Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If you want my Frank opinion …


The first thing I noticed about him was his pleasant speaking voice which he uses with unassuming authority – a rarity when presenters these days can yatter on about people ‘in the nooze’ He’s a quiet man and it’s no surprise that his parents were diplomats.

He always seemed to be seated – even when reporting to camera and then I noticed the wheel chair. I was delighted when later on he was standing, albeit with the help of a frame out of shot. I did a bit of delving.


Frank Gardner on the 6th of June whilst reporting for the BBC in Saudi Arabia was shot six times and his camera man was shot dead. One of the bullets hit his spinal nerve leaving him partly paralysed in the legs. He had fourteen operations and after seven months treatment returned to the BBC.


As a child he met Sir Wilfrid Thesiger whilst on a bus with his mother, and through his influence started to study Arabic. He back packed to Greece and then went to Manila where he got to know tribal people. After nine years of working in banks in Saudi he took up journalism in 1995 with the BBC working as a producer reporter. In 1998 he became a full time Gulf correspondent with an office in Dubai. In 2000 he was made Middle East correspondent in Cairo and after the Nine / Eleven attacks in the US he specialised in stories of The War on Terror.


He has received many awards for journalism and the Queen gave him an OBE. There’s something heroic about him and he wouldn’t be out of place in The 39 steps or Gone to Ground he seems to belong to that era. Married with two daughters a colleague said:

He’s a good communicator – incredibly good at thinking on his feet.’


The Saudi government who insisted he had the minders who fled when the shooting started, promised compensation but so far have not paid up. I have just ordered his book ’Blood and Sand’ not to be confused with the old classic by Vincente Blasco Ibanez about bull fighting.


As a child Frank went to a junior school in Hawkhurst Kent and I like to think he and his mother may have popped into my shop for a pair of rugger boots. Who knows?

I’ve just discovered the video below – could have saved myself some work. It’s worth looking at to get the flavour of him - special interest to New Zealanders.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIYF6rg5uPQ

13 comments:

nursemyra said...

What a fantastic attitude he has. and yes, you're right that was a special treat for us Kiwis

Pat said...

Nursemyra: so glad you caught it;)

Four Dinners said...

The bulldog spirit is alive and well.

A real hero. A quite extraordinary human being.

Technogran said...

A wonderful post about a very brave man. loved it.

Pat said...

Four.D: and nice with it:)

Technogran: thank you. His wife sounds a great lady too.

savannah said...

a gentle reminder on so many levels about the human spirit1 thanks you, sugar! xoxox

sablonneuse said...

What a brave and pleasant man. Wish there were many more like him.

Queenie said...

Fascinating, Pat; thank you. Do let us know what you think of the book.

Charlie said...

I think the book will be fascinating. He is truly a throwback to the great journalists like Edward R. Murrow.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Good stuff Pat, a real man amongst men that he is.

Pat said...

Savannah: I'm glad you liked it:)

Sandy: I believe in blowing their trumpet for them:)

Queenie: I will indeed.

Charlie: ah yes - I remember him.

Jimmy: Chaucer said 'he was a verray parfit gentil knight.'

Leigh Russell said...

What a wonderful man.

Pat said...

Leigh: I'm glad you agree;)