Media moghul Robert Maxwell was a war hero who embodied Britain’s post-war boom: but within days of mysterious death, he was already reviled as the embodiment of greed and corruption. What went so wrong?
In February 1991, the media mogul and former MP Robert Maxwell made a triumphant entrance into Manhattan harbour aboard his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, to complete his purchase of the ailing New York Daily News. Crowds lined the quayside to watch his arrival, taxi drivers stopped their cabs to shake his hand and children asked for his autograph. But just ten months later, Maxwell disappeared from the same yacht off the Canary Islands, only to be found dead in the water soon afterward. As his empire fell apart, long-hidden debts and unscrupulous dealings came to light: and soon his reputation was in tatters.
Journalist and author John Preston has interviewed everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Peter Mandelson, from Alistair Campbell to Nicholas Coleridge; seeking to uncover the true Robert Maxwell. On this week’s podcast, he joins us to deliver a definitive account of his extraordinary rise and scandalous fall.