Face To Face (BBC 1959-1962 and 1995-1997, John Freeman)

Face To Face

Face To Face was a talk show presented by John Freeman which was hugely popular. It was more interrogation that interview and Freeman was legendary for asking searching questions and on one occasion reducing personality Gilbert Harding to tears whilst pressing him about his recently deceased mother.

Guests were generally quite heavyweight and included Martin Luther King, Bertrand Russell, King Hussein of Jordan, Carl Gustav Jung, Evelyn Waugh and the like and even when the guests were more populist like Harding, Tony Hancock or Adam Faith, Freeman always brought out a different side to them.

In 1988 the BBC put on a repeat run of the episodes with a special new episode in which Freeman was interviewed by Dr Anthony Clare. After the series ended Freeman had gone on to edit The New Statesman and be in charge of London Weekend Television.

Face to Face itself was revived in 1989 as a spin off from The Late Show when Jeremy Isaacs in the host’s chair. This was a semi-regular in the schedules until 1998. His guests included the likes of Lauren Bacall, Norman Mailer, Bob Monkhouse, Stephen Sondheim, Germaine Greer, Arthur Miller and Ken Dod.

Granada TV also had an interview series called Face To Face that ran for 11 episode between 1988 and 1989, confusingly the 1989 run was on air at roughly the same time as the BBC run.

production details
original run
UK / BBC / 34×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 February 1959 – 18 March 1962

Drawings: Felix Topolski / Producer and Director: Hugh Burnett

1989 revival
UK / BBC Two / 57 editions / 21 March 1989 – 12 October 1998

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