Goodbye World.
July 12, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

RIP Alan Whicker globe trotting reporter and 'television natural'. In a career that spanned 60 years he presented the BBC/ITV documentary series Whicker's World for nearly 30. He was the inspiration for the Monty Python Whicker Island sketch. (previously) posted by fearfulsymmetry (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Read in one obit that during WWII he was the officer sent to collect Nazi collaborator John Amery who'd been captured by partisans. Some life.
posted by Abiezer at 9:59 AM on July 12, 2013

The Telegraph obituary.
posted by adamvasco at 10:00 AM on July 12, 2013

From The Independent: "On one occasion, while in America, he heard about an Alan Whicker impersonation contest. He entered and came third."

I'd love to know more about that.
posted by ardgedee at 10:06 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Telegraph obit:

With what he regularly described as “Whicker’s luck”, the young officer crossed the lightly defended Strait of Messina unscathed, and was driving along a coastal road when he came across several hundred Italian soldiers. Although armed with only a revolver, he leapt out of his vehicle brandishing his camera, and was greeted by a lowering of weapons and delighted smiles. Combs were pulled out as the troop smartened up to be photographed surrendering, though Italy would not capitulate for another five days.
posted by popcassady at 10:40 AM on July 12, 2013 fact his entire obit seems like a Boy's Own adventure...

Having photographed the American General Mark Clark’s entry into Rome, Whicker became fed up with waiting for the Allied advance, and set off for Milan, where he arrived without seeing a German until a crowd of partisans rushed to tell him that they had surrounded the SS headquarters. Striding past the silent black-uniformed guard posts, he entered to be greeted by a general, who clicked his heels, saluted and handed over his revolver, saying in English: “My men are at your disposal.” Soon Whicker was given a trunk containing the SS’s treasury, which he placed in his car ready for handing over to the Americans.

For several hours he reassured both the nervous SS inside the building and the raging crowd outside that reinforcements were on the way. When an American tank regiment finally arrived, he realised that he had been the only person who had not believed his story.

posted by popcassady at 10:43 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on July 12, 2013

Can't say goodbye to Alan Whicker without posting the awesome Wikka Wrap (an impersonator, in case that isn't obvious.) R.I.P.
posted by pascal at 11:23 AM on July 12, 2013

I admit, I have watched that Python sketch several times and had absolutely no idea who Whicker was.

Godspeed, Mr. Whicker.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:38 AM on July 12, 2013

In spite of his mockable mannerisms, he was an intelligent and perceptive interviewer, and we could do with more of those.
posted by Segundus at 12:26 PM on July 12, 2013

I was only able to look up who he was in the 1990s, after seeing that Python sketch for so many years. What did he have in his DNA that allowed him to just swan through scary situations like a boss?

From one of the comments at the Guardian link: "Who turns up in a safari suit, orders a G&T and turns to camera making you feel like he's just stepped out of an open top Jag?"

Where can I apply for that job? Seriously?

He loved that Python sketch, by the way.

posted by droplet at 12:57 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Damienmce at 1:11 PM on July 12, 2013

posted by Mister Bijou at 1:15 PM on July 12, 2013

ardgedee, other sources are saying it was a soundalike contest, which makes more sense, and without the reference to America, which makes very little sense.
posted by dhartung at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2013

posted by Joh at 3:05 PM on July 12, 2013

The contest anecdote sounds suspiciously cribbed from an identical story about Charlie Chaplin, wherein he entered a Chaplin impersonator contest wearing his actual Little Tramp costume, and still placed third.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:46 AM on July 13, 2013

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