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Nick Clarke has died

Nick ClarkeNick Clarke, presenter of The World at One, has died aged just 58, following a very public battle with cancer.

Nick had a long career with the BBC, but I know him best as presenter of The World at One, and for his moving audio diary of his cancer journey. He always came across more as a chatty friend than a newsreader, as reflected by some 2,000 messages of condolence on the BBC website, and many, many more on individual blogs and websites.

The beauty of Nick Clarke’s political presenting is that he could examine politics in the greatest forensic detail, whilst also retaining a warmth, a breath of knowledge about everyday life, and a touch of little humour. His presenting was always elegant, and his interviews calm and measured, simultaneously detailed, incisive and impeccably polite.

Nick Robinson’s tribute brings back fond memories of some of the best political interviews of our time:

Nick asked once asked what I consider to be the perfect question – proving that you could balance persistence with courtesy. He was being fobbed off by the government’s straight-bat man Alastair Darling who was insisting on talking about the Tories’ policies and refusing to answer about his own. Nick paused briefly after one such answer – just long enough for the audience to notice. Then in that gloriously rich bass of a voice asked, “Minister, just for the sake of neatness could you answer the question I asked you”. Glorious.

There’s a full obituary on the BBC site, as well as a tribute from Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4. Thoughts are with his five children, and his widow Barbara.

He will be sadly missed.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.

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