Frankly Speaking

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Episodes

TitleRepeatedComments
Allen Lane20160528 (BBC7)
20160529 (BBC7)

Publisher and founder of Penguin books, Allen Lane answers the questions posed by George Scott, Margaret Lane and Walter Allen.

Aged 58 when interviewed, Allen talks of his life as a pioneering paperback publisher and his discovery of DH Lawrence.

Sir Allen Lane was born in 1902 and died in 1970.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions. Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Only 40 or so of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1961.

The publisher and founder of Penguin books answers questions.

4 Extra Debut. The publisher and founder of Penguin books answers questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series. From February 1961.

Bette Davis - Self-portrait Of A Star20150414 (BBC7)
20150415 (BBC7)

Oscar-winning Bette Davis on her Hollywood life.

Actor George Coulouris and BBC producer Peter Duval Smith interview Hollywood icon Bette Davis.

In an occasionally heated conversation about her career, Oscar-winning Davis shares her opinions on what it means to be a star after 30 years in the business.

Davis shoots down the "misconception" that she creates frictions on her movie sets. Her arguments were always with the front office. The actress also strongly counters Duvall Smith's claim that she uses the same mannerisms in every performance - blaming instead her imitators.

Films discussed include 'Dark Victory' (1939), 'Juarez' (1939), 'Watch on the Rhine' (1943) and Davis's most recent hit at the time, 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?' with Joan Crawford (1962).

George Coulouris had previously starred alongside Bette Davis in the films 'All This, and Heaven Too' (1940), 'Watch on the Rhine' (1943) and 'Mr Skeffington' (1944). He's best known for playing Walter Parks Thatcher in the Orson Welles drama 'Citizen Kane' (1941).

Launched in 1952, Frankly Speaking was a completely novel and ground breaking BBC series. Initially there were three interviewers and the series was both unrehearsed and unscripted.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1963.

Brian Epstein20150428 (BBC7)
20150429 (BBC7)

, manager of the Beatles, discusses his career.

, 29 year old manager of the Beatles talks about his life to Bill Grundy.

He was a quiet, well-spoken public schoolboy, RADA student, from a very comfortably-off Liverpool family. But knowing nothing of the world of pop - how did Epstein find himself in the world of agents and impresarios?

As well as the Beatles, he represented other artistes including Cilla Black. Three years after this interview, Brian Epstein tragically died at the age of 32, after reportedly taking his own life.

Launched in 1952, Frankly Speaking was a completely novel and ground breaking BBC series. Initially there were three interviewers and the series was both unrehearsed and unscripted.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1964.

Cs Forester20140419 (BBC7)
20140420 (BBC7)

The author of the Hornblower stories is quizzed on his childhood, his 'alter ego' and his writing methods. From December 1957.

The Hornblower author is quizzed on his childhood, his 'alter ego' and his writing methods

Danny Blanchflower20150526 (BBC7)
20150527 (BBC7)

The captain of Spurs and N Ireland answers questions in the BBC Home Service series.

Captain of Tottenham Hotspur and of Northern Ireland answers the questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series. From January 1961.

Dr Jacob Bronowski20150407 (BBC7)
20150408 (BBC7)

The mathematician and broadcaster discusses his career.

Dr Jacob Bronowski discusses his career as a mathematician, scientist, writer and broadcaster with Mary Stocks and John Maddox. Recorded in January1964, shortly before he left England to take up a new research post in California.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions - straight to the point.

Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Unknown or very inexperienced broadcasters were employed as interviewers, notably John Freeman, John Betjeman, Malcolm Muggeridge, Harold Hobson, Penelope Mortimer, Elizabeth Beresford and Katherine Whitehorn.

Only about 40 of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1964.

Dr Mary Stocks20150421 (BBC7)
20150422 (BBC7)

Social activist, writer and broadcaster Dr Stocks discusses her career.

Social activist, writer and broadcaster Dr Stocks discusses her career, in the pioneering BBC Home Service series from July 1964.

Edith Sitwell20160514 (BBC7)
20160515 (BBC7)

The British avant garde poet answers questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series.

The British avant garde poet and critic Dame Edith Sitwell answers questions posed by writer Margaret Lane, critic Lionel Hale, and Oscar-winning screenplay writer Paul Dehn.

Aged 68 when interviewed, she recalls her childhood influences and shares her belief in the popularity of poetry.

Dame Edith was born in 1887 and died in 1964.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions. Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Unknown or very inexperienced broadcasters were employed as interviewers, notably John Betjeman, Malcolm Muggeridge and Penelope Mortimer. Only 40 or so of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1955.

Evelyn Waugh20150324 (BBC7)
20150325 (BBC7)

The Brideshead Revisited author discusses his career.

Brideshead Revisited author Evelyn Waugh is grilled about his life and career by Charles Wilmot, Jack Davies and Stephen Black

Regarded as one of the most brilliant novelists of his day, Waugh loathed the BBC. His grandson Alexander believes that this interview, along with a cocktail of sleeping draughts, helped to send him "rather mad". The author later turned his experience on Frankly Speaking into a scene in his novel 'The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold' with Stephen Black becoming the character Angel who haunts Pinfold in his hallucinations.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions - straight to the point.

Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Unknown or very inexperienced broadcasters were employed as interviewers, notably John Freeman, John Betjeman, Malcolm Muggeridge, Harold Hobson, Penelope Mortimer, Elizabeth Beresford and Katherine Whitehorn.

Only about 40 of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1953.

Flora Robson20150519 (BBC7)
20150520 (BBC7)

Actress Dame Flora Robson answers the questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series

The actress Dame Flora Robson answers the questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series. With John Freeman. From July 1960.

Gracie Fields20150602 (BBC7)
20150603 (BBC7)

Lancashire actress and singer Gracie Fields answers the questions.

Lancashire's actress, singer and comic Gracie Fields answers the questions from Harold Hobson, John Freeman and Patricia Brent.

Born Grace Stansfield in 1898, she became one of Britain's biggest box office stars of of both cinema and music hall. Gracie recalls her early years and share her thoughts on stardom. She's also questioned about life during the Second World War and the way British people treated her. The star also talks of her happy life living on the Italian island of Capri.

Launched in 1952, Frankly Speaking was a completely novel and ground breaking BBC series. Initially there were three interviewers and the series was both unrehearsed and unscripted.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1960.

Harold Lloyd20150505 (BBC7)
20150506 (BBC7)

Silent film comedy great Harold Lloyd answers questions in the pioneering interview series

Silent film comedy great, Harold Lloyd, answers questions from Liam O'Leary and Peter Duval Smith.

Heralding from the same era as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd was one of the most popular film comedians of the golden age of silent film. After starting acting aged just 12, Lloyd reveals he never wanted to be a matinee idol. He also attributes his success to a good cameraman and carefully crafted stunts.

Launched in 1952, Frankly Speaking was a completely novel and ground breaking BBC series. Initially there were three interviewers and the series was both unrehearsed and unscripted.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1962.

Hermione Gingold20160507 (BBC7)
20160508 (BBC7)

The star of stage and film answers questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series.

4 Extra Debut. The sharp-tongued, eccentric star of stage and film answers the questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series. From December 1960.

John Braine20160521 (BBC7)
20160522 (BBC7)

The 'angry young man' and author of Room at the Top answers questions.

'Angry young man' author of 'Room at the Top', John Braine answers the questions posed by John Bowen, Peter Duval Smith and George Scott.

Aged 37 when interviewed, he talks about his Yorkshire, working class background and the impact of his success.

John Braine was born in 1922 and died in 1986.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions. Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Only 40 or so of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1959.

Maurice Chevalier20150317 (BBC7)
20150318 (BBC7)

The French entertainer talks frankly about his career.

The French entertainer talks frankly about his career. Extract of the BBC Home Service's pioneering interview series. From May 1963.

Stanley Holloway20160430 (BBC7)
20160501 (BBC7)

The English singer and actor discusses his career.

4 Extra Debut. The English singer and actor discusses his career in the BBC Home Service's pioneering interview series. From July 1960.

Tennessee Williams20150331 (BBC7)
20150401 (BBC7)

The American playwright discusses his career.

American playwright Tennessee Williams faces a three-way interview with John Freeman, John Bowen and Peter Duval Smith.

Recorded during a visit to England in 1959, Tennessee had by then written all his major plays - but despite that was seriously questioning his future in the commercial theatre. He talks candidly of the misery of waiting for the reviews after opening night.

Launched in 1952 on the BBC Home Service, Frankly Speaking was a novel, ground breaking series. Unrehearsed and unscripted, the traditional interviewee/interviewer pairing was initially jettisoned for three interviewers firing direct questions - straight to the point.

Early critics described it as 'unkempt', 'an inquisition' and described the guest as prey being cornered, quarry being pursued - with calls to axe the unscripted interview. But the format won out and eventually won over its detractors.

Unknown or very inexperienced broadcasters were employed as interviewers, notably John Freeman, John Betjeman, Malcolm Muggeridge, Harold Hobson, Penelope Mortimer, Elizabeth Beresford and Katherine Whitehorn.

Only about 40 of the original 100 programmes survive.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1959.

William Walton20150512 (BBC7)
20150513 (BBC7)

British composer Sir William Walton answers the questions from Dilys Powell and Antony Hopkins.

Living in Italy at the time, Sir William had not long turned 60. Revealing his regrets and musical influences, he explains how he goes about his work.

Asked about getting married late in life, Sir William reveals how love struck when he spotted Susana - who became Lady Walton.

Launched in 1952, Frankly Speaking was a completely novel and ground breaking BBC series. Initially there were three interviewers and the series was both unrehearsed and unscripted.

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1962.

British composer Sir William Walton answers the questions in the BBC's interview series.

British composer Sir William Walton answers the questions in the BBC Home Service's interview series. From May 1962.