Cole Moreton

Daily Mail - Weekend Magazine

Celebrity interviews are becoming harder than ever. But in a world of copy approval, censorship and heavily managed questions, one interviewer continues to stand out. Cole Moreton has an unerring news sense and the ability to get a line out of any interview, making headlines beyond the arts pages and generating attention on social media time after time, with a consistency that no other can match.

The secret is deep research, attention to detail, the ability to listen and to ask the right questions, gently where necessary and firmly when needed, as well as a grasp of the truth that in the end each encounter is not a confrontation or a battle but a meeting between two people. Because of this approach, people tell Cole things they would not tell anyone else. Mary Berry opened up for the first time about her hopes of being reunited with her son in heaven. Kitchen tough guy Gregg Wallace gave a touching, intimate account of life with his autistic son and Anna, his wife who has been through so much. Jay Blades revealed the secret support he needs to get through emotional episodes of the Repair Shop and relived his own extraordinary story, in a piece that so clearly gives a sense of the man. Rick Stein described what it's like to go under the knife for open heart surgery. Will Young summoned up the strength to talk about the demons he confronted through putting on a play that so closely paralleled the tragedies of his own life. And Maureen Lipman shared the deeply personal reasons why brought a one-woman play about a Holocaust survivor to the West End stage and what her late husband would have made of it all.

These are people who are used to the media, whose privacy is usually closely guarded, but who choose to reveal themselves to Cole because they know they will be treated with respect, dignity and care. Their own words are what count, they will be shared in a responsible way, this is not about a writer showing off. People often come out of his interviews saying that it felt more like a conversation or even a therapy session, but the result on the page is always a fascinating article that contains a compelling news line ¬- the latter being something that so many arts and culture interviewers miss.

Cole has been an editor and a hard news writer covering many of the biggest stories of our times, from 9/11 to Covid, so he brings to bear a depth of experience that is unrivalled in this field. There's no sensationalism here, but there is a clear-eyed pursuit of the story, whatever it may be and however deeply it may be lying beneath the surface. Couple this with the ability to write entertaining prose and take the reader into the room and you've got a top-level journalist the Mail and Weekend are pleased to propose as Interviewer of the Year.