David Frost tribute: The stars turn out to pay tribute to the late broadcaster at a memorial ceremony at Westminster Abbey

 

Sir David Frost was given a royal send-off as the great and the good of broadcasting gathered at Westminster Abbey to celebrate his life – and to enjoy a joke or two.

The congregation was so littered with household names that Greg Dyke, the former BBC Director-General who gave the address, observed that it was “remarkably like one of David’s summer parties – but without the alcohol”.

Mr Dyke praised Sir David as a unique talent who dominated the television industry, a family man and a “caring, funny and generous friend”.

The Prince of Wales accompanied Sir David’s widow, Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, to lay flowers on a memorial stone in the Abbey inscribed: “1939 Sir David Frost OBE, Broadcaster, 2013.”

Prince Charles attended with the Countess of Wessex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice. Luminaries from the world of television and entertainment included Ronnie Corbett, who read prayers, Julian Fellowes, Sir Trevor McDonald, Sir Terry Wogan, Esther Rantzen, David Walliams and Stephen Fry.

 

In a service that aped Sir David’s interviewing career – a mix of seriousness, bonhomie and satire – he was described by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, as “amongst our greatest communicators”.

Among the tributes was verse spoken by Joanna Lumley, co-written with musician Sir Richard Stilgoe, titled “A Sonnet of Sorts for a Star”. “Shall I compare thee to Sir Robin Day? Thou wert more lovely and more temperate,” she declaimed. “Earth has not anything to show more fair. Hello, good evening, welcome, Frosty’s there.”

The service included a montage of highlights from Sir David’s career, including his famous Nixon interviews.

John Sergeant said afterwards: “It was like the last  of the great Frost parties. It was perfect for him, absolutely perfect.”

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