alan taylor
A.J.P. Taylor

I've just re-listened to a BBC radio profile of the great British historian  A.J.P Taylor.  Taylor was something of a hero of mine. I I interviewed him in the CBC London office on Tichfield Street for the CBC television public affairs program Weekend. I was the resident public affairs producer at the time.

The interview concerned Taylor's views on the violence in Northern Ireland. (Other historians I interviewed in London were Sir Arthur Bryant and Arnold Toynbee . )

Alan Taylor was something of a hero to me as a broacaster.  He was famous for his ability to deliver on-camera lectures without notes and totally transfix his audience with what he was saying. Here are a couple of YouTube file showing Taylor at the height of his powers.

Hitler controvery with Trevor Roper     
An Unusual Kind of Star

Taylor had a reputation for taking deliberately contrary positions on great events - such as Hitler's real intentions ( see above YouTube entry).

 On Northern Ireland he told me the British should pull out their troops.  "But people say this would cause a massacre", I said.  His reply, "This did not stop the British from pulling out of India!"