Inquisitor Walden fills void left by Cooke as voice of Radio 4

A year after the death of the legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke, the veteran inquisitor Brian Walden is to replace him as the "distinctive voice" of BBC radio.

A year after the death of the legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke, the veteran inquisitor Brian Walden is to replace him as the "distinctive voice" of BBC radio.

Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4, has revealed that the station is to launch a new series in place of Letter from America , a year after Cooke's death at the age of 95. Point of View will not follow exactly the same format as Cooke's weekly reports, but will offer listeners a similar "distinctive, authorial voice".

Walden is the first of a series of presenters who will fill the 10-minute slot, with a run of 13 programmes starting on 4 March. He will rotate with three other broadcasters, including at least one woman. But the Guernsey-based broadcaster will not present the show from the United States, instead giving a personal view on a topical issue of the week.

"Alistair Cooke left a huge hole. I am not going to replace his programme like for like. But I want the Radio 4 audience to have someone who is compelling, interesting, with a distinctive authorial voice. So I am launching a new series which we have provisionally called Point of View ," Damazer told the Radio Times . "We will start with the broadcaster Brian Walden. The brief will be very broad. Brian has got an extremely distinctive voice and a wide range of experience. But he will be different from Alistair Cooke. There is no point in pretending that Cooke can be replicated."

A veteran television presenter, with a career including programmes such as LWT's Weekend World and the Walden Interview , the new voice of Radio 4 is famous for his setpiece interviews with prime ministers and leading politicians.

In 1989, soon after the resignation of Nigel Lawson as Chancellor, he famously put it to Margaret Thatcher that her backbenchers were in open revolt, accusing her of being "off her trolley".

Born in 1932, Walden won a scholarship to The Queen's College, Oxford, and in 1957 was elected president of the Oxford Union. After a brief career as a lecturer, in 1964 he was elected as a Labour MP in Birmingham; he left Parliament for broadcasting in 1977. From 1981 to 1984, he sat on the board of Central Television and is chairman of Bob Geldof's media group, Ten Alps Communications.

Martin Rosenbaum, the executive producer of Walden's weekly essay, said: "It's a very wide-ranging remit. Obviously, it's got to be relate to that week, but there aren't any limits to what he can cover. Cooke was unique and can't be replaced, but what they have in common is it will be one person's view ... at a topical event. Walden has got a long historical perspective. He's good at putting things in context. He's a superb broadcaster, he's got tremendous analytical skills and he is also good at moving from the specific to the general."

Cooke presented his Letter from America for 58 years, covering events in the US from Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon to the 11 September attacks. He retired weeks before his death in March 2004.

Suggested Topics
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
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
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