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alan whicker dies




Inside Whicker’s World: The life and travels of Alan Whicker



  • Alan Whicker collection on view now as part of an exhibition of material from the BFI National Archive’s Special Collections; ‘Latest Acquisitions is free to view in the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank until October 23
  • Items on display include Alan Whicker’s passports, a BBC Audience report for Whicker Down Under, interview question cards for Papa Doc: The Black Sheep (1969) and The World of James Bond (1967), photographs, correspondence, and shooting schedules
  • Test your knowledge by taking part in a travel quiz made by the Whicker’s World Foundation –
  • Submissions for Whicker’s World Foundation Awards 2017 are now being accepted

As well as caring for one of the world’s richest and most significant moving image collections, the BFI National Archive also holds world-class Special Collections of scripts, posters, designs, photographs and other documents, including the archives of some of Britain’s most important film and programme makers. This exhibition presents highlights from some of our exciting recent acquisitions including the papers of Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, television journalist and documentary-maker Alan Whicker, and S John Woods, the man behind many of the best-loved Ealing Studios posters. The exhibition is open now and free to view until October 23rd 2016 at BFI Southbank, Mezzanine Gallery, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT.


The BFI National Archive is now home to the archives of pioneering investigative TV journalist, Alan Whicker, donated by Valerie Kleeman, Whicker’s World Foundation. The collection contains meticulous records of one of the most enduring and influential careers in British television history, spanning the late 1950s into the 21st century.


This is an extensive and significant donation covering the entire career of a world-renowned broadcaster, and represents a unique insight into the production methods of a master documentarian. Alan Whicker’s name is a by-word for brilliantly crafted and revealing studies of people and places, whether exploring behind the scenes of the Miss World competition, interviewing Papa Doc in Haiti, or exposing the lifestyles of the hippies of San Francisco, with an enquiring mind and a sceptical tone. This unlikely figure, clad in Gucci tie and blazer, found his way into the nation’s hearts as he went where his audience was unlikely to follow.


The meticulously kept Alan Whicker archive spans the years 1938-2014. It includes a school report from 1938, documents relating to his war career and letters, photographs, extensive production files, audience reports, interview notes and questions (including Whicker’s hand-annotated question cards) and transcripts of every TV programme he made, along with some, as yet, unidentified films. The archive gives an insider’s view of some of the key events, social trends and personalities of the 20th century, while fully documenting the changing world of television reportage across more than five decades.



Around Whicker’s World in 13 Guesses

Test your knowledge of Alan Whicker’s Life and Work by taking part in our quiz


Submissions for Whicker’s World Foundation Awards 2017 are now being accepted


The Funding Award

This is the primary focus of Whicker’s World Foundation. Each year £80,000 will be awarded to a new director with the most promising pitch for an authored documentary which fulfils the core criteria of the Foundation and can be completed for screening with this award. The money will be paid in instalments to the director’s film company, enabling a project which deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. This year it was won by Alex Bescoby for Burma’s Lost Royals. The closing date for entries is 31st January 2017 and the shortlists will be announced in May 2016. Entrants must be aged 35 years or younger on the closing date for applications. The first winners will be announced by Whicker’s World Foundation at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award Ceremony, which will take place on the final night of the 2017 festival, 13th June 2017.


The Whicker’s World Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA)

For 2017 we are introducing a new Funding Award for Radio and Audio documentary projects in association with the Radio Academy. This is for a documentary, 15 minutes or over, broadcast or published online in the previous year. The Whicker’s World Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA) has a £5,000 first prize and £2,000 runner up award. The deadline for this award is the 23rd of December, with the best pitch being announced at a special event in March 2017.



The Recognition Awards

In addition to our funding awards there are two further annual prizes to recognise completed work: the ‘Audio Award’ and the ‘Sage Award’, the latter of which is for the finest industry newcomer over the age of fifty.

Alan worked in radio before TV and was snapped up by Radio 2 in the late 1990s, adding what Jim Moir, the Controller from 1996 to 2003, described as “great lustre to my network”. Initially Alan’s radio programmes revolved around re-visiting his most memorable encounters from Whickers World: from the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ to Margaret Rutherford’s transsexual adoptee who ‘gave birth’ to a mixed-race daughter in South Carolina. He went on to create a radio history of television called Itll Never Last.

Whicker’s World Foundation will award an annual £5,000 prize for the best audio project of over 15 minutes in length, broadcast in the last year. A runner-up will receive £2,000.

The Whicker’s World Sage Award

‘Retirement’ was not a word in Alan’s vocabulary. He was 83 when he wrote and presented Whicker’s War, a much acclaimed account of his army experiences in Italy for Channel 4. He made his last series for BBC Two, Journey of a Lifetime, in his late eighties. The Sage award will recognise a TV or audio professional who has come to air with an authored story for the first time, a prize of £5,000 will be awarded annually to an applicant aged 50 plus. Submissions of no more than 10 minutes; this can be for presentation but must be their own work. A runner-up will receive £2,000. Keith Earnest Hoult won this award for for Fluechtlinge – Refugee. Keith, a fan of Alan Whicker’s ‘gentle approach’ to interviewing, was inspired to create a ten-minute film about Syrians seeking refuge in a disused airport used for the Berlin Airlift. When he witnessed his friend’s wife Caroline trying to help refugees against a growing backlash he ‘felt the urge to film it if only for her family to reflect on later in life’. Keith learnt his film-making skills at the SAE Institute after redundancy and divorce turned his life upside-down. Judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need.’


For further details on the awards and entry forms please go to




Notes to editors:


For images, media information and interviews please contact:

Siobhan Connor at Connor PR   + 44 (0) 7966 177025


For Terms and Conditions and award Criteria please go to

Join the conversation:   @whickersworld


About Whicker’s World Foundation

On 7 June 2015 Whicker’s World Foundation, whose principle aim is to give a much needed fillip to authored documentary storytelling in the UK, launched three new documentary awards worth over £100,000 for the promotion of curiosity in programme making, generously funded by a legacy left by the celebrated broadcast journalist Alan Whicker. The launch took place in the Sheffield Winter Gardens led by Alex Graham, chair or Doc/Fest, Jane Ray, Artistic Director for the foundation and Kim Longinotto, multi award winning filmmaker. Entries for 2017 Awards opened on September 26th 2016

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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