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Montevideo, November 15th 2018 - 03:09 UTC

BBC Brian Hanrahan, famous for his coverage of the Falklands’ war dies at 61

Tuesday, December 21st 2010 - 05:30 UTC
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Brian, privileged witness of modern history Brian, privileged witness of modern history

Brian Hanrahan, one of the most famous BBC correspondents - best known for his coverage of the Falklands War - has died at the age of 61 after a short battle against cancer.

His reporting spanned the reshaping of Nato and the EU, as well as conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Middle East. As the BBC's Far East, and then Moscow correspondent, he watched dramatic changes unfolding in China and Russia.

It was in the Falkands’ War in 1982 that he made his reputation, famously counting the returning Harrier jets to ensure he could report the story and get round MoD restrictions.

He said: “I'm not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back. Their pilots were unhurt, cheerful and jubilant, giving thumbs-up signs”.

Paying tribute to what he called “a big character”, the BBC's world news editor Jon Williams said Mr Hanrahan “would always be remembered for an extraordinary story and an extraordinary turn of phrase”.

He said it was his “longevity” and his “tone” that marked the reporter out.

“He could always be relied on to find the right word at the right moment... and he was loved by the audience,” Mr Williams said.

He added that the correspondent had recently been scheduled to report on the last flight of the Harrier jets, which are being scrapped because of spending cuts.

“It's a mark of the man that even last week, as he lay in his hospital bed, he was texting colleagues to say how sorry he was that he wouldn't be able to cover the last flight of the Harrier.

”Last week, as the Harriers landed for the final time, the crews of RAF Cottesmore recorded a get-well message to Brian - they, like us, valued him as a friend,“ he said.

In a statement, Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was ”saddened“ to hear of Mr Hanrahan's death and his ”professionalism, dedication and unfailing good humour“ had won him ”great respect and many friends in British politics and throughout the British diplomatic service“.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev added his voice to the tributes, describing him as one of the ”most capable correspondents“ whose reports were distinguished by his ”deep knowledge and objective stance“.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: ”Brian was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgement, but his personal kindness and humanity also came through. That is why audiences and everyone who knew him here will miss him very much.“

Former war reporter Martin Bell paid tribute to a ”quiet, decent man“ who was ”very thorough and very good at his job“. He added ”I never heard an ill word said about Brian Hanrahan“.

Former BBC war correspondent Kate Adie described him as an ”extremely dogged and factual and intelligent reporter who saw things in front of him and described them graphically“.

”He was one of those voices you could rely on... a journalist who was seeking the truth,“ she said.

The Evening Standard's defence correspondent Robert Fox, who was a close friend, said he was ”wonderfully understated, very witty... a terribly good colleague”.

Mr Hanrahan covered Asia from Hong Kong in the 1980s, reporting on the reforms of Deng Xiaoping in China, and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in India. He moved to Moscow when Mr Gorbachev became the Soviet leader, returning to Russia in 2009 to interview the former president.

In 1989 he was present in Tiananmen Square, in Poland for the installation of the first non-communist government in Eastern Europe, at the fall of the Berlin wall and the Romanian revolution.

He then became a diplomatic correspondent -interpreting international affairs from London and travelling the world, particularly during the Balkan wars and the Middle East peace process.

In recent years, the correspondent had covered ceremonial and state events such as the anniversaries of D-Day and the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother.

Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, Brian Hanrahan flew to New York to anchor special programs. Earlier this year he returned to Poland, from where he had reported on the rise of Solidarity - to cover the plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski.

He was a regular voice on BBC's Radio 4 as presenter of both ‘The World at One’ and ‘The World This Weekend’ programs.

Mr Hanrahan was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and his condition deteriorated after he was admitted to hospital with an infection 10 days ago. (BBC).-
 

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  • JustinKuntz

    A sad day, he will be missed.

    Dec 21st, 2010 - 06:21 pm 0
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