Broadcaster Alan Whicker dies at 87
Presenter and reporter was best known for his long-running Whicker’s World TV series
British Journalist and Broadcaster Alan Whicker of ’Whicker’s World’ has died aged 87 from bronchial pneumonia. Photograoh: Steve Finn/Getty Images
Broadcaster and journalist Alan Whicker, known for his global travels during a distinguished TV career which stretched nearly 60 years, has died at the age of 87.
The presenter and reporter died in the early hours of today after suffering from bronchial pneumonia, his spokeswoman said.
Alan Whicker, who was probably best known for his Whicker’s World TV series, died at home in Jersey.
The star — who had been with partner Valerie Kleeman for more than 40 years — presented Whicker’s World, for a little over three decades. The show ran on both the BBC and ITV.
The documentary programmes famously brought a glimpse of the exotic jetset lifestyles of the rich and famous into UK homes. In 2009, he returned to some of the locations and people who featured over the years for a BBC series, Alan Whicker’s Journey Of A Lifetime.
His distinctive voice and delivery led to him regularly being parodied by, among others, the Monty Python team, and a jokey rap delivered Whicker-style, called Wikka Wrap, even made the top 20 in 1981. He once entered a Whicker soundalike contest and managed to finish in third place.
Egypt-born Whicker had also been a war correspondent and, during his own service in the Second Word War, he was among the first group of Allied forces to enter Milan and he filmed footage of the body of Mussolini.
Whicker, who was awarded a CBE for his services to broadcasting eight years ago, moved to the UK as a child. He went on to become a captain in the Devonshire Regiment, and was in the British army’s film and photo unit in Italy in 1943.
After the war, as a news journalist he was a correspondent in the Korean War, during which he was mistakenly reported to have been killed, but in a telegraph to reassure people he was still alive he wrote: “Unkilled. Uninjured. Onpressing”.
After joining the BBC in 1957 he became a reporter for the Tonight programme and within a couple of years he had launched Whicker’s World, a hugely popular programme which continued until 1990.
The show saw him interviewing the rich, glamorous and powerful as he presented viewers with a glimpse into the lives of figures such as Joan Collins, Peter Sellers, the Sultan of Brunei and the Haitian president Papa Doc Duvalier.
He was also an early shareholder in the ITV regional station Yorkshire Television, which produced Whicker’s World for many years.
Whicker was honoured with the Richard Dimbleby Award at the Baftas in 1978 for his contribution to broadcasting.