John Gibson: Hello, good morning and you’ve got half an hour

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Calling the shots, David Frost filched a cigar from his navy blue suit. Belatedly, another fawning piece about the legend.

I’d fawned often, I found as I dug into the archive, having cornered him every time he’d sallied up to Edinburgh and, specifically, I’m recalling his jaunt to Edinburgh for a Television Festival. Before settling down for coffee he refused to light up while the cameraman was near our table.

I’d dared remind Sir David that it was being suggested he was “losing his bite” on telly. A prominent Scottish politician had told him: “You have a way of asking beguiling questions with potentially lethal consequences”, and I told him I’d be happy to have these words on my gravestone.

“My technique may, on occasion, be confrontational, but in general you can ask the most testing questions in a civilised manner that makes it more difficult for the interviewee to do a pompous sidestep.

“The thing is, you hope that your technique improves with the passing of the years and the number of interviews you’ve done.”

Mindful of his knighthood, I mentioned he’d been rated the third most famous person in the UK after the Queen and the Prime Minister. He insisted he hadn’t let the honour go to his head. But did admit to having Sir David Frost OBE on his notepaper.

“Some people have a problem and call me ‘Sir Frost’ and got a letter that started ‘Dear Sir Obe.’ A brand new experience for me – ‘yours sincerely, Sir Obe.’”

How did he rate himself, then, in the league table? “I think I’d be jogging along merrily somewhere in the first 50.” Despite assertions that he was losing it a bit.

“You want a scoop and I’ve already given you one, The scoop letter to Sir Obe. You’re first to hear about it.”