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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST HOSTED BY PETER SISSONS INTERVIEW: TED FRANCIS and MAX CLIFFORD JULY 22ND, 2001
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used
PETER SISSONS: Well the newspapers this morning are full of more allegations as we've seen about Jeffrey Archer, it seems to be practically open season on the disgraced peer. In a moment I'll be talking to his co-accused in this week's trial, his former friend Ted Francis but first David Frost spoke to Lord Archer back in 1999 when he was hoping to be Mayor of London and Sir David tackled him on the subject of his mysterious cv.
[EXTRACT FROM INTERVIEW] DAVID FROST: Can you just clear up, you only, you never had three A levels and you had...
JEFFREY ARCHER: When I was teaching at Dover College, very kindly a master there said you should get a Diploma of Education, he said if you want to go on teaching and so I went to Oxford and did a diploma which I'm very proud to have got, I have a Diploma of Education from Oxford.
DAVID FROST: The thing is, in terms of Oxford, the Oxford and Dover College have got cv's in which it's stated that you have A levels in English, History and Geography and indeed the letters BSc denoting a Bachelor of Science degree appear after your name in the Dover lists, now how did that happen?
JEFFREY ARCHER: I don't know and it's wrong, I only have a Diploma of Education from Oxford, nothing more.
DAVID FROST: But who put it in your cv?
JEFFREY ARCHER: I've no idea.
DAVID FROST: Someone else wrote the cv?
JEFFREY ARCHER: No, no, I haven't seen that cv, I don't the one you're referring to and in the past that was what 30 years ago David, you've known me for 30 years and very kindly you're thing at the beginning did point out the other things I've done in life, I may have made a mistake, I often make mistakes in life, we all do. But I think if you're going to only have a saint for this job I'm certainly not your man. [END OF INTERVIEW EXTRACT]
PETER SISSONS: Well that was Lord Archer talking to David Frost a couple of years ago. Joining me now is his former friend Ted Francis who was acquitted of any wrongdoing this week and the publicist Max Clifford who played a major role in bringing this whole story to light. Morning to both of you. Ted if you hadn't taken against him he'd be a free man today and could be Mayor of London?
TED FRANCIS: Yes indeed, yes indeed. Not a very encouraging thought Peter.
PETER SISSONS: What was the moment that you decided that you had to do something about him, was it the famous party where he put you down over the £20,000 which he alleged that you owed him and hadn't repayed?
TED FRANCIS: No, no I think the defining moment was when, when Michael Crick actually contacted me and we were talking¿
PETER SISSONS: That's Archer's biographer?
TED FRANCIS: Yes, and said it's on the cards, he's going to be selected to run as Mayor of London and I thought well I couldn't think of a more inappropriate person to hold that job, take that post.
PETER SISSONS: And what did you do then, was that when to Max?
TED FRANCIS: Well Crick, Michael Crick told me, explained to me the significance of the letter I'd written in terms of the dates in the diary in the libel case and, and then left it at that.
PETER SISSONS: Which you thought was to get him off the hook of marital infidelity?
TED FRANCIS: Oh absolutely.
PETER SISSONS: Nothing to do with¿
TED FRANCIS: None whatsoever.
PETER SISSONS: Twisting the facts in the libel case?
TED FRANCIS: No, no, not at all. I've known Max, you'll forgive me for saying this, I've known him since he was in a pram, he was a beautiful child.
PETER SISSONS: Still looks pretty good.
TED FRANCIS: His brother and I went to school together and virtually grew up together so it, we've known each other quite a long time and I had contacted him about getting in touch with his brother a few months before and then when Crick gave me, stimulated my interest and encouraged me to think in terms of the libel case and so on and so forth, I contacted Max¿
PETER SISSONS: And that was it, your advice to set up the recording, the secret recording which did for Jeffrey Archer?
MAX CLIFFORD: No Peter, no, I mean basically Ted came to me, he then decided that the media pressure which I explained he would have to put himself through, he couldn't handle, he then came back a couple of months later and said look, you know Frank Dobson and Ken Livingstone are at each other, you can just see Jeffrey Archer getting in through the back door and becoming Mayor of London, I've got to do something. I then contacted Phil Hall, the News of the World, knowing that they were one of the few papers that would take on Jeffrey Archer, most newspaper editors were frightened to take on Jeffrey Archer because he'd been, obviously litigious, because had had a lot of powerful friends, contacts including newspaper proprietors and editors and that he was extremely litigious. So Phil Hall said yes, we'll go for it, we've got to prove it, it's very difficult to prove these things.
