Travel show defined career

Although Alan Whicker's background was in hard news journalism, he achieved his fame and reputation through personalised television documentaries about exotic people in exotic places, presenting a fantasy world of sunshine, wealth and unthreatening individuality.

At its peak in the 1970s the formula, which varied little over many series, drew audiences of more than 15 million and made Whicker, in ratings terms, the most successful reporter produced by British television.

Looking out quizzically through horn-rimmed glasses, hair and military moustache impeccably groomed, he used an instantly recognisable nasal voice with dragged vowels and a permanent, knowing chuckle.

Whicker's World was an endless lavish party at which Whicker was the permanent guest, though he always insisted that programmes about the wealthy were a small part of his output.

His work won him a string of awards from his peers in the Royal Television Society and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta).

Whicker's long association with television began in February 1957, when he joined the original team for the BBC's early evening magazine, Tonight.

Two years later came the first series of Whicker's World and after that his name was on almost everything he did.

In 2009, when he was in his late 80s, he presented a BBC television series, Alan Whicker's Journey of a Lifetime, in which he returned to locations and people he had met in Whicker's World programmes several decades earlier.  - The Times