Mick Brown

The Telegraph

Mick Brown has been a fixture at the Telegraph for many years, but his skill and enthusiasm are as fresh as ever, as this entry for the Press Awards show.

He is, of course, a fantastic interviewer but has the rare ability to place quotes within a broader, deeper analysis of a subject - for example while speaking to Freddie Mercury’s former partner and lifelong best friend Mary Austin.

There was great excitement when Sotheby's announced it would be auctioning the vast and exotic collection of antiques, artworks and possessions belonging to Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, who died in 1991.

Brown interviewed Mary Austin, to whom he had bequeathed the house and its contents. Austin, who had given no interviews for more than 25 years and never spoken so candidly about her relationship with Mercury, shared some illuminating personal anecdotes about his life, his collection and their years together.

The result was a uniquely revealing portrait of their lives together. As one reader commented: ‘Wow! Mick Brown you have got as close to perfection as I can imagine.’

Meanwhile Brown worked tirelessly on a less-immediately-obvious tale when he went back to the disappearance of rugby and reality TV star Levi Davis. The case had fallen off the headlines. Davis had gone to Ibiza on holiday in October 2022 following a series of setbacks in his rugby career and complications in his personal life. He took the ferry to Barcelona and then disappeared, last seen on footage from a CCTV camera in Barcelona.

Painstakingly, Brown tracked his final days and the sometimes murky events leading up to his disappearance. It was a tangled story in which sport, celebrity, social media, drugs and crime interconnect.

He interviewed family members, friends, acquaintances, fellow players and a private detective, many of whom were reluctant to talk. Brown had to establish a high degree of trust in order to break the wall of silence with a gripping and poignant result.

When a documentary about Phil Spector was announced, the legendary producer and inventor of the ‘wall of sound’ who had been imprisoned for murder, it was clear that it was one that only Brown could write about. He had originally interviewed Spector for the Telegraph magazine in 2003, just four weeks before he murdered Lana Clarkson. It was the first interview Spector had given in over 20 years - and Brown found him to be a fascinating, engaging, but deeply troubled man.

Brown attended the subsequent trial, which lasted several months. Spector’s motives, mental health and past history were raked over endlessly but in all the press the story received, there was very little focus on Lana Clarkson, the victim, who was derided as a ‘B-movie actress’ and ‘a faded sex bomb’ and afforded very little dignity in death. For this feature, Brown interviewed Clarkson’s mother and cleverly weaves together the story of Lana’s life with highlights from the documentary, his personal recollections of meeting Spector and reporting from the trial.