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Whicker’s World Foundation launches new documentary awards at Sheffield Doc Fest

Whicker’s World Foundation launches new documentary

awards at Sheffield Doc Fest


  • Three awards worth a total of £100,000

  • Supporting authored storytelling in the UK

  • First winners to be announced at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016


Sunday 7th June at Sheffield Doc/Fest: the new Whicker’s World Foundation, whose principle aim is to give a much needed fillip to authored documentary storytelling in the UK, today launches three new documentary filmmaker awards worth a total of £100,000 for the promotion of curiosity in programme making, generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated broadcast journalist Alan Whicker, who died in 2013. Details of the Whicker’s World Foundation and the awards will be announced by filmmaker Kim Longinotto at a special event at Doc/Fest, following the screening of Whicker’s World: Conflict in Kentucky.


Alan Whicker interviewing Cassius Clay

Says Mark Atkin, Acting Festival Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest: “I am very enthused that this foundation aims to encourage authored documentary at a time when TV is becoming increasingly formatted and when most foundations have requirements to promote social issues. This is exactly what the industry needs right now”.


The three awards – the Funding Award (worth £80,000 / £10,000 runner up) to a debut filmmaker under 30 years of age; the Recognition Award (worth £4,000 / £1,000 runner up) to the finest industry newcomer aged 50 years of age or over; and the Best Audio Documentary (worth £4,000 / £1,000) to be awarded at the In The Dark audio festival, also part of Doc/Fest – will be looking for a spirit of inquisitiveness that will leave the viewer wanting more, and tell something new and unexpected about the world.


Alan Whicker with Papa Doc


The panel of judges, chaired by Valerie Kleeman, photographer, programme consultant and Whicker’s partner for more than 40 years, will also be looking for projects that are playful with how the story is told, either breaking new ground, or taking a familiar path to come up with a new style.


The Alan Whicker Foundation consultant, top ranking international TV executive Jane Mote, says: “Whicker’s World opened my eyes to the most amazing stories, people and places. Alan’s unique style and sharp wit was inspirational and I am so excited to be part of creating a Foundation to nurture the future trailblazers for international documentary film-making”.


Jane Ray, the Consultant Artistic Director for the Foundation is a multi-award winning documentary maker and executive producer in radio and television with a journalistic background and nearly 28 years’ service at the BBC. Her awards range from the Sony Award for best news programme (2002) and the TRIC award for best children’s programme (1993) to China’s Golden Kapok award for best director (2014). She worked with Alan throughout the 90s on various projects for radio. She also wrote and directed Radio 4’s archive programme about Alan: Around the World in 80 Years, presented by Michael Palin.


The first award winners will be announced by the Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final day of the 2016 festival.




For further information for Whicker’s World Foundation contact:

Siobhan Connor

+ 44 (0) 7966 177025


For further information for Sheffield Doc/Fest contact:

Sarah Harvey Publicity

+44 (0) 207 232 2812

+44 (0) 7958 597426


Sarah Harvey

Nikki Cummins

Joe Bond



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About Doc/Fest:

Sheffield Doc/Fest is the UK’s premier documentary and digital media festival. It is the place to see world and UK premieres of the best creative documentaries from the cinema, television and online arenas, and to hear from and meet filmmakers at Q&A sessions. Highlights of the film programme are honoured with an award programme including the Sheffield Grand Jury, Innovation, Environmental, Interactive, Youth Jury, Inspiration, Student Doc, Short Form and Audience Awards. In 2014, 3,263 full festival pass holders attended the Festival and it attracted over 26,700 members of the film-loving public.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 takes place from 5-10 June


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Memorial held for TV globetrotter Alan Whicker

Memorial held for TV globetrotter Alan Whicker

Yesterday I attended the Memorial Service of my dear friend Alan Whicker  at The Grosvenor Chapel in London’s Mayfair.

Alan WhickerAlan with Papa Doc

Sir Michael Parkinson and Monty Python star Michael Palin were among the guests.

Former BBC boss Michael Grade described Whicker as “one of the corner stones of the golden age of British television”.

Whicker died in July 2013 after a TV career lasting nearly six decades.

He was best known for Whicker’s World which ran from 1959 to 1988 on both the BBC and ITV.

He had… eyebrows that could speak a thousand words when raised slightly at the right moment.”

Lord Grade

“Alan Whicker belonged to that very exclusive club of gifted individuals who over so many decades consistently delivered memorable programmes for what is more usually such a transitory medium,” Lord Grade said.


“He had that unmistakable voice with its delicate inflections so easily mimicked, eyebrows that could speak a thousand words when raised slightly at the right moment… and an unerring instinct to know when to listen.”


Whicker’s dapper dress sense – which included his trademark smart blazer and tie – made him one of the most recognised figures on television.

Palin, who spoofed Whicker in a Monty Python sketch, said Whicker was “a towering figure” in the world of television.

He said Whicker had the “enviable ability to deliver introductions and summings up that were as crisp and precise as the clothes in which he delivered them”.

Palin recalled how he had been the fourth person the BBC had asked to present travel series Around the World in 80 Days, the first choice having been Whicker.

“I was later told – apocryphally I’m sure – that the reason he turned it down was that the BBC, in soliciting the great man’s services, had taken him out to lunch at the Pizza Hut in Shepherd’s Bush.

“Alan didn’t do Pizza Hut.”

Sir Michael Parkinson said Whicker had “inspired an entire generation of young journalists” to seek a television career.


