David Frost: George Bush Snr was my best interview

Master interviewer says getting the president to open up is his proudest moment

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Veteran interviewer Sir David Frost has said that the interview he is most proud of is his 1989 encounter with George Bush Snr.

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Speaking in the new edition of Radio Times, Frost explained why he fondly remembered the interview with George HW Bush at the new President’s country retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine: “It’s when you get something from a person who everybody told you would not give at all,” Frost said. 

“Everybody had said that he never relaxed on television,” Frost added, “[but] although we’d never met before, within 10 or 15 minutes he was talking just so frankly about his family and the daughter he lost through leukaemia. He was direct and everything that he is in real life, but he’d never been seen that way on television.”

Although he didn’t cite it as his favourite interview, Frost did discuss his legendary series of conversations with Richard Nixon in 1977. “One wouldn’t worry about it eclipsing anything,” he said, when asked if he minded it being better remembered than his other work. “It was such a great experience that I wouldn’t have wanted to be without that in my life.”

Frost – who also discussed how his refusal to re-do an interview with his former friend Henry Kissinger had nearly ended his carrer – said the secret of the Nixon interview was catching his subject cold. “I had insisted on sole control,” Frost recalled. “That he wouldn’t know any of the questions in advance. So there was absolutely no legal barrier to me asking him whatever I wanted.”

Frost’s new documentary Frost on Interviews will be shown on BBC4 next week.

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Read the full interview in the new Radio Times, on sale today.