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You may already know that the journalist and broadcaster, Mark Whittaker, who worked for the BBC at Radio WM in the 80s and returned to Pebble Mill as a presenter of Costing the Earth in the 90s has died after a short illness. He leaves a wife, Jane Stimpson, who also worked at the Mill in the 80s, and two children.
Mark was a know it all in the nicest possible way. He had a huge brain full of stuff that could be deployed at work and at play. As I’ve reflected elsewhere I never lost a pub quiz with him and have never won one without him.
There is a very touching tribute to him on the Ariel page written by his colleagues on BBC World Service World Business Report where he’d been working for the last few years.
Here is the link to the article in Ariel about Mark: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ariel/29463075
Below is an excerpt from the article:
“World Service presenter Mark Whittaker has died suddenly of cancer.
One of the presenters of World Business Report and Business Matters, he had finished his last shift at the BBC about a month ago, on August 27.
He was diagnosed with cancer only three weeks before his death on October 1. He leaves behind two children and his wife Jane.
‘Mark was a radio genius who not only had brilliant ideas, but relentlessly executed them to perfection,’ said Martin Webber, editor of BBC World Service business news in an email to World Service staff.
‘We marvelled as he crafted beautiful scripts and then drew on his vast memory of music and sound, to turn a dull topic into a radio delight.
‘He regularly quietly re-edited interviews himself when the producer failed to do a perfect job.
His interviews connected effortlessly with the people he spoke to wherever they were in the world”
‘When Business Matters started with an hour-long format, he thrived doing the extended live interviews that the programme demanded. On location in India and Japan in the past year, he showed us all what could be achieved.”
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Alex Fraser: ‘He was a lovely, lovely man’
Sue Welch: ‘Such a lovely man with a wicked sense of humour.’
Pete Simpkin: ‘Well said all of the above…in addition Mark seemed to want to break down the barriers of the time between news and general programme staff and he planted seeds that bore spectacular fruit.’
Lorraine Randell: ‘I worked with Mark in Radio WM’s News Room and I reiterate everything that has been said…one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.’
Mark was a hugely professional broadcaster who added depth & understanding to everything he laid his hand to.A big personality in private, he didn’t make the mistake so many are open to – that of letting “Me” get in the way of the important information & debate that top class presenters are privileged to convey & interpret to a wider world.What made him particularly appealing to me was the constant air of danger about his work.The feeling, essential to every good journalist , that while impartiality ought to be aimed for don’t buy cosy consensus.Mark certainly didn’t do that & his air of erudite scepticism was splendidly but discreetly displayed particularly in the environmental & business fields where his informed “common touch” cut through whole swathes of bull by-product.I particularly enjoyed listening to his hour long Business Matters on the World Service where I like to think his local radio background of turning potential dross into gold stood him in good stead.I am shocked & saddened to think his last programme was as recent as August. Mark was great company.I look back on hours & pints of side splitting banter & bonhomie in the Pebble Mill bar with Mark & other colleagues with huge affection & inevitable regret.
I’ve only just found this blog. I too worked with Mark in the 80s, in the WM newsroom where he more than anyone taught me how to write for radio and how to have confidence in my writing. He was hugely generous, as a colleague and for nearly three decades since as a friend. Twenty-four years ago he and Jane danced at my wedding – I am so glad to know that shortly before he died they finally got hitched themselves.
I did not know Mark personally but enjoyed his sense of humour on Radio. I am an avid listener of Business Matters and like the way he did the program. I am sad to learn about his passing. I will miss his programs and his character that put colour to the airways.. I am happy to know he was such a nice man beyond his radio persona.. I am sure all the listeners will miss him, as well as his family and friends.
Rest in peace and it is a sad day for me..