27 years of celebrity interview recordings donated by Victor Davis to become new school archive
Monday, April 20, 2009
Victor Davis pictured with Sean Connery, St Moritz 1981
Victor Davis the distinguished entertainment journalist of the Daily Express and the Mail on Sunday has recently donated a fascinating and valuable collection of his professional work to the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
The archive records (literally), on a substantial number of cassette tapes, Victor’s interviews with major film and television celebrities from Britain and America between 1967 and 1994.
His spiral bound notebook (the working journalist’s invaluable tool) catalogues an alphabetical listing of interviews with dates and places. The letter ‘B’, for example, records interviews with David Bowie, Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, Mel Brooks, Candice Bergen, Roy Boulting, Kathy Bates, Peter Bogdanovitch, Charles Bronson, Jim Belushi, Anne Bancroft, Drew Barrymore and William Baldwin, among many others.
Victor’s working life in journalism has been wide ranging. He began as a copy boy at the Express in 1945 moving to a reporter’s job at the weekly Streatham News (a London Weekly) in 1950 and then to the Daily Sketch in 1956. From 1960 to 1962 he was a foreign correspondent for the Express, reporting events in the Congo.
Charles Bronson, Jim Belushi, Anne Bancroft, Drew Barrymore and William Baldwin are among the many celebrities interviewed by Victor Davis.
He became night news editor from 1962-5 and worked in the paper’s New York Bureau from 1965-7. In 1967 Victor was appointed Express’ Show Business editor and finally moved to the Mail on Sunday in 1984.
From 1968, Victor wrote under pen names for various magazines around the globe and also found time to publish three novels for Victor Gollancz, titled The Ghostmaker, Queens’ Ransom and Getting Away With It.
"an invaluable as well as fascinating record"
Professor Bob Franklin said, "This is an invaluable as well as fascinating record of Victor’s distinguished career in journalism and we are delighted that he has entrusted the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural with its safe keeping.
"It will join our existing collections of personal papers, letters and documents of significant journalists such as Hugh Cudlipp, Tom Hopkinson and Richard Stott.
"Collectively they will be a key resource in the research and pedagogic agenda of a new Centre for Popular Journalism here at Cardiff, as well as providing an important research archive for scholars of journalism studies and popular culture around the globe".
The immediate task, says Professor Franklin, is to transfer the many cassettes into more durable and accessible digital formats so that JOMEC students and others will be able to consult this remarkable collection of interviews recording a senior journalist’s working life.