Monday, December 20, 2010

'I counted them all out, and I counted them all back': BBC Falklands War legend Brian Hanrahan dies, aged 61, a true great of BBC reporting

Dear All

He was one of the true greats of BBC News.

Former BBC diplomatic editor Brian Hanrahan who became famous for his coverage of the Falklands War has died.

He was aged 61.

During the Falklands War he was famously said:

'I counted them all out, and I counted them all back'.

This was in relation to the number of planes taking part on a raid of Argentinean positions.

Because of reporting restrictions, Hanrahan had to think quickly to beat the censors who had stopped him from saying exactly how many Harrier jets had taken part in an air raid.

His dispatches from the frontline made him easily a household name.

Unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and his condition deteriorated after he was admitted to hospital with an infection ten days ago.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson said:

'Brian was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgment but his personal kindness and humanity also came through. That is why audiences and everyone who knew him here will miss him very much.'

Brian Hanrahan had a remarkable career being in the thick of the action. 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 during the Romanian revolution.

When history was being made he was there to give us the low down, not just the facts but the feel of the events taking place.

The BBC has produced some great reporters but Brian Hanrahan deserves a place alongside Richard Dimbleby.

Unfortunately because of illness he never got to cover the Harriers landing for the final time but such was the impact he made that the crews of RAF Cottesmore recorded a get-well message to Brian.

Mark Byford, deputy director general and head of journalism said he was one of the 'BBC's greatest journalists'.

And much more he was loved by the audience.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

Bob said...

Sad news right enough George.
I still remember watching his reports at the time. And MP John Nott's droll reporting of the sinking of HMS Antelope etc

" Brian Hanrahan had a remarkable career being in the thick of the action from In 1989,"

The Falklands War was 1982 and was his first big reporting job.