In Whicker’s World Alan Whicker, an urbane, subtle observer travelled the world gently coaxing information from those he encountered. Revelling in his surroundings, an often blazer-clad Whicker effortlessly crossed cultural divides with series based in India, Hong Kong, the US and Australia.
Whicker’s satirical style also ensured his subjects revealed more than they intend. A good-natured interviewer, Whicker gave time and space to judge a range of intriguing characters and an arched eyebrow is a reminder that all is not always as it may first appear. From Miss World to clandestine nuns, Whicker’s world is one worth visiting.
Whicker’s World grew out of Alan Whicker’s spot on the BBC’s Tonight show in 1958 before gaining a fully fledged series in the early sixties. Whicker was with the BBC until 1968 before switching to ITV’s Yorkshire network and then back again to the BBC in 1984 before one last hurrah back at ITV from 1992.
In Papa Doc: The Black Sheep, Whicker gained unprecedented access to Haiti’s feared despotic leader Dr Francois Duvalier. The presenter traveled in the presidential car and was handed a book of signed poems. The quiet, considered probing is still considered one of Whicker’s finest triumphs.
As a correspondent in the Korean War, Whicker was once reported to have died while on reporting duty. In fact, he was travelling to Tokyo at the time of his “disappearance” and later wryly revealed disappointment at the fullness of his tributes: “…so the paper then printed my obit: Alan Whicker, war correspondent of Exchange Telegraph, unfortunately was shot down. And then a little bit about my lack of achievement.”
UK / BBC – ITV – Yorkshire / 1958-1994