Arts and Entertainment

It’s odd how many collaborative teams wrote sparkling comedy together but not drama; John Wells teamed with John Bird for a series of inspired political duologues called “The Long Johns”, which managed to predict the seriousness of the banking crisis, while John Fortune and John Wells found common ground to produce a now-forgotten surreal comic masterpiece.

Media: Hello, good knight, and welcome: In the Sixties, David Frost was a satirist who made politicians squirm; Sir David is a gentler man. Michael Leapman took him to lunch

THE FIRST surprise about Sir David Frost, once the epitome of the bubbly, jet-setting lifestyle, is that he does not care for champagne. At L'Etoile, the venerable French restaurant in Charlotte Street in London's West End, a bottle of vintage fizz had been placed in an ice bucket on our table, compliments of the house, to celebrate his new year knighthood. With the greatest possible politeness ('How lovely . . . very touched') he had it swapped for a classy Californian chablis.

TELEVISION / Briefing: Famous for 50 minutes

If David Frost has hosted 25 shows with his name in the title, Clive James must be fast catching him up. In his latest offering, CLIVE JAMES - FAME IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (9.30pm BBC1), his name even precedes the actual subject. With the aid of copious clips, he examines the influence of the media on celebrity since the turn of the century. Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first to realise the power of moving pictures; he starred in a Presidential campaign film that culminated in his chopping down a tree that landed on the cameraman. Charlie Chaplin became the most famous figure on earth, and Rudolph Valentino the most desirable. His fame also proved his undoing, however; an illness became fatal when his advisers failed to find a doctor celebrated enough to treat him. As Beatrice Ballard's comprehensive first episode (of eight) shows, once the fame genie is out of the bottle, it is very hard to put back.

Media: TV trauma the tinsel cannot hide: The chill winds of deregulation are interfering with broadcasters' seasonal cheer. Maggie Brown detects a deep sense of uncertainty

If television is in the business of good cheer, never before has Christmas seemed so unfestive for those who work in it. The old order is changing on January 1 in ITV, BBC and Channel 4, giving rise to massive uncertainty.

Major to be Frost's first guest on BBC

The Prime Minister, John Major, will be the inaugural guest when the Sunday morning interview and current affairs programme Breakfast With Frost switches channels from TV-am to BBC 1 next month.

Media / Talk of the Trade: A poor advertisement

THE first British Academy Advertising Awards at the Albert Hall on Sunday were to be avoided. First, there was a grim cold dinner: the thick hunks of chewy beef made Selina Scott's Sainsbury recipe (pasta with mozzarella: best retail ad) seem amazingly tempting. Second, there was no attempt to stick to the timetable; an event starting at 5pm stretched far into the night. Third, as David Frost, the compere, admitted, there were far too many award categories: 29 in all. The industry's bible, Campaign, pulled out two weeks before the ceremony, saying it was too badly organised. Much more thought is needed if it is to happen again next year.

TV channel offers 'good sex' advice

'THAT'S an orgasm, isn't it?' said a female voice, after several seconds of a happy wailing sound. The screen was then filled with a sketch of pink, bobbing, talking phalluses, to illustrate an item about impotence. This led into a discussion of the perennial question: does size matter?

RADIO / Whitewash won't wash

TWO TALES were told in The Jimmy Young Story (R2). One was about a happy-go-lucky West Country boy who, through bubbling enthusiasm and strict professionalism, crooned and compered his way into the nation's affections. The other, which occasionally slid into view before being swept under the plaudits, was of driving ambition, broken relationships and personal torment.

My Biggest Mistake: Naim Attallah

NAIM ATTALLAH, 61, is deputy chairman and group chief executive of Asprey, and managing director of Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Asprey SA Geneva. He became a bank manager before leaving the business in 1973 to become a consultant and impresario. The following year he co-produced The Slipper and the Rose with David Frost, and in 1982 was executive producer of Brimstone and Treacle. He owns Quartet books, The Women's Press and Robin Clark, and is the author of two books, Women and Singular Encounters.

Profile: Hello, good morning and welcome back: David Frost, returning to the BBC

On the last day of the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan, John Major sat in David Frost's box in the Mound Stand, an extraordinary mark of favour from a newly elected Prime Minister to a television celebrity whose star has been waning for 20 years.

Allegations of Birt links with Frost 'untrue'

JOHN BIRT, Director-General designate of the BBC, yesterday described allegations that he had risen to prominence in broadcasting because of his links with the television presenter David Frost as 'untrue and defamatory'. He said that if the claims, made by an MP in a Commons motion which carries parliamentary privilege, were repeated outside Parliament he would sue.

MP questions links between Frost and Birt

AN MP last night called for an explanation of any links between David Frost, the television presenter, and John Birt, deputy director-general of the BBC, after the announcement that the Frost On Sunday TV-am programme was to move to BBC 1 next
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