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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 22nd September 2006
(rpt) Sunday 24th September
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Oriana Fallaci, John Young, Raymond Baxter, Ed Benedict and King Taufau'ahau Tupou the Fourth.
Oriana Fallaci
Italian journalist, author and former war correspondent who has died aged 77.

Oriana Fallaci became a journalist at the age of 16. She was a war correspondent in Vietnam, Latin America, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. In 1968, she was shot and seriously wounded in the student riots before the Mexico City Olympics. She became famous, however, for her interviews with celebrities and international politicians which often lasted for many hours. Henry Kissinger described their meeting as the most disastrous press interview he had ever had.

Mathhew Bannister talks to BBC's Rome correspondent, David Willey who met Oriana Fallaci in Vietnam and hears from Lucia Annunciata - the former Director of the state run broadcaster Rai, her latest publisher Paolo Zaninoni and journalist Alessandro Cannavo.

Oriana Fallaci was born on July 29th 1929. She died of cancer on September 15th 2006.

John Young
Brewer who has died aged 85.

John Young was the chairman of Young’s Brewery for more than four decades.  He went against the tide of the industry in the 1970s, insisting that Young’s make and sell traditional beer matured naturally in its cask while many of the breweries moved from cask ale to keg beer and then ten years later to lager. It paid off and sales soared. As a result Young’s has remained an independent brewery making real ale until now. The death of John Young coincides with the closure of the brewery as production moves to Bedford at the end of the month.

On the eve of its closure, Matthew Bannister visits the Young’s Brewery in Wandsworth and talks to John Young’s brother Thomas and to his old friend and colleague Michael Hardman. 

John Young was born August 7th 1921. He died September 17th 2006. 

Raymond Baxter
Television Presenter who has died aged 84.

Raymond Baxter was the first presenter of Tomorrow’s World and worked on the programme for twelve years introducing the breathalyser, the pocket calculator and the first video game. 

During the war he flew Spitfires and got his first job in broadcasting as an announcer with the Forces broadcasting in Cairo. He was taken on by the BBC as an outside broadcast commentator and is remembered for his voiceovers of the Queen’s coronation and Concorde’s first flight. He was also a motoring correspondent and a competitor in the Monte Carlo rallies.

Montage of Raymond Baxter and some of his broadcasts.

Raymond Baxter was born January 25th 1922. He died September 15th 2006.
Ed Benedict
Animator who has died aged 94.

Ed Benedict designed some of television's most famous cartoon characters for Hanna-Barbera including Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone.

His style was to draw heavily outlined figures, with unusual asymmetry and flat geometric shapes. The simplicity of his characters enabled Hanna Barbera to make cartoons for television at less than half the budget previously allocated for such films in the cinema.

Matthew Bannister talks to the author of 'Hanna-Barbera Cartoons' Michael Mallory.

Ed Benedict was born August 23rd 1912. He died August 28 th 2006.
King Taufa'aha Tupou IV of Tonga
Has died aged 88.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga was renowned for his intellectual abilities, the ambitions he held for his people, for the reforms he brought to Tongan society and for his size. He weighed thirty five stone but dieted to set example to his people. He vastly improved education opportunities in the country and set up the Kingdom’s first teaching training college.

He kept a tight control over Tonga  but towards the end of his reign he recognised the need for change, replacing his son as Prime Minister with a pro democracy candidate.

Reporter Colin Peacock reports on the King’s elaborate funeral and on his impact on Tonga.

King Taufa'aha Tupou IV of Tonga was born July 4th 1918. He died September 10th 2006. aged 88.
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