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Frost whose warmth always prevailed- Sir David Frost OBE- 1939-2013

SirDavidFrostWe often refer to National Treasures, and to a degree this accolade is misplaced or overused, but not in the case of Sir David Frost who sadly died on the 31st August 2013, aged 74 years.

I suspect a significant part of the British population have some association with the work of Sir David whether it was him in 1963 anchoring a tribute on the satirical show The Week that Was the night after President Kennedy was assassinated, the trial by TV confrontation on the Frost programme of fraudster Emil Savundra, the seminal interviews with disgraced US President Richard Nixon, the lighthearted but insightful light entertainment programme Through the Keyhole, being part of the Famous Five at TV AM who brought Roland Rat to our screens, his sofa style interviews on BBC’s Frost on Sunday where behind every “top of the morning” was a insightful question disguised in avuncular camouflage, through to his later time at Al Jazeera English where his work rate ranged from Blair to Bhutta to Gadaffi and Lewis Hamilton.

It must not be forgotten that he had a distinguished broadcasting career on the other side of the Pond and, of course, his legendary commuter run on Concorde between London and New York.

There are few media polymaths and Sir David was one of that rare breed.

There are of course many who knew him very well and were much more closer to him than me, but I did have the privilege of knowing him and working with him on occasions over about the last 8 years. I and my brother and co founder of Blue Pencil, Stuart, within the last few months had a congenial lunch with Sir David at Pinewood Studios. His involvement with feature films should not be forgotten, and I had great pleasure in showing him the poster decorating one of the corridors at Pinewood for Slipper and the Rose for which he was its executive producer.

I always found Sir David kind, considerate and sociable. It was not uncommon for a Friday afternoon meeting to end with a glass of wine.

Sir David was discreet but humourous; shrewd but not arrogant; confident but not patronising.

I saw him in different contexts ranging from the time I accompanied him to appear on the One Show, to us talking team tactics for a celebrity football match at Wembley Stadium, to discussing business matters or mentoring me about my TV format for Law Watch; without fail his warmth and magnanimity would abide.

In a media age where one is branded and placed in a certain genre, Sir David had the accolade of presenting himself in different ways whether satire, to comedy to the heavy weight political interview- always executed with aplomb and never losing gravitas- including eight British prime ministers and seven US presidents.

His sudden loss is a great shock, and no more so than for his family including his wife, Lady Carina, and his children- they have lost a husband and father and it is to them our thoughts must go; whilst his friends and close colleagues such as Trevor Poots must try and come to terms with his tragic departure. We as a nation have lost a tremendous ambassador and stalwart of broadcasting.

I will always remember Sir David for his humour, humanity and humility. He leaves a great legacy and one that British broadcasting most not forget but build upon.

Julian Wilkins

 

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