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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 15th September 2006
(rpt) Sunday 17th September
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Joachim Fest, Khadambi Asalache, Warren Mitofsky, Patty Berg and Blaster Bates.
Joachim Fest
Journalist and historian who has died aged 79.

The German journalist and historian Joachim Fest wrote the definitive biography of Adolf Hitler and a number of other books on the Third Reich. He was also the cultural editor of the conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and his 2004 book 'Inside Hitler’s Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich' formed the basis of the acclaimed film 'Downfall' starring Bruno Ganz as Hitler.

Joachim Fest was one of Germany’s leading intellectuals and continued to be at the forefront of debate and controversy about the country’s history and culture until the end of his life.

Matthew Bannister talks to Thomas Kielinger, London correspondent for Die Welt, Joachim Fest’s publisher Lord Weidenfeld and to the director of 'Downfall', Oliver Hirschbiegel.

Joachim Fest was born on December 8th 1926.  He died September 11th 2006.  

Khadambi Asalache
Poet, novelist, civil servant and fretwork artist who has died aged 71.

Khadambi Asalache was born in Kaimosi , Kenya where his father was the local chief. Khadambi would be seen herding cattle whilst reading Shakespeare. He moved to London in 1960 and his first novel, 'The Calabash of Life' came out in 1967. It went into ten editions worldwide and was on the syllabus of many schools in Africa . 'Death of a Chief ' is perhaps his best known poem and is read by Burt Caesar.

Khadambi later became a Treasury civil servant and discovered that the 77A bus to work went along Wandsworth Road and in 1981 he bought a very run down house next to the launderette. To cover up the damp in the basement he introduced some pine fretwork and slowly transformed the house into a work of art.

Tim Knox, director of Sir John Soane's Museum and Khadambi's partner Susie Thompson take Matthew Bannister on a tour of the house. 'Death of a Chief ' which is perhaps Khadambi's best known poem is read by Burt Caesar.

Khadambi Asalache was born on February 28th 1935. He died on May 26th 2006.

Warren J Mitofsky
Pollster who has died aged 71.

Warren J Mitofsky introduced the exit poll and invented random digit dialling which revolutionised polling - which until then had to be done face to face. He conducted the first exit polls for CBS in 1967. He then went on to direct exit polls and quick counts for news organisations for almost 3,000 electoral contests in United States, Mexico, Russia and the Philippines. He provided the only exit polls for the Russian presidential elections in 1996 and 2000. His trade mark caution in predicting winners supplied his impeccable record for accuracy.

Matthew Bannister talks to Sir Robert Worcester President of MORI and close friend of Warren J Mitofsky.

Warren J Mitofsky died on September 1st 2006. 
Patty Berg
Golfer who has died aged 88.

Patty Berg was co-founder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and its first president. 
She was one of the pioneers of women’s golf – winning 28 amateur titles before turning pro in 1940 and co-founding the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour in 1950.

She won 15 major tournaments - a record which remains unbeaten. She was named as one of the fifty greatest golfers of all time by Golf Digest Magazine in the year 2000.

Matthew Bannister talks to Marilyn Smith, professional golfer and co-founder of LPGA.

Patty Berg was born on February 13th 1918. She died September 10th 2006. 
Demolition expert and comedian who has died aged 83.

Derek Bates learned his explosive skills as a bomb disposal expert for the RAF during the second world war. He returned and started a demolition business with the catchy slogan: "I'll blast anything". Blaster Bates also had a gift for story telling and this led to his own one man show and a number of live albums in the 1960s and 70s.

Derek Mcintosh Bates was born February 5th 1923. He died September 1st 2006.
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