Anorak | Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: David Frost Is Dead And Peter Cook Won’t Save Leigh Francis From Drowning

Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: David Frost Is Dead And Peter Cook Won’t Save Leigh Francis From Drowning

by | 23rd, October 2013

Through the Keyhole 1

“PETER never had any regrets in his life…the only regret he regularly voiced was that, at the house we all shared in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1963, he’d saved David Frost from drowning…”

– Alan Bennett in Some Interesting Facts About Peter Cook.

Peter Cook did David Frost no favours. Their rivalry was as bitter as vinegar but the potency mostly came from Cook’s side. He despised Sir David for his buddying up to the establishment and for what he perceived as Frost’s piggybacking on the talents of he and his Beyond The Fringe colleague’s work. Beyond The… made satire bite again but it was Frost who sold the concept to the commercial side of television, steering That Was The Week That Was to the centre of the nation’s heart. His story was at the heart of the best documentary on television last week, Sir David Frost: That Was The Life That Was.

After his early triumphs, Frost became a bona fide star flying back and forth from America on Concorde and dominating both US and UK networks but despite the gloss, the Colgate ping of his smile and his ingratiating manner there was depth to him, a river of molten steel running through it all. He got the Nixon interview when no one else could and built his own TV network to make the broadcast work when the traditional companies turned out to be too pussy to put the disgraced ex-President under the gun. Frost was an incredible interviewer, capable of setting a man trap and hiding the sharp teeth with a layer of velvet.


For anyone who loves television there was an anti-snobbiness about Frost’s work despite his time with popes and potentates, despite having interviewed every US president of his adult life time. Frost was also the brains behind Through The Keyhole, a devilishly simple and effective idea that grew up in an age before the hegemony of Heat , Hello and OK! made it easy to know not just what was inside a celebrity’s home but also their sex lives, their eating habits and practically whether they just had a bowel movement.

The resurrection of Through The Keyhole as a shambling, rambling wreck of its former self is sad and sadly inevitable. Like the movie industry that finds succour in sequels and remakes, television is running short of ideas and instinctively lunging for the past in the vain hope of rebottling the lightning. What he should really do is take a risk on new stars. Act to find the next David Frost, the next Kate Adie, the next Brian Hanrahan ( “I counted them all out and I counted them all back in again…” as the son of a Falklands veteran those are 13 words that can actually bring tears to my eyes).

Consider the man who has stepped into Frost’s shoes in the Through

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Posted: 23rd, October 2013 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink