The birthday
dinner, which kept me from both the Champions League and The Speaker last
night, was for broadcaster David Frost. Seventy. 

Any suggestion the veteran broadcaster might be slowing
down was dispelled when his son Wilfred announced to the gathering at one
point that first thing this morning, his Dad was due to be interviewing the
Prime Minister.

What is extraordinary about Frost is that he will have woken up, even if tired
by a night’s partying, with the same enthusiasm to do a good job as on the
dozens of Prime Ministerial and Presidential interviews he has done before.

Seven Presidents, almost as many Prime Ministers as the Queen, who almost
uniquely has resisted his blandishments. So far. You can bet he’ll never stop

And of course, as Wilfred also pointed out very proudly, his father is now one
of that small number of people immortalised on stage and in a film carrying his
name in the title, whilst still alive.

Frost-Nixon is not just a good
story well told. It underlines the extent to which Frost is woven into the
fabric of our media history.

And if his ageless enthusiasm and passion for his work is one lesson we could
learn from, his refusal to take himself too seriously is another. Even his own
son made jokes about Through the Keyhole and Frost laughed with the rest.

There were plenty of well-known faces around the place, mainly from TV and
showbusiness, and even if the gathering was smaller than the huge summer
parties he throws, you have to recognise Frost’s formidable networking skills.
But it was former Foreign Secretary, David Owen, who said the thing about him
that stuck in my mind on the way home. He said while most of us could count
close friends on one hand, David had ‘an instinct for friendship’ which meant
there was nothing strange in seeing a room full of very different people who in
different ways saw themselves as his friends.

A part of me thinks it is a terrible waste that his main current affairs
show is now on Al-Jazeera International. Yet with the world’s media and
politics in such a state of flux, I guess it is fitting that the latest chapter
of his life in broadcasting is unfolding as part of one of the big media
stories of recent times.

One thing’s for sure. He has a lot of Prime
Ministerial interviews, parties and episodes of Through the Keyhole left in