The World At One

The World At One

"The World at One", or "WATO" ("what-oh") for short, is BBC Radio 4's long-running lunchtime news and current affairs programme, which is broadcast from 1pm to 1:30pm from Monday to Friday. The programme describes itself as "Britain's leading political programme. With a reputation for rigorous and original investigation, it is required listening in Westminster". Because of the programme's nature the programme is often agenda setting, with interviews leading the headlines from lunchtime through to early evening.

The programme began on October 4th 1965 on the (then) Home Service and its launch is considered to have been key in making news programmes 'appointment to listen' broadcasting. As the current head of BBC Radio, Jenny Abramsky, has noted, the programme started at a time when the "Today Programme" was still in a more comfortable magazine format. "The World at One" "broke new ground in news broadcasting and was one of the reasons why radio is still important today," helping establish a form of current affairs programme that influenced the creation of "Newsnight" in 1980 and "Channel 4 News" in 1982.

The first presenter, William Hardcastle, was a former editor of the "Daily Mail". The Radio Academy Hall of Fame says he "had a businesslike, but warm broadcasting voice, and a style that emphasised fact rather than comment, bringing some Fleet Street urgency to the radio presentation of news". Hardcastle did not want to do the programme every day so Andrew Boyle suggested he share the job with William Davis another presenter whose career did not wholly depend on the BBC.

In 1998, the then Controller of Radio 4, James Boyle reduced the duration of the programme to 30 minutes (from 40) as part of a series of schedule changes.

"The World at One" is still known for its robust journalism - generally concentrating in depth on just 2 or 3 stories a day. After a short introduction to the programme, there is a 4 minute news bulletin, followed by serious political interviews and in-depth reports. Its audience reach has remained relatively constant in the past few years at approximately 3 million listeners.

The programme was presented by Nick Clarke from March 1994 until September 12, 2006. Clarke died on November 23, 2006. He was voted Radio Broadcaster of the Year by the Voice of the Listener and Viewer in 1999 and previously worked on the Sunday 'sister' programme, "The World This Weekend", "The Money Programme" and "Newsnight", the later two programmes being on BBC2. He was a familiar voice on Radio 4 - chairing "Round Britain Quiz" and standing in for Jonathan Dimbleby as the chairman of Any Questions?. From late 2005, Shaun Ley presented the show while Clarke recovered from an operation to remove a cancer in his left leg. Clarke returned part-time in August 2006.Recent stand-in presenters have included Brian Hanrahan, Guto Harri, Laura Trevelyan, Stephen Sackur, Carolyn Quinn, James Robbins and Mark Mardell. The new permanent presenter has been named as Martha Kearney - who presents from Monday to Thursday, with Ley usually in the chair on Friday.

The Editor of the programme is Peter Rippon but much of the day-to-day editing is done by the programme's Deputy Editor, Nick Sutton and Assistant Editor, Juliette Dwyer.

In March 2005, the programme began producing a weekly e-newsletter, written by Clarke.

You can listen again to any of the previous week's programmes using the [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/wato BBC Radio Player.]

Many reporters and producers have spent some time working on the programme including Sue MacGregor, Kirsty Wark, Charlie Lee-Potter, Jonathan Dimbleby, Roger Cook, George Alagiah, Jenny Abramsky, Roger Hearing, Sian Williams, Peter Biles, Kirsty Lang, Martin Fewell, Shelagh Fogarty, David Jessel, Nick Ross, Ben Bradshaw, Juliet Bremner, Susannah Simons, Pallab Ghosh and Martha Kearney.

Presenters:
William ('Bill') Hardcastle (1965-1975),
William Davis (1965-??),
Sir Robin Day (1979-1987),
James Naughtie (1988-1994),
Nick Clarke (1994-2006)
Shaun Ley (??-??)Martha Kearney (April 2007-)

Editors:Andrew Boyle (1965-??), Julian Holland (1970s)Jenny Abramsky (1981-1986), Roger Mosey (1988-1993)Kevin Marsh (1993-2002), Richard Clark (2003-2004), Colin Hancock (2004-2007)Peter Rippon (2007-)

ee also

* Today programme Radio 4's early morning stablemate to "The World at One".
* PM, Radio 4's early evening stablemate to "The World at One".
* The World Tonight, Radio 4's late evening stablemate to "The World at One".

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wato The World At One]
* [http://www.radioacademy.org/halloffame/hardcastle_w/index.shtml The Radio Academy Hall of Fame - William Hardcastle]


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