A three DVD set from Network has been released featuring ten of these legendary shows.Interviews with Mohammad Ali, Christian Bernard, Enoch Powell, Moshe Dayan and James Callaghan and many others are show in their entirety.
David Frost, now an esteemed Knight of the realm hit the television jackpot in 1977 when he scooped everyone in journalism to land the must-see TV interview of the Century with disgraced ex-American President Nixon.
To top it all he got as near to an admission of wrongdoing and apology that the wiley old fox ever made on the public record.
As well as tempting Nixon with more money the President may have thought showbizzy Frost was a lightweight and would be a push over for someone who could charm the communist leaders out of their bunkers.
How wrong did that presumption turn out to be!
A quick glance of the sharp operator on display in these fascinating programmes would have disabused Nixon of his patrician assumptions about the TV star.
Journalism they say is the first draft of history and this is what is on display here.
We observe a “monster” on full display before history and the truth catches up with him.
More of the ex-Hitler Youth Leader later.
First we have Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith in the middle of announcing Independence [UDI] from Britain.
He is interviewed in all his petulance and defiance.
Enoch Powell being put on the spot about his “Rivers of Blood ‘speech on immigration.
Moshe Dayan preens in the aftermath of “The Seven Day War “.
Pride before the fall.
His disasters, public and personal came later.
Mohammad Ali beautiful and articulate.
It is intriguing to observe these “historical” figures living and breathing in the moment of their significance.
Christian Bernard became a world famous surgeon for the first successful heart transplant operation.
Here he is being pressed (much to his annoyance and surprise) about the source and morality checks for the supply of donor hearts.
Cardinal Heenan is respectively but solidly cross examined about then current moral issues of the day.
A bring back hanging debate is enlivened by an array of speakers straight out of ‘central casting’, from a ‘string em up charmer’ MP to a wishy washy sallow chinned youth talking about ‘State murder’.
An ex-prison chaplain who ministered to a condemned man has the final word on the true “cost” of such an issue on all those actually involved in the process.
By far the most fascinating encounter however is with a seemingly charming and twinkling elderly gentleman, one Herr Baldurvon Schirach.
Introduced as the former “Hitler Youth’ leader he presents much like his colleague Speer as a civilized and kindly person in thrall to the magnetic personality of Hitler now is in full possession of “his own forgiveness” of himself as to what he did at his Leader’s behest during the recent war.
It makes for intriguing viewing now that the historians have revealed the true extent of his crimes.
Facts that the judges at Nuremberg were ignorant or were kept in the dark about in the War’s aftermath.
The fluency and soothing effect of the man’s speech with its crisp English diction is truly heart stopping.
Frost’s closing remarks to Schirach at the end of the interview demonstrate his unease at what he has just witnessed from this ‘apparently’ amiable old man.
This is an interview Frost now describes as the most chilling encounter of his career.
This is all riveting material and deserves a new airing with this DVD release.
I would have wished for some extras (background material about the interviewees) and an up to date interview from Sir David himself as to how he now views this part of his career would be enlightening.
I don’t think I have watched a better DVD collection during 2011.
Frost On Friday DVD Sir David Frost Network DVD