Henry Mance

Financial Times

Henry Mance’s interviews brought exclusive insight into some of the most complicated public figures.

He secured the first British media interview with Boris Becker after the tennis star’s release from jail, following months of negotiations with Becker and his team, whom Mance had first contacted during the trial in early 2022. In eight hours with Becker, Mance got to grips with his charisma and contradictions. The article revealed news of Becker’s experience of prison, including the letter he received from his former bitter rival Michael Stich and his deeper relationship with his children. Becker said he wants to bury his Wimbledon fairytale. But the interview also dug into another, less appealing side of the man: the one who sees an opportunity for his brand to bounce back, and whose version of the past can depart from reality. There was so much gleaned in the interview that we decided to publish an online version almost double the normal length of a Lunch with the FT. Mance also secured the first newspaper interview with Nadine Dorries after she announced she was quitting as an MP in fury at Rishi Sunak. The interview showed how Dorries was far more than her online caricature, but also how she had been twisted by the partisan nature of Westminster. It managed to be factual, funny and balanced. It pulled no punches, but was nonetheless described by Dorries in a tweet as “v fair”. Mance's interview with Thomas Heatherwick, the designer whom many architectural critics love to hate, took his ideas seriously while mercilessly pinning down his missteps and foibles. The result is a detailed and at times laugh-aloud picture, which strips back how Heatherwick behaves and how he charms influential people. (As with the Boris Becker interview, the online version is significantly longer than the print version.) Mance’s interviews were all underpinned by deep research. They were among the FT’s best read stories on publication, and left readers with a clear sense of who these extraordinary personalities really are.