BBC wanted me out, says Frost in farewell

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sir David Frost has described how the BBC eased him out of his position as the host of his breakfast time political show, ending a fixture on British television that had lasted for more than 12 years.

Sir David Frost has described how the BBC eased him out of his position as the host of his breakfast time political show, ending a fixture on British television that had lasted for more than 12 years.

In an interview with The Independent's Media Weekly today, Sir David said that BBC executives "persuaded" him to walk away from the show, which was screened for the final time yesterday. "We had a discussion about it and I was persuaded that this was the way to go," he said.

Asked if it was his idea to drop Breakfast with Frost - the veteran presenter is to be replaced by the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr - Sir David said that was "a very good question".

"I couldn't really tell you who came up with this idea first but I was persuaded in the course of the conversation," he said. "I was persuaded in the sense that I decided. I decided more than I was persuaded. There was a bit of both."

The presenter, who threw a champagne party at the BBC to mark the final Breakfast with Frost, said his programme would inevitably change with the arrival of Marr. "It's a personal vehicle and in future it will reflect his tastes where it used to reflect mine," he said.

Sir David, 66, who has been a broadcaster and interviewer for more than 40 years, returns to the screens almost immediately with a series beginning on Sky One on Sunday called The World's Greatest Sporting Legend, which he will co-present with Des Lynam.

Sir David will resume his relationship with the BBC in the autumn with a series of high-profile interviews from the worlds of politics, sport and entertainment.

He hopes to secure a rare audience with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, but, most of all, he would like to interview the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, a Frost Holy Grail for more than 30 years.

As he signed off after 12 years, some of those who subjected themselves to Sir David's cordial and respectful style of interrogation paid tribute to him.

Tony Blair said: "David's style of interviewing was often extremely deceptive, because - as I found to my cost on many occasions - although the question was always courteous, he nevertheless managed to get reams of information out of you. Breakfast with Frost is going to be missed."

Baroness Thatcher hailed Frost as "a giant of his profession", adding: "David practically invented the searching interview."

The final programme featured interviews with the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and Sir John Major - who also appeared on the first edition of the show, when he was in 10 Downing Street. The comedian Rory Bremner did impressions of Frost and many of those he has interviewed over the years.

Sir David signed off with his trademark farewell: "Top of the morning, good morning."

MEDIAWEEKLY, COVER STORY

Comments