Alan Whicker’s Journey of a Lifetime, BBC2

by | Mar 27, 2009 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Half a century ago, a man with a voice almost as whiney as the odious Robert Peston and the sartorial style of City spiv became a TV legend. And this excellent opener to a four-part series helped us understand why.

What was good about it?

• Whicker churned out hours of entertaining feature material – a lot was insubstantial nonsence (the road with houses numbered in a strange order, for example) but there were some rare treasures.

• The archive clips showed a world that was very different – so many things were a wonder and celebrities had mystique rather than omniprescence.

• The John Paul Getty footage in which the billionaire opened up about his lack of warmth was the highlight. And Whicker must be applauded for remarking: ““Your spectacular success as a businessman has only been equalled by what seems to be your abysmal failure as a husband.”

• Our eyebrows got some good exercise, shooting upwards whenever Whicker came out with some flagrant self-aggrandising statement (every few minutes). This man – “neat and not noticeably shy” – is not the sort to hide his light under a bushel.

What was bad about it?

• Whicker’s adoration of the rich and famous, which bordered on – and sometimes definitely was – ingratiation.

• Whicker’s salmon pink sweater was an eyesore.

• Whicker’s commentary was what made him famous. But lines such as “Not even nostalgia is as good as it used to be” don’t seem very special to our ears.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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