Trevor Hyett remembers interviewing Muhammad Ali

My four years – 1974-1978 – with Granada Reports are still the best years of my working life. There are many highlights. One was a half-hour interview with Muhammad Ali in 1975. He was promoting a book, an autobiography, and I had to go down to ITN in Wells Street so do it, at three o’clock, because we had to get out by five so they could prepare for the six o’clock news. And we did it down the line, So somewhere, I’d like to think, there’s a two-inch tape of me with Muhammad Ali, and he was great. He was so nice, so humble, no ‘Big-time Charlie’ about him. Huge man, physically imposing, a generous interviewee. He respected the fact that I had to ask questions, he didn’t at any time suggest that the questions were too familiar or too obvious or whatever. And before we went on air he asked about the north of England. He said, “Yes, I’ve heard about the north of England.” He mentioned Liverpool, The Beatles of course, and he was just a good bloke to be with. I mean, it was a real highlight of my life to sit there for half an hour. But at the end of it – as I say, it was recorded in Wells Street, it was recorded down the line in Manchester – and I got him to sign my book. And the cameras were still rolling. And it was in – was it in telecine? Whatever it was – and at the end of the interview, I asked him to sign his book to me and my son Michael, because I knew Michael just loved him. And I got back to Manchester that evening, and Alan (?) said, “Why didn’t you get him to sign it to me?” I said, “I didn’t think you liked boxing,” He said, “It’s not boxing, it’s Muhammad Ali! Which of course was absolutely true to how… I never really liked boxing, but Muhammad Ali, you couldn’t help but admire the man.

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