Jonathan Dean

Sunday Times

Jonathan Dean has, once again, been able to secure a rush of exclusives with the biggest A-Listers on the planet — and got them to say things they have never said before. Most of the time, these pieces become less like an interview — more the beginning of a talking point. Tracking John Lydon from LA to Dublin, where he was performing a song about his wife, Nora, and her lengthy dementia, for Eurovision, his heartbreaking admissions about loss and his own self worth only made tougher reading when Nora died just weeks later. Readers latched onto his words, by either finding something new in the punk, or remembering those they’d lost themselves. Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, gave his first interview in about 20 years, and did not disappoint. He talked about his life in the movies and a changing America, before dropping a bombshell that he thinks it an insult to call him “African-American”. The line went everywhere — the interview was the best read on The Times and The Sunday Times websites that entire month. Then finally, for something a little different, Jonathan broke an exclusive page three news story about Coldplay and their legal case against their former manager, Dave Holmes. Holmes had sued the band for loss of earnings, but using his contacts, Jonathan was able to secure first sight of the counterclaim - which listed in great detail the alleged wrongdoings of Holmes. The story was much discussed and provided what the best entertainment journalism should – a release for readers from the horrors of the all-consuming war in the middle east. That is what his Showbiz journalism does. It sheds new light on his subjects and treats pop culture with the seriousness — and, of course, lightness — that it deserves. In addition to the three interviews cited above, Jonathan has also, in the past year, met Steven Spielberg, to talk about his mum’s affair; Dua Lipa, to talk about the problem with men; Martin Scorses, to talk about death; Alex James, to talk about cheese; Brian Cox, to natter about everything; Phoebe Waller-Bridge, to talk for the first time in ages; Harrison Ford, to talk about ageing; Judi Dench, for pizza, fizz and ghosts, Daniel Craig, to talk about what happens after Bond; Kate Winslet, to talk about the struggles of her daughter’s generation; and Austin Butler, at a perfume launch of all things, to speak about his late mother. So much of Showbiz journalism is about getting a huge name and relying on that name alone to sell the story. What Jonathan manages to do, week in week out, is start a discussion.