Regular readers will be aware just how indebted this blog is to BBC Radio Four. Those who are also listeners will probably alerady be aware that yesterday saw reported the death of a well known Radio Four presenter and journalist, Nick Clarke. Like me I suspect they will be feeling as though they have lost a friend today.
For those not in the know Nick was an interviewer of rare warmth and humanity. Still he was dogged in pursuit of the truth, and was often able to get more out of politicians with his polite yet insistent style than the more confrontational interviewers that are the norm nowadays. He came across as possessed of a wry sense of humour, but never cynical. Above all he was able to convey a genuine interest in whatever his interviewees had to say, and a keen sense of when to press them harder if they were not addressing the matter at hand.
When he was first diagnosed with sarcoma he and his wife began an audio diary leading up to, and following on from his amputation. This was truly compelling to listen to, and brought home with his usual brilliance the confusion of the newly "disabled". He knew after his surgery his body was different. But he also knew, and was able to convey with characteristic honesty and modesty, that he wasn't any different as a person.
Radio Four are broadcasting a memorial this afternoon at 4pm GMT. Even if you have never heard of him before, if you can get to a radio, or to the website to listen to it, I urge you to do so. Though we never met I feel very much that I too have lost a friend in Nick Clarke and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues and true friends this afternoon.