BBC HomeExplore the BBC

27 August 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Press Office
Search the BBC and Web
Search BBC Press Office

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Press Releases

Letter to Alistair

Category : World Service
Date : 30.04.2004
Printable version

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 talk nonsense.


"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.


Broadcast times


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:



Category : World Service
Date : 30.04.2004
Printable version


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy