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Tributes are paid to TV legend Alan Whicker

Tributes are paid to TV legend Alan Whicker

TRIBUTES have been paid to the TV legend Alan Whicker who has passed away at the age of 87.

With his show Whicker’s World, which ran from 1959 to 1988, he travelled the  globe to produce some of the most interesting television documentaries of their time.  Suave and always impeccable dressed, Mr. Whicker would interview everyone from dictators — including Papa Doc Duvalier — to celebrities and millionaires.

His trademark politeness was often the key to the success of his interviews, allowing him to reach a point where he could ask the more difficult questions of his subjects which other presenters would have missed.

Above all, he always appeared to be enjoying himself. 

His television shows enjoyed top ratings and made him a household name. His style was often parodied by comedians — most memorably by Monty Python. It was claimed that he once entered an Alan Whicker sound-a-like competition and came third!

Mr. Whicker had first developed his skills during the Second World War while working with a British Army film unit. He went on to become a war correspondent, covering the conflict in Korea.

After his stint in Fleet Street, he became a correspondent for the BBC’s current affairs TV show Tonight in 1957. It was while working for the flagship programme that he developed the distinctive presentational style that become so familiar to the millions of people who watched Whicker’s World.

His work was twice recognized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts — in 1965 with a Factual Personality Award and in 1978 with a Richard Dimbleby Award.

After enjoying retirement for a number of years, he returned to television in 2009 with Alan Whicker’s Journey of a Lifetime (see below), in which he revisited some of the people and places he had featured in his original shows.

Among the many tributes was one from his partner of more than 40 years, Valerie Kleeman. She said: “A few years ago a poll asked who was the most envied man in the country, and Alan won by a country mile. He said that he didn’t know where work ended and private life began. On his last journey he will arrive curious, fascinated and ready for a new adventure.”

To view a short trailer for Alan Whicker’s Journey of a Lifetime, click here.

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