Arundel Castle estate’s tribute to Sir David Frost

Sir David Frost in Portsmouth, 2005.
Sir David Frost in Portsmouth, 2005.

Veteran broadcaster Sir David Frost, 74, died of a heart attack on Saturday, while on a lecture tour aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner.

Sir David, known internationally for his remarkable interviews with Richard Nixon, was married to Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.

A statement from the Duke of Norfolk’s Arundel estate said: “As well as his professional life as an international broadcaster David was a dearly loved family man who will be greatly missed by all of us.”

Sir David’s showbusiness career took him from secretary of Cambridge Footlights to presenter for al-Jazeera, via interviews with everyone from Mikhail Gorbachev to Margaret Thatcher.

In the 1960s he was known for conducting aggressive interviews, with Enoch Powell and Rupert Murdoch among his high profile targets.

Although he later became associated with a chatty style which sometimes seemed at odds with his distinguished guest list, Sir David was able to catch many interviewees off guard after lulling them into a false sense of security.

Former Labour leader John Smith once told him he had ‘a way of asking beguiling questions with potentially lethal consequences’.

He is justly famous for his remarkable interviews with disgraced former US President Nixon in 1977, more recently portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film Frost/Nixon.

Other noteworthy shows included encounters with Oswald Mosley, Nelson Mandela and (post-Lewinsky scandal) Bill Clinton.

Despite his many meetings with the great and the good (and the bad), Sir David also warrants a place in media history for his role in 1960s satirical comedy.

Talent-spotted by Ned Sherrin, he became link man for That Was The Week That Was - a show which pushed the boundaries of TV by poking fun at ‘establishment’ figures in a way which Mary Whitehouse thoroughly disapproved of.

When the short-lived programme came to an end, he defied expectations by continuing his TV career with The Frost Programme, and simultaneously managed to break into the US market.

By the time The Frost Report was being broadcast, he had worked with Peter Cook, John Bird, Frankie Howerd, several future members of the Monty Python team, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.

However, the one-time enemy of the establishment accepted a knighthood in 1993.

He leaves his wife Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, and three sons.