CBC Digital Archives

Margaret Thatcher: Britain's Iron Lady

The sudden death of Barbara Frum on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. The loss of one of the country's most respected broadcasters at the age of 54 reverberated across living rooms of the nation. The courage and tenacity she showed in her very private 18 year battle with leukemia was reflected in her tough, pioneering interview style on CBC Radio's As it Happens and later on CBC Television's The Journal. Whether she was talking to Nelson Mandela, Harold Ballard or the grower of the world's biggest cabbage, Frum's unrelenting curiosity, her fearless search for the truth, and her empathy and humour made her one of Canada's most important broadcasters.

media clip
It is one of Barbara Frum's most combative interviews for The Journal: her conversation with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Frum had meticulously prepared for the interview with the "Iron Lady" by watching Thatcher skewer a British journalist. Despite Frum's preparation and determination to not let the interview get away from her, Thatcher ends up bullying Frum as well.

The Journal's executive producer Mark Starowicz would later recall how the two women instantly disliked each other.
As evident in the clip, there is no love lost between these two powerful women. The tension is thick, the mood is hostile and both sides are out for blood. It makes for an unforgettable interview.
• Barbara Frum's son David Frum is a well-known conservative commentator. He served as speechwriter to President George W. Bush in 2001-2002 and is the author of Dead Right and The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush.
• Barbara Frum described herself as a "50s small-l liberal." -- Barbara Frum: A Daughter's Memoir by Linda Frum.
Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Sept. 27, 1983
Guest(s): Margaret Thatcher
Interviewer: Barbara Frum
Duration: 16:14

Last updated: July 31, 2013

Page consulted on September 26, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Barbara Frum: Pioneering Broadcaster Part 2

The sudden death of Barbara Frum on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. The loss of one of the c...

Barbara Frum: Pioneering Broadcaster Part 1

The sudden death of Barbara Frum on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. The loss of one of the c...

1977: Question Period goes live

Question Period from the House of Commons is broadcast live on TV for the first time.

Avi Lewis on CBC-TV's Spinoff

On Spinoff, Avi Lewis gets people debating politics, whether they want to or not.

Twenty-five years after the Berger pipeline i...

The pipeline issue is still contentious, but by 2001, the North is another country.

The last word: Mordecai Richler with Barbara ...

Richler explains his controversial position on Quebec in a one-on-one interview with Barbara F...