Whatever Happened to Simon Dee?: The Rise and Fall of Television's Icarus by Richard Wiseman
In the mid-sixties, Simon Dee had it all. He was Britain's first celebrity chat-show host, with his own prime-time show on the BBC, Dee Time, regularly watched by 15 million people. He interviewed everyone from Sophia Lauren to Sammy Davis Jr, and in the programme's memorable closing credits, he swept away from Television Centre in an open-top E-Type Jaguar as a pert mini-skirted companion jumped aboard. He'd already been the first disc jockeys on the pioneering pirate station Radio Caroline; he had a part in The Italian Job. His show was judged to be so influential by Harold Wilson's government that A.J.P. Taylor's appearance on it to fulminate against going into Europe saw Dee put under surveillance by the Special Branch. Then a move to ITV soon saw his programme dropped, Simon Dee's fortunes sank swiftly even to a brief spell in jail...and suddenly one of the coolest figureheads of the Swinging Sixties was a name no more. But without him, there'd have been no Jonathan Ross, no Frank Skinner, and no Austin Powers. In 2005, Simon Dee turns 70. This is the story of British television's Icarus; of the vicissitudes of fame and how you subsequently make a life without it; of how the media builds people up and then knocks them down; of a man who was once one of the most famous people in Britain, and made a seminal contribution to broadcasting history.