Kirk Douglas: ‘I don’t think about death, I think about life’

TELEGRAPH, 9 DECEMBER 2016 Kirk Douglas celebrates his 100th birthday today. For this interview, originally published in July 2011, Nigel Farndale spoke to the Hollywood star about his remarkable life No sooner does Kirk Douglas sit down on the silk-covered sofa in his drawing room than he stands up again. He then sits down once more. “Would you like me to show you again?” he asks with a grin. He stands up again. I’d asked how his knees were, you see, because six years ago he had them Read more [...]

German PoWs who found love and liberty on Britain’s farms

More than 25,000 prisoners of war who worked on our farms returned to live here. On Remembrance weekend Nigel Farndale discovers their stories (The Times, November 11 2016) Having fought as a young man in the First World War my grandfather was too old to fight in the Second. Even if he had been of serviceable age it is doubtful he would have been allowed to join up, given that he was in a “reserved occupation”, farming. He was expected to dig for victory instead. The Second World Read more [...]

Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris by Derek Johns (Review)

Review for The Times, October  2016 Although this is not an authorised biography, it can’t exactly be described as an unauthorised one. Its subject, Jan Morris, gave several interviews for it, made material available, including the drawings that illustrate it, and read it before publication. There is also the small matter of the author, Derek Johns, having been her literary agent for 20 years. Perhaps inevitably, then, the air around it can seem heavy with compromise, and this is Read more [...]

Donald told me how he did his hair — Hillary how she forgave Bill’s affairs

The Times, September 20 2016 As Trump and Clinton prepare to debate on TV, Nigel Farndale, who has met both, has some tips. As scoops go, it is not quite up there with Watergate, but I was the first journalist to uncover the secret of Donald Trump’s brushed-forward, combed-over hairstyle, the one that looks like a sunken apricot soufflé. He wets it, then applies copious amounts of hairspray. That was in 2008. When it became clear last year that he really was running for president — Read more [...]

The Oscar-winning heroes of “Spotlight”

The Times, October 1 2016 The Boston Globe's painstaking investigation into paedophile priests led to arrests, lawsuits and an Oscar-tipped film. But their fight for justice isn't over yet. In January 2002, a newspaper in Boston broke a story that was to shake the Roman Catholic Church to its very foundations. It concerned the sexual abuse of children by more than 70 priests, and the systematic attempts by Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Boston, to cover up their crimes. For years, Read more [...]

Doris Lessing: her last Telegraph interview

Following the death of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing we republish the last interview she gave to the Telegraph, in which she discusses Hitler, literary awards and her relationship with her mother with Nigel Farndale When Nigel Farndale interviewed Doris Lessing in April 2008, at the age of 88, he found her still raging - at communists, war, Mrs Thatcher, the 'bloody Swedes' who awarded her the Nobel Prize... It takes Doris Lessing just four minutes to come out with something, Read more [...]

Dinner with Margaret Thatcher: the story of a secret supper

In 1982, London's leading literary lights gathered for a secret dinner party. The guest of honour? Margaret Thatcher. Nigel Farndale interviews the survivors The Observer, Saturday 7 December 2013 On a clear autumn night in 1982, a government Daimler pulled out of Downing Street and began its glide across London to a house in Ladbroke Grove. In the passenger seat was a personal protection officer. He had been to the house earlier that day to check the security arrangements for the evening Read more [...]