“He never let celebrity cloud the business of being a proper journalist,” he added.


Whicker’s long list of famous interviewees included Peter Sellers, Joan Collins, the Sultan of Brunei and notorious Haitian dictator ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier.


Reference Tim Masters, BBC

Connor PR expert in publishing PR, Connor PR expert in Travel PR, Siobhan Connor worked with Alan Whicker

My memories of working with Alan Whicker

alan-whicker-webcopyI first met Alan Whicker and his partner Valerie Kleeman in 2008. I was working with September Films’ Chairman, David Green, who as a young director made 24 episodes of Whicker’s World.

BBC 2 commissioned Journey of a Lifetime, a series to celebrating Alan Whicker’s 50 years in television.

In the series, Alan Whicker takes us on an autobiographical journey through the second half of the 20th century. Classic clips from Whicker’s World are inter-cut with new material as the nation’s best-known international reporter retraces his steps, catches up with past interviewees and reflects on how the world has changed – for good and bad – over the last six decades.

An extraordinary archive reveals the number of genuine TV firsts established by Whicker – moments that have been endlessly copied ever since. Apart from landmark interviews with a diverse mix of characters ranging from Papa Doc to John Paul Getty, Whicker was a pioneer who brought subjects including plastic surgery, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, gay weddings, polygamy, swinging and gun-toting cops, fly-on-the-wall style, to British screens for the first time.

The show revisits these pioneering, iconic films, including the shocking clips of Whicker taking the first ever look inside a sex club in 1979; the first ever bullfight on British television in 1966 and the first ever gay kiss for British viewers in 1973.

The series also includes a number of landmark Whicker interviews with figures as diverse as Papa Doc, J Paul Getty and Percy Shaw, the inventor of the Cat’s Eye. There’s also the poignant, prophetic last ever interview given by Peter Sellers in 1979 in Beverly Hills, where the actor eerily predicts his own death shortly before tragically suffering a fatal heart attack.

During the series, Whicker provides some captivating fresh material as he returns to some of his favourite locations around the world and meets some of his most famous interviewees again.

In one episode, Whicker revisits one of his most famous encounters, Kurt & Kathy Wagner – the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and his favourite client, his wife. Plus he returns to Palm Beach, the subject of perhaps his most-watched show, to find out how life has changed for the super-rich on this improbable sandbar in Florida. As gay rights in California once more make headlines as the state argues over whether gay marriage should be legalised, Whicker meets up with the Reverend Troy Perry who has been campaigning for this right ever since Whicker first filmed with him in 1973. He also catches up with his old friend Joan Collins to explore how women can make it to the top in Hollywood.

Baroness Fiona Thyssen, the subject of one of Whicker’s very first in-depth documentaries “The Model Millionairess” (1963), has become a close friend and Whicker interviews her for a third time for this latest series. She visits Whicker at his home in Jersey to look back at the original film which opened up a secret world of glamour and wealth to an eager British audience.

Alan Whicker said,” You might say I’m set in my airways. I’m one of those lucky people whose professional and private lives blend exactly: I can’t tell which is which – and one of the most agreeable things is that many of the people I’ve interviewed have become my friends. These programmes are signed. They’re intensely personal.”

Alan Whicker’s Journey Of A Lifetime is produced by September Films, a division of DCD Media, for BBC2.
Executive Producers are September Films’ Chairman and DCD’s Chief Creative Officer David Green who, as a young director, made 24 episodes of Whicker’s World , and September Films’ Director of Programmes, Peter Davey.

Series Director: Stan Griffin
Producer: Peter Wyles

Associate Producer: Katharine Begg

I then went onto promote the book to accompany the series.

I became good friends with Alan and Valerie, visiting them in Jersey.

Valerie Kleeman, Alan Whicker’s partner 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. Quoting Noel Coward ,he would say “work is more fun than fun”

On this last journey he will arrive curious, fascinated, and ready for a new adventure. He had a wonderful life and I was lucky to have shared it with him”.

David Green – Film Director and TV Producer. President & Chairman, September Films USA said:

“He was a television giant – made my first of 24 films with him as a baby director in Alaska 36 yeas ago next month – a true original, his passion for TV and life was unique – a brilliant popular journalist and observer of the human state who achieved legendary status among his peers and was loved by the great British public”.

Alan Whicker would be amazed by the wonderful tributes, I only wish he were here to read and see this out pouring of kindness.


Broadcasting Legend Alan Whicker CBE Has Died

Alan WhickerBroadcasting legend Alan Whicker has died at home in Jersey after a short illness. He had been suffering from bronchial pneumonia and leaves behind his partner of 40 years, Valerie Kleeman.

After the Second World War, Alan Whicker became a journalist with the news agency Exchange Telegraph, acting as a correspondent during the Korean War. In 1957 he joined the BBC as part of the Tonight team, television’s first magazine programme. Alan went on to present the television programme for which he is best known, the long-running television series Whicker’s World. These programmes continued for more than 30 years. He was also instrumental in launching Yorkshire Television, producing television programmes for them from 1969 until 1992.

In the New Year’s Honours list published 31 December 2004, Alan Whicker was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to broadcasting.

In 2009, Alan Whicker returned to some of the locations and people who were originally featured in Whicker’s World for the BBC series Alan Whicker’s Journey Of A Lifetime. In this, he met with various people whom he had interviewed decades earlier, seeing how their lives had progressed.

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07966 177025
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