Clarke returns to 'World at One' after nine-month cancer battle

For nine months, the nation's lunchtime airwaves have been devoid of the wry and authoritative voice that is required listening for cabinet ministers, newspaper editors and housewives.

So when listeners to BBC Radio 4 hear the words "This is the World at One with Nick Clarke" today, they will feel widespread satisfaction at the return of one of the few journalists to have attained the status of being described as "a national treasure".

The 58-year-old broadcaster will be presenting the corporation's flagship lunchtime news bulletin for the first time since he was diagnosed with a cancer that required the amputation of one of his legs. Mr Clarke, who became synonymous with the World at One's reputation as an agenda-setting news programme, will initially present the 30-minute bulletin for two days a week but will eventually return as its full-time presenter. Shaun Ley, who had stepped in to replace Mr Clarke, will continue to work three days a week in the meantime.

Colin Hancock, the programme's editor, said: "It's been great to see Nick's strength, determination and humour throughout the months of treatment and his return is wonderful news."

The restoration of Mr Clarke to the role as Radio 4's chief lunchtime inquisitor, renowned for his clashes with Alastair Campbell among others, follows his battle against the rare tumour which was found near the top of his left leg in November last year.

The leg was amputated a few weeks later and he has undergone chemotherapy during a recovery which he chronicled with characteristic dry humour in newspaper articles and an audio diary.

Speaking after he recently returned to the BBC studios, Mr Clarke said: "Someone told me broadcasting was like riding a bike: you never forget.

"I had to remind them I can't ride a bike any more. But I'm sure it'll be all right. I'm looking forward to it."

The father of four children, who has four-year-old twin sons, became a favourite with listeners for his calm, incisive interview style, cutting through the bluster of ministers and their critics alike.

Few broadcasters and newspapers appearing after the World at One will set their running order or front pages without first hearing the programme's take on the day's events.

Mr Clarke was voted radio broadcaster of the year in 1999, the same year he published a biography of the radio legend Alistair Cooke.

The discovery of a sarcoma, an aggressive cancer that attacks connective tissues and affects fewer than a thousand Britons a year, brought the broadcaster's routine as host of the World at One - and other programmes including the Round Britain Quiz - to an abrupt halt.

After being warned that without rapid and drastic treatment, the tumour would kill him, he underwent an operation lasting three-and-a-half hours to remove what he described as his "hapless limb".

In an account of his surgery and its aftermath, he wrote: "When I came home, after a month in hospital, I hopped up the path to be greeted by a sign in the window: 'Welcome home, Peg-leg'."

Mr Clarke, previously a presenter on BBC2's Newsnight and Radio 4's The World this Weekend, has been touted as a successor to John Humphrys on Today.

He has made it clear he is not a fan of the limelight. In June, Mr Clarke said: "Going back to The World at One will be a climax of sorts, but I don't want it to be much of a climax because it's embarrassing to emerge like some knight in shining armour and there's the princess who's been asleep for 100 years and you plant a kiss on her pale lips and the programme will come to life, 'cos it ain't like that. Things have gone quite well since I was away."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Sauce Recruitment: Programme Sales Executive - Independent Distributor

£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...

Guru Careers: PPC Account Executive / Paid Search Executive

£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us