It has been announced by his family that Sir David Frost, veteran British broadcaster, presenter, satirist and TV innovator died while giving a speech aboard the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth. He was 73 and had been involved in TV broadcasting for over 50 years. It is believed he had a heart attack. He was still doing interviews for Al Jazeera English up to his death.
Frost is probably most well known in the USA for his famous series of interviews with disgraced former President Richard Nixon. He worked first at the BBC and became well known in Britain through his fronting the weekly BBC satirical show "That Was The Week That Was", usually simply called "TW3". The programme mixed comedic and satirical looks at politics and the week's news, scathing interviews with individuals including politicians and slum landlords and featured Millicent Martin singing the show's opening number which featured comments on the week. She was a magnificent singer and could deliver heartrending songs about tragic events. This clip is from a retrospective of the year and features a hymn on the death of President Kennedy. It gives gives you some flavor of the show.
And in this week in particular, it is only right to show an extract from their last show commenting on the race position in the USA at the time of the "I have a dream speech". (Note some will find this offensive).
The "nigger minstrels" included in the song are also an attack on a popular BBC music show "The Black and White Minstrel Show" in which the men sang easy listening style while wearing black face makeup. (Needless to say none of them were black.)
After TW3 was cancelled, Frost went on presenting and interviewing in a couple of shows similar to TW3 on both BBC and independent television. Like TW3 they were academies for upcoming writers and comedians and influenced, among others, members of the Monty Python team.
Prior to the 1980s British television was mostly broadcast from late morning or lunchtime, the BBC using some to show educational programming for schools. The then Independent Television Authority gave regional franchises to separate companies however at the start of the 80s they decided that there should be a national station to cover the breakfast period. Frost was among the "Famous Five" group of TV presenters and news people who were shareholders in "TV-am" which won the early morning franchise.
Frost retained his side of an entertainer. He was the presenter of a long running panel show "Through the Keyhole" in which minor celebrity guests guested the identity of the owner of a home (usually another minor celebrity) shown in a film clip of the interior.
In 1993 Frost returned to the BBC as an interviewer on "Breakfast with Frost". In 2006 he joined Al Jazeera when they started AJE.
In the bittersweet words of Millicent Martin's opening song "That was the week that was, it's over, let it go"