Whicker's World
Whicker's World is an award-winning British television documentary series that ran from 1959 to 1988, presented by journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker
Alan Whicker
Alan Donald Whicker, CBE is a British journalist and broadcaster. His career has spanned over 50 years.-Background:Whicker was born to British parents in Cairo, Egypt...


Throughout its 30 year run, the series was first shown by the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 (from the late 1950s to the late 1960s) and then ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 (from the late 1960s to the 1980s, when it was produced by Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television, now officially known as ITV Yorkshire and sometimes unofficially abbreviated to YTV, is a British television broadcaster and the contractor for the Yorkshire franchise area on the ITV network...

 which Whicker himself was a shareholder in). The series returned to the BBC in the 1980s.

Series History

The series was notable for being filmed all over the world, with Whicker reporting stories of social interest from each and every continent. Whicker's interviewees would include locals, politicians, celebrities, and even convicted criminals as he reported on stories as far ranging as military dictatorships, British expatriates, the feminist movement
Feminist movement
The feminist movement refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence...

 of the 1970s, the Tanka people (Boat People) of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, the rise of the San Francisco Gay Rights movement in the 1970s, the opening of Disneyworld in Florida, and the growing plastic surgery industry of California. Among his more famous interviewees were actors Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
Richard Henry Sellers, CBE , known as Peter Sellers, was a British comedian and actor. Perhaps best known as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series, he is also notable for playing three different characters in Dr...

, Joan Collins
Joan Collins
Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress...

, and Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

, Haitian President François "Papa Doc" Duvalier
François Duvalier
François Duvalier was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. Duvalier first won acclaim in fighting diseases, earning him the nickname "Papa Doc" . He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected President in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform...

, Paraguay dictator Don Alfredo Stroessner, novelist Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins was one of the best-selling American authors of all time. During his career, he wrote over 25 best-sellers, selling over 750 million copies in 32 languages....

, Lula Parker Betenson (the 94 year old sister of the infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy
Robert LeRoy Parker , better known as Butch Cassidy, was a notorious American train robber, bank robber, and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang in the American Old West...

), the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah (reportedly the richest man in the world), and various members of the British aristocracy.

In 2009, now in his mid-80s, Whicker made Alan Whicker's Journey Of A Lifetime for the BBC in which he returned to some of the locations and met up with many of the people shown in the series decades earlier to see how their lives had progressed since their original interviews.


Whicker's World was a huge ratings success in the UK, and one of the longest running series in the history of British television. The series was nominated for a variety of awards throughout its run including nominations for several BAFTA Awards. The 1977 episode "Palm Beach" garnered three BAFTA nominations for Best Documentary, Best Sound, and Best Editing, and Whicker himself won the Richard Dimbleby Award
Richard Dimbleby
Richard Dimbleby CBE was an English journalist and broadcaster widely acknowledged as one of the greatest figures in British broadcasting history.-Early life:...

 at the 1977 BAFTA ceremony, and had also won a BAFTA in 1964 for his presentation in the Factual category.

In 1971, the series won the Dumont International Journalism Award at the University of California for the episode "Papa Doc - The Black Sheep". The episode "Harold Robbins - I'm The World's Best Writer" won the Best Interview Programme Award at the Hollywood Festival of World Television in 1972.

DVD release

Network DVD
Network DVD
Network DVD is a DVD publishing company that specialises in classic British television. In particular, it has the rights to a number of well-known ITV programmes...

 have released two volumes of the series. Each volume contains 8 episodes over 2 discs, and features some of the more prominent episodes of the series from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

Cultural Impact

In the late 1960s, the series was spoofed by the British comedian Benny Hill
Benny Hill
Benny Hill was an English comedian and actor, notable for his long-running television programme The Benny Hill Show.-Early life:...

 who did a sketch on his show called "Knickers World". It was parodied again in 1972 by Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

 who did a sketch set on a tropical island called "Whicker Island" where all the inhabitants were Alan Whicker clones.

In the 1980s, Whicker appeared in several television commercials for Barclaycard
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, is a global payment business. The Barclaycard was the first credit card introduced in the UK, coming into service in 1966. It enjoyed a monopoly until the introduction of the Access card in 1972....

which were based on Whicker's World and featured Whicker in various foreign locations.

In 1989, a board game based loosely on the series was released.
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