Tag Archives: Richard Nixon

Frost/Nixon voted best broadcast interview of all time

David Frost’s memorable encounter with Richard Nixon in 1977 has been voted the best broadcast interview of all time by readers of the Radio Times.

The magazine held a poll in conjunction with the BBC College of Journalism’s Art of the Interview season, asking readers to vote on a shortlist of around 50 interviews.

The Frost/Nixon interview came first by a decent margin, winning 19 per cent of the vote. In second place was Kirsty Young’s 2009 Desert Island Discs interview with Morrissey, which received 12 per cent of the vote.

Ken Clarke’s calamitous interview with Victoria Derbyshire earlier this year – in which he appeared to suggest that some types of rape were less serious than others – was in third place, and Jeremy Paxman’s famous 1994 interview with Michael Howard, in which Paxman asked an evasive Howard the same question 12 times in a row, was fourth. Skip to around 3:50 to see Paxman embark on his quizzing Odyssey.


The full list:

David Frost/Richard Nixon (1977) 18.6%
Kirsty Young/Morrissey, Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 (2009) 11.6%
Victoria Derbyshire/Ken Clarke, Radio 5 Live (2011) 10.8%
Jeremy Paxman/Michael Howard, Newsnight, BBC2 (1997) 7.8%
Becky Milligan/Anthony Steen, The World at One, Radio 4 (2009) 6.5%
Melvyn Bragg/Dennis Potter, C4 (1994) 5.5%
Michael Parkinson/Muhammad Ali (1971) 4.8%
Martin Bashir/Princess Diana, Panorama, BBC1 (1995) 4.6%
Diana Gould (Nationwide viewer)/Margaret Thatcher, BBC1 (1982) 4%
Sian Williams/PC David Rathband, Broadcasting House, Radio 4 (2010) 3.2%
Michael Parkinson/Emu (1976) 2.8%
Bill Grundy/Sex Pistols, Today, ITV (1977) 2%
Jon Snow/Alastair Campbell, Channel 4 News (2003) 1.7%
John Freeman/Gilbert Harding, Face to Face, BBC TV (1960) 1.4%
Gordon Wilson – Enniskillen (1987) 1.2%
Paxman Meets Hitchens: a Newsnight Special (2010) 1%
Owen Bennett Jones/Michael Caine, The Interview, BBC World Service (2011) 1%
Michael Parkinson/Meg Ryan, BBC1 (2003) Awkward 0.9%
Jon Snow/Zac Goldsmith, Channel 4 News (2010) 0.8%
Jeremy Vine/Gordon Brown, Radio 2 (2010) 0.7%
Katie Couric/Sarah Palin, CBS (2008) 0.7%
Tom Bradby/William & Kate, ITV News (2011) 0.7%
Graham Norton/Lady Gaga, The Graham Norton Show, BBC1 (2011) 0.6%
Robin Day/Japanese Foreign Minister, ITN (1959) 0.6%
Russell Harty/Grace Jones, BBC (1981) 0.6%
Robin Day/John Nott (1982) 0.6%
Oprah Winfrey/Michael Jackson (1993) 0.6%
Melvyn Bragg/Francis Bacon, South Bank Show, ITV (1985) 0.6%
Baroness (PD) James/Mark Thompson, Today, Radio 4 (2009) 0.6%
Adam Boulton/Alastair Campbell, Sky News (2010) 0.5%
David Frost/Kenneth Tynan & David Irving (1968) 0.4%
Hugh Stephenson & James Bellini/Sir James Goldsmith, The Money Programme (1977) 0.3%
Paula Yates/Michael Hutchence, Big Breakfast, C4 (1994) 0.3%
Peter White/Christopher Reeve, No Triumph No Tragedy, Radio 4 (1999) 0.3%
Dan Rather/Saddam Hussein, CBS (2003) 0.3%
Jeremy Paxman/Mark Thompson, Newsnight, BBC2 (2010) 0.3%
Redhead/Nigel Lawson, Today, Radio 4 (1987) 0.2%
Jenni Murray/Monica Lewinsky, Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 (1999) 0.2%
Ruby Wax with Jim Carrey, BBC1 (2003) 0.2%
Fern Britton/Tony Blair, Fern Britton Meets, BBC1 (2009) 0.2%
Piers Morgan/Cheryl Cole, Life Stories, ITV1 (2010) 0.1%
Brian Oprah Winfrey/Tom Cruise (2005) 0.1%
John Wilson/Bob Geldof, Meeting Myself Coming Back, Radio 4 (2011) 0.1%
Adam Boulton/George & Laura Bush, Sky News (2008) 0%
Jenni Murray/Sharon Shoesmith, Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 (2009) 0%

Tweeted debate: does it have any significance for democracy?

So, the first tweeted presidential debate. This week the AP reported that Current TV will let its audience have their say by publishing their live Twitter comments on screen; now the news is doing the rounds on the blogs.

During the debates, the station will broadcast Twitter messages (or tweets) from viewers as John McCain and Barack Obama go head to head.

It’s all certainly a lot further on than when the first ever debate went out on television: on September 1960 26, when 70 million US viewers watched senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts word-battle vice president Richard Nixon.

Current TV, which is extremely pro viewer interaction, was actually co-founded by Al Gore, though the channel says ‘Hack the Debate’, as it has become known, was not his idea.

An article over at the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) says, of the Nixon-Kennedy debate, “Perhaps as no other single event, the Great Debates forced us to ponder the role of television in democratic life.”

So, does Twittering and instantaneous (as much as it can be) viewer feedback have anything like the same significance? What’s the role of the internet here in democratic life?

Also, comments will be filtered to fit in with broadcast standards: does this change its impact at all?