Media: Blonde Ambition Mariella Frostrup Has Not Only Got Her Own Prime Time Show on Channel 5 but Intends to Call All the Shots
Sanai, Darius, The Independent (London, England)
SHE IS deep-voiced, bold and occasionally bolshy, and she wants to publicise herself. So, three months ago, Mariella Frostrup formed her own production company, and, because names are a vital part of a brand's image, she called it Brazen Husky.
It was a smart move from a woman whose intelligence and guile have always sat uncomfortably with efforts by the tabloid press to categorise her as yet another, interchangeable, Met Bar blonde.
Ms Frostrup has, over the past few months, been in the news for an alleged romance with Chris Evans (false, say both sides), for being among the candidates to succeed Barry Norman on the BBC's Film 98 (still a possibility), and for being chosen to front a new Channel 5 talk show at prime time, 7.30 on a Friday evening - a big change from her last, Sunday-morning- with-hangover slot.
Almost overlooked, though, is Brazen Husky (chief executive and sole employee: M Frostrup), a machine through which she will be able to create and control her own brand.
At a time when television channels are proliferating and budgets on the big four are constricting, industry insiders agree that the importance of creating a coherent, saleable brand for yourself is becoming increasingly vital. "Look at the brands people like Noel Edmonds, Des Lynam and Chris Evans have built for themselves," says Mark Borkowski, a celebrity PR. "You know what you get with those names. You have to look at what you have, build on it, and recognise your weaknesses."
In her Portobello Road HQ, an airy studio with plenty of sofas and colourful coffee mugs, Mariella Frostrup is stretched out on a sofa, talking about her new company. "It's not empire building or a ginger, Planet 24-type thing," she husks.
The Irish-Norwegian takes a drag from one of many Marlboro Lights. Her new company, she says, is more to do with being a control freak. "It's to do with the culmination of eight years in TV. I've always written my own material and I wanted to start getting credit - or the blame, whatever."
Ms Frostrup refuses to identify her brand image - "it would mean thinking about myself for more than a minute, which I couldn't bear" she says, stalking to the kitchenette in search of another cigarette.
Soon, though, she does define herself, by default. "I've never been a bubbly blonde, I'm really bad-tempered," she says. "Women on TV are seen as interchangeable, whether they're newscasters, presenters or entertainment. And if you're blonde (which she isn't, quite: more mousy, as she's the first to admit) you get lumped together: a herd of cattle, a flock of sheep, a bunch of blondes. …