Frost, Sir David Paradine, OBE

TV producer and presenter on both sides of the Atlantic, born at Tenterden on 7 April 1939, the son of the Rev, W.J. Paradine Frost (1900-1967; e.m. 1928). Sunday newspapers and television were banned from the family home, and he was active in the youth club and drama group in his formative years. Billy Graham remained a significant influence since the 1954 Harringay campaign. He began training as a local preacher in 1958, the year he went to Caius College, Cambridge, though he did not complete the training. Instead he joined the Footlights and got to know Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and others who made their names in the satire boom. He became a household name in the satirical 'TW3' programme of the 1960s and subsequently as a highly successful interviewer on both sides of the Atlantic of such celebrities as ex-President Richard Nixon.

His second marriage, in 1983, was to Lady Carina Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk and they had three sons.

In his Autobiography (1993) he paid a warm tribute to his father and acknowledged the influence of Methodism, especially on his work ethic. Religion continued to play a part in his life. He took part in several MAYC London Weekends and was interviewed by Sally Magnusson for a 'Songs of Praise' programme from Hinde Street church. He was knighted in 1993 and died from a heart attack on 31 August 2013 at the beginning of a Mediterranean cruise on the Queen Elizabeth.


'Mother was the more outgoing, the more extrovert of my parents; Father had a quiet strength and wisdom…. He believed in the hymn which went, "The only gospel that some men will read is the gospel according to you."… It was impossible to talk to my father for any length of time without being conscious of the emphasis he placed on the innate worth of the individual.'

'There was so much in my father's life to celebrate. He had always been a trailblazer, and would not take no for an answer. His very entry into the Methodist ministry showed that… When he heard the call to the ministry, he was already married with two children. He studied at home in his spare time… Wherever he went he was asked to stay on after the traditional three years in that peripatetic ministry… He had been a true pastor, caring for his flock. That's why his sermons were so effective. They were always rooted in the everyday fears and problems of his congregation.

'Some of the obituaries particularly drew attention to his pioneering work in building - and raising the money for - new churches or extensions to existing churches… Like Billy Ghraham, he believed that faith in God was the path to a fuller life, not a more narrow-minded one… Money did not matter to my father. Time did.'

David Frost, An Autobiography: Part One - From Congregations to Audiences (1993), pp.18, 325-7

  • Methodist Recorder, 20 June 1963; 30 Nov & 28 Dec 1967
  • Willi Frischauer, David Frost (1971)
  • David Frost, I gave them a sword: behind the scenes of the Nixon interviews (1978)
  • Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2013
  • Neil Hegarty, Frost: that Was the Life that Was - the authorised Biography (2015)

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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