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Martha Kearney presented with cake to mark BBC's World At One anniversary

Published 04/10/2015

Paul Jagger made a cake to mark World At One's 50th birthday (BBC/PA)
Paul Jagger made a cake to mark World At One's 50th birthday (BBC/PA)

As the BBC's World At One turns 50, ex-Great British Bake Off contestant Paul Jagger made a special anniversary cake to mark the occasion.

Jagger shares his birth year with the radio programme, having celebrated his own 50th birthday last month. He presented broadcaster Martha Kearney with a vanilla sponge cake filled with buttercream and raspberry jam and topped with coconut shavings.

The cake was decorated with a marshmallow and crisped rice "champagne bottle" covered in fondant icing and an edible sugar lace veil, and presented in an edible fondant box.

Sunday October 4 marks half a century on air for the Radio 4 news and current affairs programme, which was first broadcast on the BBC's Home Service. It was presented for its first decade by journalist William Hardcastle.

Kearney said: "I may not have the same beetling eyebrows as Bill Hardcastle, but I hope the programme has continued the rebellious ethos he created all those years ago - with the same commitment to original journalism and questioning the most powerful people in the land.

"The technology is easier - we don't broadcast on gramophone records any more - but there's the same breathless energy to get the programme on air every day as there was 50 years ago."

Monty Python star Michael Palin, a World At One fan, said: " World At One has been part of my life since its birth. I remember Terry Jones and myself listening to it religiously. After a hard day's work writing silly things for Monty Python, World At One gave us something serious to chew on.

"And it continues to be the perfect combination, feeding body and mind at the same time. I particularly admire the mix of foreign and national news and the chance to catch public figures off guard, before they've ironed out their responses in time for the evening bulletins. Here's to the next 50 years. I shall listen to it until I can't hear any more."

Programme editor Nick Sutton said: "I'm proud of the role The World at One has had over the last 50 years in holding those in power to account, informing and entertaining our listeners.

"It's a real privilege to edit the programme and to know that even given changing media consumption habits around 1.5 million listeners choose to tune in to the programme each day."

This year the programme has been asking for nominations from politicians, celebrities and listeners for "what makes Britain Great".

Prime Minister David Cameron chose universities and science, then-Labour leader Ed Miliband picked the NHS, and Ukip's Nigel Farage chose "the law". Playwright Alan Bennett nominated "hypocrisy", and writer Neil Gaiman went with "awkward apologies".

Over the years the programme's reporters have included Margaret Howard, Nick Ross, Jonathan Dimbleby, David Jessel, Roger Cook and Sue MacGregor. Past presenters include Robin Day, James Naughtie, and Nick Clarke.

The programme is currently presented by Martha Kearney from Monday to Thursday, and Mark Mardell on Fridays.

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