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My dad interviewed Elvis Presley: Remembering the magical moment the king of rock 'n' roll touched down on UK soil

Ian Nelson was the only journalist to interview Elvis on UK soil when he landed at Prestwick Airport in 1960.

When Elvis touched down on British soil in 1960, it was a momentous occasion.

The rumour that Elvis was due to stop over at Prestwick Airport as he flew home from national service in Germany spread like wildfire and fans raced to see the world's biggest star in the flesh.

Stepping off the plane in his military uniform and descending the stairs, Elvis hollered to the crowd below: 'Where am I?'

'Prestwick!' came the response from the excited, screaming teenage girls.

The stopover to refuel the plane was brief - around 90 minutes - and meant to be a closely guarded secret among personnel in US Air Force Unit 1631.

But a secret like that was too big to keep, and of course, the cat was quickly out of the bag.

Elvis was the perfect gentleman - chatting, signing autographs and smiling while his picture was taken with fans.

And when roving reporter Ian Nelson asked if he could interview him, Elvis was more than happy to oblige.

The big interview

It was the evening of March 3 1960 when Ian got the tip-off about Elvis.

'I lived in Prestwick at the time, a short distance from the airport', the former staffer for the Scottish Daily Mail recalled a month before his death aged 89 in 2009.

'The Americans had a base there and I had met quite a lot of them. The colonel knew I was always looking for stories and he phoned me to say there was a famous name arriving, so I nipped down'.

Ian's swift trip would earn him the rare distinction of being the only British journalist to interview - and be photographed with - Elvis on British soil.

'Girls were there, shouting', he remembered.

Elvis meets local fans at the perimiter fence and signs autographs
Elvis meets local fans at the perimeter fence and signs autographs

'It was about 10 pm. Everyone was asking for his autograph and I recall my daughter, Nicola, saying later, 'Why didn't you get an autograph?'

'But that isn't what journalists do'.

Then only 25 years old, Elvis was already a huge global star.

But to Ian he was simply another high-profile visitor to Prestwick, a base convenient for A-list types given its greater privacy than the airports in major cities.

'Luckily, we had a small lounge to ourselves and we chatted away for over 20 minutes while the plane was refueling', he recalled.

'I thought he was charming, a very polite young man. He called me Sir. He was just like the kid next door'.

Elvis was still in uniform, so he felt compelled to keep his hat on throughout the discussion before the pair closed with a warm handshake.

'I thought he was charming, a very polite young man. He called me Sir. He was just like the kid next door'.

He avoided questions about his teenage girlfriend, Priscilla, but when Ian asked him if he would perform in Scotland, Elvis said: 'I kind of like the idea of Scotland. I'm going to do a European tour and it would be nice to come back here'.

He never did, but the picture of Ian asking the question came back into the family's life more than once over the years.

'His parting words to me when his flight was called were: 'Well, Sir, it's been very nice talking to you. Hope we meet again some time'. But of course, we never did'.

Those magical 90 minutes were the only time Elvis set foot on British soil.

All the photos taken during the short visit were by Ian Ghee, the official photographer for Scottish Aviation Limited.

He had taken his camera to the airport having been told only that a celebrity would be visiting.

A photograph of Ian interviewing Elvis hung on the walls of his various homes, including in Dunblane, until his death.

Ian kept press cuttings of his famous meeting close until his final days in a nursing home, enchanting caring staff with the legendary tale.

The Prestwick visit is commemorated in the Elvis Presley Bar at the airport.

'My dad interviewed Elvis'

Nicola Hodge was only nine years old when her father interviewed the rock and rock legend.

'The night my dad got the tip-off that Elvis might be landing, I was in my bed', recalls the 68-year-old, formerly of Braco, Perthshire.

'I knew all about it and I knew who Elvis was but I was too young to go along to the airport.

'My dad phoned my god mum's daughter, Joyce, who was a lot older than me, and asked if she wanted to go.

'Of course she did and so he took her along. As soon as she hears Elvis on the radio these days, she thinks about my dad and that night'.

The young Nicola wasn't, as you might expect, shocked and star struck to hear her father had spent the evening chatting with the handsome music star.

For her, it was just something that happened; it was her dad's lifestyle.

'It didn't matter who he interviewed - whether Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra or the first woman on the moon', she reflects.

'My father always had his feet firmly on the ground. He was a journalist through and through. That was his job.

'I grew up hearing about all these people he was going

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