Anthony Clare, the psychiatrist with the chair, dies aged 64

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The Independent Online

Tributes have been paid to renowned psychiatrist, broadcaster and author Professor Anthony Clare, who died suddenly in Paris at the weekend, aged 64.

Best known for his BBC Radio 4 series In The Psychiatrist's Chair, he was respected for efforts to demystify psychiatry and to open up the area of psychological medicine to the public.

Professor Clare, who first gained prominence on Radio 4's Stop the Week in the 1970s, fronted In the Psychiatrist's Chair since 1982. He was renowned for his use of standard interviewing techniques on the programme to garner in-depth information from high-profile guests, many of whom broke down on air. Bob Monkhouse cried after revealing that his mother had not spoken to him for 20 years. The former Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown, also became emotional over his father's death.

Radio 4's controller, Mark Damazer, said: "Anthony Clare had a unique interviewing style and In The Psychiatrist's Chair was a gold-standard Radio 4 programme. "He was perceptive, unafraid and yet courteous. His subjects were not in the chair to be belittled. But as his questioning unfolded, the audience discovered more about the thoughts and emotions of the famous and powerful. He was a terrific broadcaster."

A friend and colleague, Professor Patricia Casey, professor of psychiatry at University College Dublin, said he was unique.

"He did demystified psychiatry. When people thought psychiatrists had two horns and locked people up, he was [taking] psychiatry out of the closet."