Rebecca Hardy

Daily Mail

She has a singular ability to get everyone - from the most alpha to the most afflicted - to confess the contents of their hearts. Add to this a beguilingly clear and direct style, and a sophisticated talent for conveying powerful emotions, and it’s all too clear why Rebecca Hardy should again be head of the pack in this year’s Interviewer of the Year category.

While she is truly professional at doggedly pursuing exclusives - indeed, all of her entries this year are exclusives - Rebecca has a uniquely tender touch when she sits with her subjects. An editor’s dream, nothing is out of her remit. Politics, comedy, scandal, tragedy and celebrity are all in her cuttings file. And sometimes her pieces combine pretty much the lot: take her rollicking interview with disgraced MP ‘tractor porn’ Neil Parish, and his wife, Sue. Yes, it was hilarious - surely, this is the only article this year to document a wronged wife confessing that: ‘In the past, I’ve chased him round the kitchen with burdizzos — the things you use on cattle to crush their balls’ - but there was a certain melancholy, deftly conveyed, to Rebecca’s portrait of a man who had squandered a successful career in a moment of madness.

Meanwhile her heartbreaking meeting with Nevres Kamal, mother of Azra, one of the victims of David Fuller, the man who sexually abused corpses in a police mortuary, depicted a women in a state of complete devastation. The detail of this case is truly gruelling to read, but Rebecca’s skill at presenting the hardest, most terrible subjects, in a manner fit for a midmarket reader was nothing short of remarkable. The memory of Rebecca’s conversation with Nevres - ‘I was kissing my daughter’s mouth and face where he had abused her — and touched her hair and touched her skin. He took her shroud off. How do you . . . that image . . . how?’ - will live on with readers, long after they have put down their newspapers. Crowning all this, is an interview with Andrew Neil on the GB News debacle. Rebecca penetrated Neil’s usually bombastic exterior to discover how this professional disaster nearly destroyed one of our most respected broadcasters - ‘“I came close to a breakdown,” he confesses, tears falling’ - before systematically anatomising the almost unbelievably haphazard launch of GB News. It’s a gripping read - both for media watchers, and readers everywhere.