[‘The rudest man in Britain’ reduced to tears: Gilbert Harding, radio and television personality.] Producer Hugh Burnett's corrected proof of typescript of Harding’s celebrated interview with John Freeman in the BBC TV series 'Face to Face'.

Gilbert Harding [Gilbert Charles Harding] (1907-1960), irascible British radio and television personality [John Freeman, interviewer on BBC programme ‘Face to Face’; Hugh Burnett]
Publication details: 
Undated, but BBC interview broadcast on 18 September 1960, and this item prepared for publication in 1964.
SKU: 24175

The present item is producer Hugh Burnett's own copy, from his papers, of the transcript of John Freeman's interview with Harding, broadcast in the groundbreaking BBC television series 'Face to Face' on 18 September 1960, a few weeks before Harding’s death on 16 November 1960. Harding’s entry in the Oxford DNB states that, ‘in radio programmes such as The Brains Trust and Twenty Questions, and on television in What's my Line?, Harding became a great popular figure, especially of television in which he was probably the best-known performer in the country. He was a man under great emotional pressure, something of which was revealed in his Face to Face interview with John Freeman on BBC television in September 1960’. In what was one of the best-remembered interviews in the series Harding was reduced to tears by Freeman’s line of questioning, which would appear to have brought up his feelings over the death of his mother. See also Freeman’s entry in the Oxford DNB. The present single-spaced typed transcript was produced for inclusion in Burnett's book 'Face to Face / Edited and introduced by Hugh Burnett' (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964), and is marked up with printing instructions in pencil and red ink, with a few proof corrections in pencil. 3pp, foolscap 8vo, on three leaves, the first two of which are stapled together. In good condition, lightly aged. ‘I’m profoundly lonely’, Harding declares. He discusses his career as a teacher (‘I terrified the little boys - either by shouting or looking terrible.’), time as a policeman (‘I didn’t like the helmet.’), fondness for ‘life in big institutions’ (‘I’ve often thought I’d like to join a monastery, but then I’d have to behave myself much more than I’m able to do.’), inclination towards bullying (‘It is rather pleasant to have people jumping about - only every now and then!’), thoughts about pain and death, enemies, (‘I didn’t like my sister very much.’) and mother (‘My mother was always a sort of comforting and on the whole rather over-ready source of assuagement and there was always a sort of bosom to cry on. She had a sort of patient smile and resigned shrugging of shoulders, as much as to say, well, I shall never understand you but I suppose you know what you’re doing - a rather tired and weary woman.’).