Globe-trotting British broadcaster Whicker dead at 87

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 12, 2013 12:13 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran British broadcaster and journalist Alan Whicker, whose career spanned five decades and whose clipped delivery style was parodied by Monty Python, died on Friday at the age of 87.

Whicker was best known for the award-winning "Whicker's World" globe-trotting documentary series which ran on the publicly funded BBC and ITV networks between 1959 and 1988.

One of his programs featured the Haitian dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier. The hit BBC satirical program Monty Python parodied Whicker's military-style demeanor in a sketch set on a tropical island where everyone acted and dressed like Whicker.

Whicker had been suffering from bronchial pneumonia and died on Jersey in the Channel Islands, his home since the 1970s, his spokeswoman said.

Valerie Kleeman, his partner of 40 years, said Whicker had always loved his work.

"He said that he didn't know where work ended and private life began. Quoting Noel Coward, he would say, 'Work is more fun than fun'," she said in a statement.

A captain in the British Army during World War Two, the Egypt-born Whicker was one of the first Allied soldiers to enter Milan and filmed footage of the body of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

He became a journalist after the war and joined the BBC in 1957 and worked on the current affairs show "Tonight" but it was "Whicker's World" that made the journalist with his trademark blazer and moustache into a household name.

He retired from full-time broadcasting in 1998 but returned in 2009 with a BBC series, "Alan Whicker's Journey of a Lifetime", in which he returned to many of the locations and people he had encountered during his career.

In 2005 he received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) from the queen for services to broadcasting.

(Reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Michael Roddy)