David Frost (broadcaster)

From Academic Kids

This article is about the British television personality. For other people of the same name see: David Frost.

Sir David Paradine Frost OBE (born April 17, 1939) is a British television presenter. He was born at Tenterden, Kent, the son of a Methodist minister and attended Gillingham Preparatory School and then Wellingborough Grammar School.


Early Career

From early on, Frost allegedly declared his ambition to become a TV personality, despite attending Cambridge. Frost's well-known ability to network with the right people was in evidence there, where he edited the literary magazine Granta and was the secretary of the Footlights comedy troupe, which included people of note such as Peter Cook and John Bird.

After leaving university, he became a trainee at Associated-Rediffusion and worked for Anglia Television. At the same time, he kept up his cabaret performances.

That Was The Week That Was (TW3)

After several others declined the role (including Peter Cook, John Bird, and Brian Redhead), he was chosen by writer and producer Ned Sherrin to compere a pioneering satirical programme called That Was The Week That Was. This caught the wave of the satire boom in 1960 Britain and became enormously popular as well as influential, although it often riled politicians.

After TW3

Frost also fronted many programmes imitating the success of TW3, most notably The Frost Report (1966-7). On ITV's The Frost Programme, he interviewed a number of controversial characters such as Sir Oswald Mosley and Rhodesian premier Ian Smith (he accused Smith of denying promotion to black members of Rhodesia's army, navy and air force, only to be told by Smith that landlocked Rhodesia didn't have a navy).

In the late 1960s, a moving tribute to recently-assassinated President John F. Kennedy on That Was The Week That Was saw Frost's fame spread to the USA. LP recordings of TW3 became best sellers and so began an intensely busy period for Frost, including his practically commuting across the Atlantic (mostly by Concorde). His Frost on America show featured guests such as Jack Benny, Tennessee Williams and, in 1977, Richard Nixon.

He is perhaps best known to most ordinary people in the UK for presenting various panel games, including Through the Keyhole, which featured house expert Loyd Grossman and, more recently, Catherine Gee. After transferring from ITV, his Sunday morning interview program Breakfast With Frost ran on the BBC from January 1993 until May 29, 2005.

Frost has had numerous critics throughout his career. Satirist and contemporary Peter Cook disliked him, perhaps because he stole his Beyond The Fringe act impersonating UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (whilst Cook was performing the act at one theatre, Frost was performing exactly the same act at another). Though Frost demonstrated a great deal of respect for Cook, Cook was critical of Frost's career, feeling he had done little more than stolen Cook's early image. Cook often claimed, tongue-in-cheek, that the biggest mistake he ever made was saving Frost from drowning in a swimming pool. Further borrowing of comedy material from others caused Beyond The Fringe performer Jonathan Miller to dub Frost "the bubonic plagiarist". For these reasons and others, the satirical magazine Private Eye has been a persistent critic of Frost, particularly during the 1970s.

In addition, Frost's interview style of late has been described as sycophantic, and markedly different to his performance in the 1960s and 1970s which almost bordered on verbal bullying – it was from such fiery encounters that the phrase 'trial by television' was popularised.

Frost has been instrumental in starting up two important TV franchises: LWT in 1967, and as one of the Famous Five who launched TV-am in 1982. He owns a production company called Paradine Productions, after his middle name.

Frost is the only person to have interviewed all of the past six British prime ministers and the past seven US presidents (Larry King has also interviewed all US presidents starting with Richard Nixon). He was also the last person to interview HIM Mohammad Reza Shah, the Shah of Iran.

External links

  • BBC News Profile of David Frost (http://talkshows.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2Fhi%2Fenglish%2Faudiovideo%2Fprogrammes%2Fbreakfast_with_frost%2Fnewsid_737000%2F737846.stm)

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