Anant Rangaswami
Dec 21, 2010

Anant’s blog: An extraordinary obituary of an extraordinary journalist

Brian Hanrahan, RIP

Anant’s blog: An extraordinary obituary of an extraordinary journalist

Yesterday, I went home a little earlier than I normally do.Tired, I did something I try to avoid: watched TV when there was nothing that I had planned to watch.
Since there was tripe on all the channels on my ‘favourites’, I did what I normally do when stuck in such a situation: stopped at BBC World. Hopefully, I’d catch the latest weather update, an area of interest as my brother has had to reschedule his trip to India thanks to Heathrow shutting down.I didn’t catch the weather, but I caught a report on the passing away of BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan. I watched as they showed footage of Hanrahan’s covering the Falklands, Tiananmen Square and the falling of the Berlin Wall. 

And the news anchor told me that “Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in his tribute said that Hanrahan was one of the “"most capable correspondents" whose reports were distinguished by his "deep knowledge and objective stance". (Quote from 

And I was intrigued. I had seen Hanrahan any number of times over the years  as I spent a few minutes on the news, but hadn’t realised that he was so highly respected. 

I wanted to know more. 

And I got on to the internet looking for more on Hanrahan. 

And it was a fascinating read – and I’m going to share some of what I read with you. I’m lifting a lot from; I don’t think they’d mind. 

These are random excerpts from various stories filed after Hanrahan’s passing. 

It was in the Falkands War in 1982 that he made his reputation, famously counting the returning Harrier jets to ensure he could report the story and get round MoD restrictions.
He said: "I'm not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back. Their pilots were unhurt, cheerful and jubilant, giving thumbs-up signs."

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: "Brian was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgement, but his personal kindness and humanity also came through. That is why audiences and everyone who knew him here will miss him very much.

"Former war reporter Martin Bell paid tribute to a "quiet, decent man" who was "very thorough and very good at his job".

"I never heard an ill word said about Brian Hanrahan," he added.Former BBC war correspondent Kate Adie described him as an "extremely dogged and factual and intelligent reporter who saw things in front of him and described them graphically". 

And these excerpts from readers

Brian Hanrahan is what makes the BBC news service the reason why I, and many other avid listeners, believe in the integrity of the news reporting. Brian Hanrahan had an amazing talent of telling a story with the minimum of words but with such beautiful prose. He will be greatly missed.Brian Maxwell, Onsala, Sweden

Being an avid news viewer and listener, I considered Brian Hanrahan to be the consummate professional news reporter and analyst. His manner was always measured and informed and his reporting of such a variety of national and international events was delivered with a gentle, genuine and ear-catching turn of phrase. His dulcet tones were a delight and pleasure to listen to. Bill Caldwell, Dudley, West Midlands 

I could go on and on, copying and pasting. But by now, I hope, you’re intrigued enough to know more about Brian Hanrahan, so here’s a short cut to the BBC report

One part of this blog is to tell you more about Brian Hanrahan. 

The other part is sadder. Which Indian news TV journalist would be the subject of an obit like this?

I can’t think of one… 

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