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. Bendict O'Connor spoke to him on the eve of the show>.SIR David Frost, familiar to millions through four decades on our television screens, can usually be seen rubbing shoulders and probing the psyche of the great and the good, but tonight the former Beccles boy will be standing alone.
. Bendict O'Connor spoke to him on the eve of the show>.
SIR David Frost, familiar to millions through four decades on our television screens, can usually be seen rubbing shoulders and probing the psyche of the great and the good, but tonight the former Beccles boy will be standing alone.
An Audience with Sir David Frost debuts at the Cambridge Arts Theatre tonight, the scene of Sir David's first steps into the world of showbusiness where he trod the boards as a Cambridge undergraduate.
Throughout his forty years in the spotlight, the presenter of Breakfast With Frost has maintained his links with Suffolk and still considers himself very much a son of East Anglia.
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Fresh from interviewing Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir David spoke to the EADT yesterdayon the eve of his new show.
"My links with East Anglia are very strong, my sister lives in Bury St Edmunds, I was there last year for Ben Goldsmith's wedding. My father was a Methodist minister, which is a very peripatetic profession and took us all over, but he was from Halesworth and we ended up in Beccles which was very much home.
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"Then of course I spent three of the happiest years of my life at Cambridge University, which was an easy trip from Beccles in my father's old 1935 Singer."
He also has a strong affinity for Norwich City Football Club, stemming from his youth.
"I'm delighted for the Canaries and Delia, I always follow their progress and it's wonderful what they've managed and I wish them all the best for next season, and I'm hoping the Tractor Boys get a chance to join them in the Premiership."
Sir David maintains a close relationship with his sister Jean Pearson, who is one of the leading lights in the Bury in Bloom organisation, and earlier this year Sir David stepped in as sponsor of the children's section of this year's floral campaign and we can expect to see him in the town if his gruelling work schedule allows.
"I've agreed to be the patron and I'm hoping to come to Bury St Edmunds in the summer when Bury in Bloom reaches its climax if I can," he said.
The new show coincides with rumours which surfaced this weekend that Breakfast With Frost is being axed by BBC bosses, but this was quickly scotched by Sir David.
"It happens every three years or so these rumours, you get used to it, but there is nothing in it, it is absolutely untrue, the show is doing very well and getting stronger."
At the age of 16, the Beccles boy could have taken an entirely different route in life and was offered a professional contract to play for Nottingham Forest but opted instead for the academic life.
Cambridge in the late 1950s and early 1960s was a hot bed of talent, and he found himself among undergraduates who would go on to become some of the nation's finest actors and comedians, and half of the future Conservative cabinet.
"I was in the May review for two or three years at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge, so it really is going back to my roots. I worked with Peter Cook and John Fortune and John Bird, along with Ian McKellen, and it's really thanks to the essays of Ian McKellan and John Fortune that I made it through university, because I was editing Granta (the famed literary periodical, which was then still a student political, literary and humourous publication).
"It's amazing to think that two of the greatest actors of our generation were there, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, author Margaret Drabble was there, Graeme Garden of the Goodies, and eight future Tory cabinet members, including Ken Clarke, Leon Britton, Norman Lamont and current leader Michael Howard. In fact the competition there was almost harder than later on in London."
Sir David began his television career while still at Cambridge, and the groundbreaking political satire That Was The Week That Was launched him into the nation's consciousness. He followed this with the Frost Report, which helped nurture the careers of Ronnie Corbett and John Cleese, and then moved into current affairs with the Frost Programme.
He went onto become one of the world's most famous interviewers, interviewing the Rolling Stones and the Beatles in their heyday, Muhammad Ali, the Prince of Wales, Noel Coward and every major international political leader of the last 30 years, including the last six British Prime Ministers and the last six US presidents.
His interview with Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal achieved the highest ever viewing figures for a news interview.
"With Nixon we recorded 28 and three quarter hours of footage over 12 days and we had done a lot of research for a year before hand. John Birt, who was producing, and I thought we had asked everything and we realised the one question we should have asked was who was deep throat?
"As it turned out he didn't know and we won't know until deep throat dies, from what I understand from Woodward and Bernstein(the Washington Post reporters who unravelled the scandal)."
But he admitted he has regrets. "Sirhan Sirhan, who killed Robert Kennedy. I had interviewed Robert Kennedy and he was the embodiment of charisma, and when I later interviewed Sirhan it was very painful, I wished I wasn't there, which is not a feeling I've felt before."
Members of the audience can put their own questions to Sir David at tonight's show, which combines comic reminiscences, memorable clips and a question and answer session from the floor. A small number of tickets for the show, which begins at 7.30pm, are still available from the box office on 01223 503333.