Alastair Brian Walden (born on 8 July 1932 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire) is a British journalist and broadcaster who was a Labour Member of Parliament for a decade. He is the father of actor Ben Walden.
The son of a glass-worker, Walden attended West Bromwich Grammar School. He then won a major open scholarship to study at the Queen's College, Oxford, where he "narrowly missed a first" in history, and in 1957 was elected President of the Oxford Union. He completed a postgraduate course at Nuffield College, Oxford, before becoming a university lecturer.
At the 1964 general election, Walden was elected the MP for Birmingham All Saints, later Birmingham Ladywood, in an election where race dominated the Birmingham campaign (see Patrick Gordon Walker). He was re-elected in the subsequent General Elections of 1966, 1970, February 1974 and October 1974. He was a campaigner for the liberalisation of the cannabis and gambling laws, even named by some as "the bookies' MP" when he was revealed to be receiving more from the National Association of Bookmakers than from his parliamentary salary. On 16 June 1977, Walden resigned from the House of Commons by taking the Chiltern Hundreds, to become a journalist and broadcaster.
He has presented various television programmes, mostly for London Weekend Television, such as Weekend World, The Walden Interview and Walden, and was a member of the board of Central Television between 1981 and 1984.
Walden is considered one of the finest political interviewers in British broadcasting, tenacious and ruthless. He was well known for his one to one interviews of major politicians, especially Margaret Thatcher. He was said to be her favourite interviewer, although he would give her a tough ride. In October 1989, Thatcher gave Walden a famous interview when her own Party was turning against her. He did not let up on her:
- Brian Walden: "You come over as being someone who one of your backbenchers said is slightly off her trolley, authoritarian, domineering, refusing to listen to anybody else – why? Why cannot you publicly project what you have just told me is your private character?"
- Margaret Thatcher: "Brian, if anyone’s coming over as domineering in this interview, it’s you."
- Times, 30 October 1961
- "Margaret Thatcher TV Interview for The Walden Interview (Lawson’s resignation)". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. 28 October 1989. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
- Walden, Brian (15 March 2002). "Ban on foxhunting would be a triumph for the mob". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Brian Walden
- Brian Walden at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Brian Walden at the Internet Movie Database
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Birmingham All Saints
1964 – February 1974
|Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood
February 1974 – 1977
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