Tom Bradby steps out of Kate and Wills' shadow
It's two years since that interview, and now the 'Agenda' host has two feature films in the offing
For some, he will forever be the man who interviewed the Royal couple on their engagement. But after a bruising year, in which he buried his mother, Sally, less than a month after his first film premiered to critical acclaim, Tom Bradby is hopeful that people might one day talk to him about something other than William and Kate.
ITV's political editor is reflecting on 2012 – a year of marked contrast and a busy one ahead at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, central London, where it, and he, play host to The Agenda. The current affairs show is back for a third series on ITV1, on Mondays.
This Mothering Sunday, speaking for the first time about his mother's death in February 2012, Bradby admits he was overwhelmed by his loss. "It is right that a year after her death I should speak about it for the first time. It was a juncture in my life, a horrible one, as anyone who has lost a parent knows. My mum was a massive part of my life."
Her death, from cancer, came after the film Shadow Dancer –which he adapted for screen from his novel – appeared at the Sundance Festival.
"I had a string of professional highs that didn't mean much," he says. "In January, I was at Sundance, which was an intense high, and in February she died. One of the last things I did was get her a copy [of the film]. She was really pleased.
"I was very close to her and I was an only child. It makes you aware of having quiet family time," he says, adding that it made him resolve to closely guard precious days with his wife, Claudia, his three teenaged children, and his father.
This year is also set to be a busy one for Bradby, whose script for a remake of the 1986 film Defence of the Realm has already been financed. The search for a director is under way.
"The film follows a tabloid journalist who rediscovers his inner journalist's true self, as a newspaper group gets too close to the government," he says. The subject is particularly pertinent for Bradby, who, unwittingly at first, helped unearth the hacking scandal.
He has also adapted another of his novels, Master of Rain, for a "well-known American director". Both projects should go into production this year, he says, wary of the fickle nature of the beast.
His current concern is The Agenda, a half-hour romp through the week's news stories which has been hailed as a hybrid of Have I got News For You and Newsnight; it sometimes beats the latter in audience ratings.
This series so far has already thrown up some memorable moments. George Osborne, for example, labelling plans for a mansion tax idea from fellow coalition partners in the Liberal Democrats "a con", and David Miliband saying, "George Bush was the worst thing ever to happen to Tony Blair".
Bradby's wife was friends with Kate Middleton when the pair worked at the fashion chain Jigsaw, while Prince William and he have been friends since he let William borrow some recording equipment in 2005. The episode inadvertently led to the uncovering of the phone-hacking scandal after their phone conversation appeared in print and Bradby became suspicious.
No surprise then that Bradby was summoned for that engagement interview. "I have to say the publicity wave that hit me went on all the way through to the wedding. It was an interesting experience. Kazakh TV were asking for interviews, but by the time of the wedding I was like a cat on a hot tin roof," he says. "I was sitting there and you think people will think, has he sold himself? I'm a hack on one side of the fence and I started to feel I am in quite an uncomfortable place, but I thought the best thing to do was to get to the wedding and not say anything after that."
He insists he doesn't know the royal baby's sex, or of any potential names.
So, will Bradby, who earned his reporting stripes in Northern Ireland and Asia, be remembered primarily for the royal interview? He puffs out his cheeks, processing the thought, before saying: "I hope not."
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