Obituary: Dominick Harrod remembered

Dominick Harrod Dominick Harrod joined the BBC in 1971

Ex-BBC journalist Alan Ashton recalls working with the former BBC economics correspondent.

Dominick Harrod, the BBC's economics correspondent/editor for more than 20 years, died in hospital in Norwich, never recovering from a fall near his country home in Blakeney. He was 72.

He joined the BBC in 1971 from the Daily Telegraph where he spent three years as Washington correspondent.

His record with the BBC is impressive, interviewing every ruling prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer and covering 15 economic summits around the world.

He came into his own on Budget Day explaining the proposals live, not on the Radio 4 special, but to Jimmy Young's listeners on Radio 2. He was so popular and professional, the programme continued to employ him after he left the corporation in 1993. As a senior radio newsroom editor put it: "He was a correspondent with truly expert insights."

His BBC career originally covered both radio and television, but a TV editor decided he wasn't photogenic, so his later years were all on the radio.

Nothing too menial

Although regarded as a "toff" - his background and ancestry has been well covered in national press obituaries - he got on well with colleagues and kept in touch with many of us.

He had a rather undeserved reputation for meanness, which was not borne out by the lavish lunches he gave at the Garrick Club, which became his second home after the sudden tragic death of his wife, Christina, in 1995. Several of us lunched with him there and elsewhere over the past 20 years.

After he left the corporation, he spent a year as city editor of the Yorkshire Post and three years organising conferences for a foundation based at Windsor Castle, established by the Duke of Edinburgh to promote leadership.

I introduced him to Sir Mervyn King at Lord's last cricket season where the pair engaged in animated conversation in the pavilion and committee dining room. Whether it was about cricket (doubtful), finance, economics or politics, we will never know.

A memory of Dominick, for which I am especially grateful, occurred at the Ottawa summit in 1981. Local technicians were on strike, but an executive of the Canadian broadcasters, trained as an studio manager, volunteered to put the Today programme on air, fronted by the late John Timpson.

I was producer/editor and Dom came along every evening their time to take part in the programme, but probably more importantly, to act as a "goffer" - fetching running orders and more from machines several corridors away and brewing coffee.

He never hesitated or questioned those menial tasks and was rewarded with his - and Timpson's - favourite tipple - Scotch at the end of each programme, particularly the final night! That was not regarded as particularly daring or unusual in those days at the BBC.

Alan "Badger" Ashton worked as a senior radio journalist in the BBC from 1963 until 1992, including for GNS, Newsbeat and the Today programme.


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