PETER SISSONS: And at what stage did you discuss money, the¿
MAX CLIFFORD: Peter of course, as you would know, if you know anything about me, it was one of the first things I discussed and we worked out that the story was worth about £150,000 so I went back to Ted and said look you know after my 20 per cent commission that leaves you £120,000 for this story. He said I couldn't accept that, he said I'm not interested in the money Max, I just want to make sure that this man doesn't get the job. Eventually I think he took about £19,000 of which several thousand he gave to charity and he got himself a car.
PETER SISSONS: And I the rest, as we know, is history. Now would you have done it Ted if you'd known you'd end up in the dock yourself?
TED FRANCIS: No, no it was a nightmare experience and it wouldn't have been worth it, not only for me but for my family. But having said that I do have to say and would like to acknowledge all the help and support and good wishes I got from friends, family, people I haven't seen or spoken to for years, people from television.
MAX CLIFFORD: And the public at large.
TED FRANCIS: And the public at large.
PETER SISSONS: You think he got what he deserved, he's gone to jail for a minimum of two years, a four year sentence?
TED FRANCIS: I don't know Peter, I'd rather not speculate on that, the judge and the jury did their job and made their decision on what should happen to him. The degree of punishment is not something I want to speculate on. Prison is not something I'd wish on anyone.
PETER SISSONS: But did you feel bad about setting him up, being wired for sound, the telephone recording?
MAX CLIFFORD: No I think Ted would have nothing to do with that Peter, that's the News of the World, and it's very difficult when people are powerful to prove they're guilty. There's a lot of very powerful people out there getting away with an awful lot, it's very, very difficult to prove it and the News of the World had to prove it and that was the most effective way. If they hadn't have produced those tapes he possibly would have got off.
PETER SISSONS: The sentence Max, you acted for, against Gary Glitter at one stage?
MAX CLIFFORD: Yes.
PETER SISSONS: Who got four months for pornographic material kept on his computer¿
MAX CLIFFORD: Let me tell you the important thing for me Peter is the public see them for what they really are. As to the sentence that's up to the court but the British public, the world public now know Gary Glitter for what he really is, the British public now know Jeffrey Archer for what he really is. The sentence is up to the system, that's not up to me, my, if you like my attitude is that in a healthy democracy we see people like Jeffrey Archer, like Gary Glitter for what they really are, not what they pretend to be.
PETER SISSONS: Now Mary Archer, there's some speculation in the newspapers this morning that she is negotiating a big sum for her story, various amounts mentioned, is there anything in that and if you were acting for her, I mean we're probably maligning her because perhaps it hasn't crossed her mind, but if you were acting for her what would, what would she be able to command for her story?
MAX CLIFFORD: Oh absolute fortunes, I mean I think that the British public generally speaking in recent months have been far more interested in why Mary Archer stands by Jeffrey Archer than whether Jeffrey Archer is guilty or not, I think most people out there have made up their minds about Jeffrey Archer's position a long time ago but the question-mark that you get every where you go is why does she stand by him and everybody's got their own reasons. I know the reason.
PETER SISSONS: Ted what's your next move, are you going to, to write a book, try to cash in on your experience, you may not have another chance?
TED FRANCIS: I have actually written a novel which I'm going to take to publication soon, as far as the¿
PETER SISSONS: Not about this?
TED FRANCIS: Not about this, but as far as writing a book about this, I have been invited to consider it and it is a very tempting thought for the purpose of setting the record straight and for putting things into the right perspective, particularly from my point of view, and a cause and effect syndrome.
PETER SISSONS: Do you have any sympathy Jeffrey Archer sitting eating his breakfast in Belmarsh this morning, he could even be watching us on television I suppose?
TED FRANCIS: It's an horrific thought, it's an horrific scenario to imagine, remember Peter I could have been in that position myself if the verdict had gone against me and I suffered what I call the guilt of innocence, knowing that I was innocent all the time and being assured by people around me, no innocence will prevail, innocence will prevail. Nonetheless I was haunted by the thought that miscarriages of justice do occur and so when you ask the question about how if I have to visualise Jeffrey eating breakfast in a prison it's not something I can entertain very easily in my mind.
PETER SISSONS: Ted Francis, Max Clifford thank you both very much for coming in.
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