With the release of the movie Frost/Nixon, Clive Irving (books on Amazon) describes the transformation of David Frost from satirist to journalist. Irving was on the inside of this story, and the view is fascinating.
In the summer of 1966, Irving was one of two people hired by David Frost as "creative consultants" for The Frost Programme. The other was Tony Jay:
Tony’s idea was that TV could and should be opened up as a forum for the people to engage with power, and it was Tony who insisted on doing something that nobody had risked before, having a live studio audience with a microphone swinging precariously on a boom above them so that David could pull people into the discourse when they were provoked. Thus a lot of politicians found themselves suddenly not only being cross-examined by Frost but by aggrieved members of the public. Amazing to think now how novel and dangerous that was then, in 1966, when it began.
Frost landed his biggest interview nine years later with Richard Nixon, who three years before had resigned as president of the United States. Both Frost and Nixon had a purpose for coming together, and thereby hangs the tale.
Here is a part of that interview. The video is provided by the Daily Beast (:33):
The photo above shows Frank Langella as Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as David Frost and is from the Frost/Nixon web site.