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Key British David Frost TV interviews from the 1960s - Good Stuff
on 8 November 2013
The late David Frost was not to everyone's liking but even if you're not a fan this small collection of interviews from the black & white days of British TV is worth watching. The interview with Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith is fascinating on two counts: firstly because Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) had declared independence from the UK and live interviews of this nature rarely happened at this time, and secondly Mr Smith isn't visible and can only be heard via an intermittent telephone line (this was in the days before cheap and available satellite TV transmissions). The TV audience at the time would have been totally absorbed in this rarely interviewed politician.
You must watch the Savundra interview - it is spellbinding! It's my favourite, a 20-minute interview from 1967 featuring Doctor Savundra, a businessman who was one of the people behind a British insurance company that had collapsed a year or so before owing hundreds of thousands of pounds to policyholders, but who had sold his share of the business (and in his view any moral responsibility) just before it went under. Although under police investigation at the time of this interview, this was not public knowledge and Dr Savundra presumably could not resist the opportunity to appear on TV. David Frost first sets out the background to the collapse then begins his rigorous interview which Savundra handles without hesitation or annoyance but with evasion and arrogance. The live studio audience included former policyholders who had some truly upsetting stories but Savundra is not phased in the slightest, merely shrugging off the problems of the 'peasants'. Riveting TV but also dubbed 'trial by TV', this interview was controversial in the way Savundra was handled. Not mentioned in the DVD cover notes is that Savundra was arrested and tried a year later; he was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison. Released in 1974 he died two years later. I can't help thinking there was justice in the outcome.