Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frost Goes off the Boil

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frost Goes off the Boil

Article excerpt

Byline: VICTOR LEWIS-SMITH

Breakfast with Frost BBC1

I WAS UP in the attic yesterday, searching for my old humidifier, because somebody had just bought me a dehumidifier and I wanted to switch them both on in the same room, sit back and watch them fight to the death. While there, I chanced upon a yellowing 1995 copy of an American newspaper (the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen), and on the letters page I found the following: "Sir, I am Bruce C Brenizer, and I am frankly disgusted with the sloppy and sensationalistic reporting that appears in your tabloid. I quite expect you to drag my name through the mud on a regular basis, that is your job, but at least get the facts right.

"True, I was arrested and charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide in 1991. True, I was sentenced in 1993. You are also correct in suggesting that I had a record of violent crime and that I was responsible for the death of my father, his livein girlfriend and her three children.

"But I was never charged with the murder of my halfbrother as you reported.

That is the trouble with you tabloid journalists, the facts are just not important to you. Yours, Bruce C Brenizer, Mendota Mental Health Institute."

As Mr Brenizer eloquently demonstrates, there's a fine line between being an institution and being in an institution, which brings me to Sir David Frost.

He's been an indispensable and much-valued part of the televisual scenery throughout my lifetime, but his grasp of the news agenda has lately been perceived to be less secure than it once was, which may explain BBC1's decision to axe his long-running Breakfast with Frost programme after the next general election.

That's a pity, because he still exudes an undeniable air of authority in the studio, yet his days of truly incisive interviewing (remember Emil Savundra?) appear to be behind him; and when he read from the newspaper front pages on yesterday morning's edition, he frequently (and bemusingly) quoted the promotional banners rather than the headlines.

According to him, therefore, one of The Sunday Telegraph's main stories was "Terry Wogan's Brilliant New Column", to which I can only add this comment: next time you buy a toupee, Wigon, see if they make one with a brain attached.

Fortunately, the three guest newspaper reviewers sitting alongside him were considerably sharper, having not only received the first editions at midnight (as David Yelland informed us), but clearly read them too. They'd spotted that the Telegraph's main story was actually about the hypocrisy and double standards of David Blunkett (former Trotskyist leader of the self-styled "Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire" turned Rightwing Home Secretary) who, not content with screwing the civil rights of everyone in the country, has also been screwing someone else's wife. …

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