the first time it was OK to take the piss out of the great and the good, from politicians to members of the establishment, and what a refreshing feeling it was. The suave and sometimes vicious David Frost was at the helm, with his 'Hello, good evening and welcome' introduction, biting humour and hard-hitting interviews, and it was must-see viewing from its launch in November 1962. Backed up by a great cast (see photo below), including Bernard Levin, Roy Kinnear, Lance Percival, Willie Rushton and Millicent Martin, no one was safe from the barbs that came their way. It was a turbulent period, encompassing the Profumo affair, which gave Frost plenty of scope for satire, and the assassination of President Kennedy.

Frost followed TW3 with more satirical series, including 'Not So Much A Programme, More A Way Of Life' and 'The Frost Report', which started the careers of John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, before going on to become perhaps the most important interviewer of the late 20th century on both sides of the Atlantic. Interviewees included most famously Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, several other US presidents, Colonel Gaddafi and eight British Prime Ministers. He was one of the founders of TV-AM in 1983 and hosted Through the Keyhole for over 20 years before hosting a regular series on Al Jazeera.
Final words too, for jazz and soul singer Donna Hightower, who was 86, jazz pianist Marion McPartland (94), Eydie Gorme (84), who enjoyed pop success both solo and with husband Steve Lawrence, and the Big Bopper Junior (64).


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