So on the 3rd October Kingston University students had the privilege of meeting the one and only, Sir Trevor McDonald.
Trevor on the famous news at 10
The excitement kicked off once 6:30pm came around, but ten minutes later he was still nowhere to be seen. Was he okay?
It got to 6:50 and he entered the building. I do not think anyone cared that he was late as long as we got to see a bit of terrific Trev! After arriving ‘fashionably late’ and blaming it on ‘Kingston traffic’ he then started with the talk.
He started by telling us about his very ‘normal’ day, he had a meeting at Buckingham Palace, but NOT on any royal business. The way he just casually said it was like yeah sure, because that happens everyday for us. Not. I can imagine that the queen must love him though and they probably walk around the grounds with her corgis, what a lovely date. Sorry Phillip! ;)
Everyone was at the edge of their seats throughout the hour and a half talk; everyone was hanging on his last words and waiting for the next story to come our way. I mean he talked about meeting Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush (Trev hated his views, but thought he was the most ‘classiest guys’, although his brilliant idea was to go to war. But that’s obviously a touchy subject..) and the amazing Morgan Freeman, I think that was my favourite name drop.
When meeting Morgan Freeman, Freeman wanted the lights a little lower to the point where it was very dark. Sir Trevor said: “But people like us, we need light.” There was a roar of laughter in the hall and it still gets me now. Quote of the night for sure!
Morgan looking dench
Of course for me being a journalism student, his words of wisdom will stay with me for a long while. He kept saying ‘Being there is better than reading about it.’ – which of course is very simple. “Try and embrace as much as you can. I mean travel; get out there!” Although being a student means you have no money, but still we can dream of the wider world and maybe travelling there one day..
One story which was very funny, but also strange to think how things have changed was about his journey to China. If you didn’t know, in China, people didn’t let strangers in their houses. So Trevor thought this was quite ‘peculiar’ so he said this to his crew. The lady did agree for them to come into their home and film. When they went there the lady gave them some slippers and Trevor of course gave the crew a look that said ‘see I told you.’ But the lady then explained that she got these as she knew Trevor and his team had no time to get these even though it would be respectful, so she got them to save embarrassment. So Trevor got it all wrong… don’t worry we all do it sometimes, obviously journalists do!
The other key moment of the talk was when he went to Iraq to talk to the president, Saddam Hussein. Sir Trev didn’t like the fact that he was sharing the room with several other people and it wasn’t really ‘intimate.’ He did complain and one of Hussein’s personnel said that they are never allowed in the same room as him so you (Trevor) should feel privilege. He never answers questions or made to answer them. No-one interviews him.’ He went on to say that some of his security men were nasty to him and made him give his ring, watch and pen to them. He laughed it off by saying in return they gave him one of ‘Saddam Hussein’s election pen,’ but he politely declined..
When meeting Mandela he thought he could give him a good headline for the Daily Mail, seeing as he was falsely prisoned for 26 years, but he had never seen anyone merged so mentally unharmed. Mandela said the reason was ‘once negotiated, everything is possible.’
Sir Trevor indeed ‘strutted his stuff that night’ a phrase which he loved using and told us to indeed do the same. ‘Don’t let people find their limits in your dream, if you want something bad you will work enough. The people who say you can’t do something are the people that you don’t trust.”
When asked what event was the most inspiring he responded “Never would I thought that I would be standing in a crowd in 2009 where a black man becomes president.”
Bring a tear to my eye 4 years on :’)
On that note, we can definitely say that change has definitely come and will keep on coming.