Michael Buerk on Margaret Thatcher

Buerk presented the Nine o’Clock News on the night in November 1990 when Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister – but it did not make a great impression on him....


“Did I? Quite possibly. I might have done. It’s entirely possible but I can’t remember it.


“I interviewed her on a few occasions – and she was rather overwhelming in lots of ways. I did a big set-piece interview from Downing Street about the environment for a BBC2 programme. I remember boning up and boning up – but not boning up quite as much as she did. I remember asking the opening question and her answer ran to, I think, seven and a half minutes before I could struggle to get a word in edgeways. That was when I realised I was never going to be Robin Day.”

Was he nervous?


“I don’t think so. She was obviously a formidable personality but I’d just come back from quite a long period in Africa – where I had been talking to dictators who kept the body parts of their political enemies in their fridge. So I don’t think Mrs Thatcher was terrifying in that sense. But she wasn’t the easiest person to interview.”