Category : World
Date : 30.04.2004
The BBC World
Service pays tribute to the late Alistair Cooke in Letter to Alistair
on 15 and 22 May.
Veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke died at his New York
home in March this year, aged 95.
For 58 years he presented Letter from America, the world's
longest running speech radio programme.
First broadcast in 1946 it continued until Cooke's retirement
in February 2004 with his 2,869th programme.
Cooke described it as "a weekly personal letter
to a Briton by a fireside, about American life, people and places in
the American news".
1n 1973 Cooke received an honorary knighthood for his
contribution to Anglo-American understanding, and a year later addressed
the United States Congress on its 200th anniversary.
He also received a Bafta and Sony Radio Award for his
services to broadcasting.
Producer Tony Grant compiles some of his best moments
from the series. Working mainly in London he met
Cooke only a few times.
He recalls: "I used to joke with him 'okay Alistair
let's have the script then!' and he would laugh, and tell me not to
"Then he would disappear into the studio and read
through the 2,000 words of his script with hardly a fluff."
He impressed audiences with his high quality work.
Alistair Cooke remained for decades the accomplished
broadcaster, an elegant writer and a man of enormous wit and charm who
made sense of the American Century.
Letter to Alistair: 2 x 15 minute programmes
Saturday 15 & Saturday 22 May: 0430 and 1130 (GMT);
UK time 5.30am and 12.30pm
Listen online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/index.shtml