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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Obituary: Alan Coren
Alan Coren
Coren was a founding member of BBC Radio 4's News Quiz

Widely regarded as one of the wittiest men in Britain, Alan Coren, who has died aged 69, was one of BBC Radio 4's best-loved voices, while his journalism won him a legion of fans.

Born in London in 1938, the builder's son won a scholarship to Wadham College, Oxford, and went on to study in the US, at Yale and the University of California.

He originally planned to become an academic, but what he saw as the melodrama of life in the US led him into comic writing.

After selling a number of articles to long-running satirical magazine Punch, he was offered a full-time job there.

He made his name in the early 1970s with a column purporting to be by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

The Bulletins of Idi Amin were a huge success, although he later admitted that he was not sure he found it very funny.

Coren joined The News Quiz when it began in 1977 as a contest between the staff of Punch and its rival magazine, Private Eye.

For two decades, Coren, who went on to edit Punch from 1978 to 1987, battled with Eye counterpart Richard Ingrams to lampoon the week's topical issues.

The show's success inspired the 1990 launch of TV's Have I Got News For You.


In the 1990s, Coren became a regular in the revival of TV quiz Call My Bluff, while children Victoria and Giles also went on to be successful journalists in their own right.

Coren also wrote for the Times and the Daily Mail. His final Times column appeared earlier this year.

He was known for creating columns or jokes out of any situation.

"My car was nicked last week," he told one interviewer.

"Even as the police very kindly picked me up, I thought... there's a thousand words in this!

"And at four o'clock, they called to say it'd turned up two streets away. Bugger! I'd lost an article! But can I do a thing about it being taken away and brought back?"

Broadcaster Alan Coren dies at 69
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
'He was very, very funny'
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment


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