Monday, 8 August 2011

Britain is no longer a country for a multi-faceted old man called Michael Bukht and Michael Barry

Mirza Michael John Bukht, who used the pseudonym of 'Michael Barry' when he appeared as 'The Crafty Cook' on BBC2's 'Food and Drink' Programme, has died at the age of 69.

Things possibly didn't know about Michael, that :

* his father was a Pakistani diplomat and his mother a 'cookery' teacher whose family came from South Wales and after studying at school in North London, read 'history' at London University's King's College.

* in 1963, as a BBC trainee, worked on the radio 'soap', 'Mrs Dale's Diary' and then on the pilot for the 'World at One' before switching to tv, where he was part of the original team on the 'Tonight' programme.
David Bowie interviewed on the programme at the age of 17 in 1964 :

* at the age of 25, became programme controller of both radio and television for the 'Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation' but returned to the BBC in 1969, to edit '24 Hours'.

* in the late 1980's was one of the key elements in the presentation of BBC2's 'Food and Drink', an easy- viewing programme of cookery and wine-tasting.

His 'Waldorf Salad' in 1983 :

* took over as Managing Director of 'Invicta Radio' in Kent in 1985 and moved to Canterbury where he stayed for the rest of his life.

* tv made him a household name, but made a greater impact on broadcasting by spotting a gap in the provision of 'classical music' and was one of the founders of the radio station 'Classic FM' in 1992 and its programme controller for five years.

* continued to work on 'Food and Drink' until its last series, in 2001 and in his career, wrote 29 recipe and food books.

* was a 'Fellow of The Radio Academy' and a practising Muslim.

From the study of History to a radio soap to Jamaica Radio to television's 'Tonight Programme' to tv cooking to local radio to classical music - Michael's career was varied and Britain has lost a significant old man, who in his life, 'made a difference'.

Michael will forgive me, but seeing him prepare his Waldorf Salad, reminded me of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in 'Fawlty Towers' :

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