Entertainment & Arts

Broadcaster Brian Widlake dies aged 85

Brian Widlake on The Money Programme
Image caption Brian Widlake co-presented BBC Two's Money Programme for many years

Radio and television presenter Brian Widlake, who conducted the first TV interview with Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 85.

As an ITN reporter in 1961, Widlake secretly met Mandela, who was on the run from the police at the time.

Widlake went on to become a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4's The World At One and PM in the 1970s and '80s, and co-presented BBC Two's Money Programme.

He died after a short illness at home in Wiltshire, surrounded by his family.

'Genuine warmth'

BBC director general Tony Hall paid tribute, saying: "Brian was a fine journalist and presenter who was key to establishing The World at One as a pioneering programme. He was a wonderful colleague and will be sadly missed."

His editor on The World at One, Dame Jenny Abramsky, remembered him as a "gifted broadcaster" with "genuine warmth".

She said: "He was a tough interviewer, but he was a polite interviewer and he really, really knew his facts and so he got an enormous amount out of those interviews.

"You just hear that interview with Nelson Mandela and you can hear somebody - when one thinks that that took place in the early '60s - he was really finding out about who Nelson Mandela was, and that was Brian."

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