« Cars | Main | Happy Feet »

December 12, 2006

Mark Lawson interviews Stephen King

Stephen King is doing the rounds with his new novel, and has recently been in the UK. This is a fairly unusual occurrence as far as I know. The BBC managed to get hold of him, and Mark Lawson did an interview which I saw last night and is repeated a couple of times at odd hours this week.

I thought I liked Lawson, having heard his show on Radio4 many times; he's pretty smart and covers a lot of ground. I am a huge Stephen King fan, and have never heard him speak before, never mind watched an interview, so was looking forward to it immensely.

Unfortunately, Lawson made a bit of a pig's ear of the interview, and it was only saved by King himself being a very friendly and accommodating guest. Lawson had a script of questions prepared, and every time an answer veered off into a different path, he ferociously brought it back on track. Interviewing isn't just about asking questions, it's about listening to the answers too. Sometimes you'll need to follow up a surprise answer to get to a more interesting place. King tried to take Lawson to other areas, he made jokes about something scary being behind his host, but Lawson couldn't even manage a smile and ploughed on regardless. When King asked Lawson why he'd asked a particular question, the only answer he could come up with was "because I wanted to know".

I have a feeling this was a wasted opportunity. Yes, we found out some facts about Kings early life and his struggle for acceptance, but the whole thing was done on a very clinical level, with no warmth or empathy. He even wound it up abruptly - was it live, against the clock?

Lawson looks like he is part of the literature establishment that doesn't appreciate populist fiction, the very people King is actively at war with, and I think he knows it. This should have been a job for Jonathan Ross.

Posted by se71 at December 12, 2006 10:37 AM


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?