This sumptuous book, to accompany the major BBC TV series of the same name, is a glorious celebration of 50 years in front of the camera.
For as long as most can remember, Whicker has roamed far and wide in search of the eccentric, the ludicrous, and the socially-revealing aspects of everyday life as lived by some of the more colourful of the world's inhabitants. Since the late 1950s, when the long-running Whicker's World documentary was first screened, he has probed and dissected the often secretive and unobserved worlds of the rich and famous, rooting out the most implausible and sometimes ridiculous characters after gaining admittance to the places where they conduct their leisure hours.
The great man's legacy contains a number of genuine TV firsts. As well as landmark interviews with figures as diverse as Papa Doc, Paul Getty, and the Sultan of Brunei, he was a pioneer, covering subjects like plastic surgery, gay weddings, polygamy, swinging, and gun-toting cops, fly-on-the-wall style, for British screens long before anyone else.
This wonderful new book is the end product of a very personal journey. Whicker retraces his steps, catching up with some past interviewees and reflecting on how the world has changed - for good and bad - over the passing of time. Journey of a Lifetime is lyrical, uplifting, and peppered with our favourite globetrotter's brand of subtle satire.
©2009 HarperCollins Publishers (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
I loved Alan Whicker's TV documentaries over the years, and this audio book brings them back to life. Some of the narration goes off on a tangent, but when Alan is talking about the highlights of his life, such as meeting Papa Doc, it is spellbinding. Well worth downloading.
As soon as I heard the author’s voice I was taken back to my youth when my family used to watch Wicker’s World and be given a glimpse of other worlds. This book is a series of essays gleaned from programmes going back to the 1950s interspersed with anecdotes from his war-time experiences. The writing is like his commentaries: fluid, entertaining and non-judgemental. The latter even when recounting his meeting with the Sultan of Brunei and the obscene extravagance of him and his family. The chapters about his interactions with Papa Doc are as jaw-dropping now as they were when First broadcast. As with his programmes, there's a bias towards interviews with the rich and powerful with an undercurrent of viewing them as another species.
I enjoyed this book all the more for hearing Alan Wicker’s voice again: a little more gravely with age but utterly recognisable. I suspect the book will appeal more to those of us who remember his ground-breaking programmes in the 60s and 70s, though he sustained his output for Wicker’s World until the early 1990s.
I bought this book in one of Audible's sales, and am very glad I did. It is a super audiobook. Alan Whicker's deft turn of phrase and gift for drawing a character or place in a few words, coupled with his perfectly paced narration makes this such a pleasurable listen.
My only caveat about the book is that you need perhaps to be of a certain age to really appreciate the book - anyone under the age of, say, 40 might not be very familar with some of the people he meets and describes, and part of the pleasure is wallowing a little in the nostalgia of a bygone age. For an oldie like me, however....just wonderful. Best audibook I've listened to for quite a while.
Thought this book was wonderful. I always had an intrest in his travels and his TV documentries, he sometimes takes the scenic route when telling a story but this is part of his charm and the book is the better for these little excursions. The only problem ive found was, his voice is so deep and calming i would nod off and then have to rewind. Must download his time in the army.
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