UK

The Food Programme founder Derek Cooper dies, aged 88

Derek Cooper
Image caption Derek Cooper presented a number of BBC radio and television shows

Former BBC presenter Derek Cooper, who founded the long-running radio show The Food Programme, has died, aged 88.

The Scottish journalist and writer also worked on shows including Tomorrow's World, PM, Today, and You and Yours.

On BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme, which first broadcast in 1979, Mr Cooper investigated the culinary world on behalf of consumers.

He was appointed OBE in 1997 and honoured at the 2001 Sony Awards for his pioneering work on food.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionArchive clip of Derek Cooper presenting The Food Programme - Taste of the East

Mr Cooper's broadcasting career began at Radio Malaya in 1950 and he worked at ITN before becoming a familiar voice on BBC radio and television.

'Robust questioning'

In the first episode of Tomorrow's World, he voiced a report about kidney dialysis.

A tribute posted on The Food Programme's Twitter page said Mr Cooper had "reintroduced a nation to its food culture".

Image caption Mr Cooper was appointed OBE in 1997

He was also the first chairman and president of the Guild of Food Writers, which gives out the Derek Cooper Award for campaigning and investigative food writing and broadcasting.

Mr Cooper was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1995.

Further tributes to him were paid on Twitter, with food critic Jay Rayner writing: "Farewell to Derek Cooper: a superb broadcaster, but more importantly a standard bearer for a robust, questioning tradition of food journalism."

Former Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin tweeted: "Sad to hear about the death of Derek Cooper who not only brought us @BBCFoodProg but also the first Tomorrow's World."

Writer and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli called Mr Cooper the "comforting voice of a generation".