Face to Faith (...Moss, Waugh, Sitwell, Russell and Jung)
Pop star Adam Faith was a controversial choice for the interview series, as he was only 20 when questioned by John Freeman in December 1960
The BBC has released six more interviews from the classic Face to Face series as part of the BBC4 Talks collection on iPlayer.
Face to Face was first transmitted between 1959 and 1962. John Freeman's encounters with Adam Faith, Stirling Moss, Evelyn Waugh, Dame Edith Sitwell, Bertrand Russell and Carl Jung are now available online on iPlayer.
BBC Genome has listings for all the Face to Face interviews, and links through to the episodes of the programme that are available to watch - you can also read the billings for those that have not yet been released. There is something for everyone in this newly released collection, which includes subjects from the worlds of pop, poetry and literature, science and sport.
John Freeman was a master of the incisive interview, cross-examining leading personalities of the day. He had been an MP, and joined the Panorama team when it was relaunched in 1955. During his stint as interviewer on Face to Face he became editor of The New Statesman, and was later appointed an ambassador.
Adam Faith’s Face to Face interview was recorded in 1960, when he was a heartthrob teen idol in the first flush of fame. Faith became a pop sensation overnight, when his song 'What Do You Want?' reached number one in the charts the year before. He was the only pop singer to be interviewed by John Freeman for the series.
John Freeman interviewed the racing car driver Stirling Moss earlier in 1960. Nearly 30 years later, Freeman revealed to the broadcaster Anthony Clare that this was virtually the only interview that pleased him. Freeman had considered Moss a playboy but their encounter showed the racing driver to possess a "cold, precise, clinical judgement... a man who could live so close to the edge of death and danger, and trust entirely to his own judgement."
Freeman faced a difficult subject in Evelyn Waugh. Interviewed the week after Moss, Waugh, the author of Brideshead Revisited and Decline and Fall, was in a characteristically obstructive frame of mind. The result is a rare glimpse into the life and temperament of one of the greatest novelists of the 20th Century.
Poetic grande dame, not to mention Dame, Edith Sitwell prepares for her interview with John Freeman and producer Hugh Burnett
Dame Edith Sitwell, the well-known eccentric poet and personality, was John Freeman's guest in May 1959. At 71, Dame Edith was true to form, answering his questions in a way only she could. And she dressed for the occasion - in a headdress she called her 'bird king's hat', an ermine jacket, and with huge rings on her fingers.
"The last survivor of a dead epoch" was how the distinguished philosopher Bertrand Russell described himself. He used his long life to challenge the accepted ideas and conventional attitudes of the day. Then in his 87th year, Lord Russell discussed with John Freeman his experiences, his achievements, and his unfulfilled ambitions.
Professor Carl Gustav Jung was viewed as the greatest living psychologist when he was filmed at his lakeside home near Zurich in 1959. Freeman found Jung - although an old man - as sharp and clear-thinking as ever. It proved to be a timely encounter; Jung died 18 months later. This was Freeman’s only interview in which he did not adopt his customary style of interviewing with his back to the camera, his face concealed from the viewer.
Face to Face was revived (initially as part of the Late Show) from 1989 to 1998 with Jeremy Isaacs conducting the interviews with, among others, Jeanette Winterson, Maya Angelou, Lauren Bacall and Ken Dodd. These episodes are also available to watch on iPlayer.