Brian Hanrahan

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Brian Hanrahan
Born (1949-03-22)22 March 1949
Middlesex, England, UK
Died 20 December 2010(2010-12-20) (aged 61)
Occupation Journalist, television presenter
Years active 1969–2010
Notable credit(s) BBC News
Falklands War

Brian Hanrahan (22 March 1949 – 20 December 2010)[1] had a long and distinguished career as a BBC Television News Correspondent at home and abroad, ending up as the Diplomatic Editor for BBC News. In addition he had spells presenting The World at One on BBC Radio Four and on the rolling news channel BBC News 24. He is best remembered for his coverage of the Falklands War of 1982.[2]

Early life, education and early career[edit]

Born in Middlesex, Hanrahan was educated at St Ignatius, Stamford Hill, Tottenham. He studied politics at the University of Essex, where he was a member of an amateur dramatic society. Hanrahan joined the BBC in 1970 as a photographic stills clerk. He was one of the six News Trainees appointed by the BBC in 1971 and went on to become a scriptwriter, then duty editor in the BBC TV newsroom. He worked for a spell as the BBC's Northern Ireland correspondent.

Falklands War[edit]

As the duty reporter he was sent to join the press corps attached to the Falklands War task Force. What he thought a temporary arrangement became for the duration, and when on HMS Hermes, was responsible for one of the most memorable journalistic moments of the campaign, when he commented:[3]

This got him around the reporting restrictions placed by military intelligence, enabling him to reassure the public that all the British Harrier jump jets had returned safely without saying how many there were.[4] Hanrahan later used the phrase as the title of his autobiography.[5]

Later career[edit]

During the 1980s, Hanrahan was based in Hong Kong, then in Moscow in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a critic of communism, and once stated that "Europe has a lot to thank Mikhail Gorbachev for".[6] He commentated on the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 and the funeral of Yasser Arafat in 2004.


He fell ill with cancer the week before the 2010 general election,[7] and died on 20 December 2010.[1] His colleague Martin Bell wrote this tribute at the end of The Guardian obituary: "In the world of television news, where inflated egos are not unknown, Brian Hanrahan stood out for his modesty as well as his way with words".


  1. ^ a b "BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan dies at 61". BBC News. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Notice of Brian Hanrahan's death
  3. ^ Hanrahan, Brian (31 March 2007). "The Falkland Islands way". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Brian Hanrahan". BBC News. 3 January 2003. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Brian Hanrahan & Robert Fox (August 1982). I Counted Them All Out And I Counted Them All Back. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-20147-9. 
  6. ^ Hanrahan, Brian (1 April 2009). "Gorbachev's role in 1989 turmoil". BBC. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Jon Williams (20 December 2010). "Brian Hanrahan". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 

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