Patrick David Hannan 1941-2009

Picture of Patrick David Hannan

(Picture BBC)

The son of an Irish doctor who migrated to Wales in the 1930s, Patrick David Hannan was born on September 26 1941 at Aberaman, near Aberdare at 245 Cardiff Road.

Despite having been born in “the posh part” of Aberaman, a mining village in the Cynon Valley, where he was the doctor’s son, he saw at first hand how a working-class community holds itself together in bad times and good, even if he was not quite of it. His strong sense of history always informed his reporting. He was born in Aberaman, Glamorgan, and had an early memory of the tramp of miners’ boots.

Patrick was a journalist to his fingertips and cared passionately for the independence of what he called his “trade”. He saw Wales, not through rose-tinted spectacles but, through the prism of his own experience, bringing erudition and personal commitment to the task of tracking the country’s industrial and political transformation during a turbulent period of its history.


Secondary education was at Cowbridge grammar school, a fee-paying establishment in the Vale of Glamorgan (where Anthony Hopkins was a fellow pupil). 1959, he went up to University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he read history.
Pat’s first job was as a reporter with the Western Mail in Cardiff, where he quickly learned the rudiments of journalism and made contact with the political life of Wales at every level.
He became the industrial editor of the Western Mail. As a reporter for the Western Mail and, for 13 years from 1970, the political correspondent of BBC Wales, he reported the long, tumultuous decline of the coal industry that had defined South Wales.

Books that he wrote:

A Useful Fiction: Adventures in British Democracy
The Welsh Illusion (1999),
Wales off Message (2000)
A Year in Wales (2002)
When Arthur Met Maggie (2006),

When Hannan’s weekly Radio 4 political programme “Tea Junction” was axed in 1998, a writer in “The Daily Telegraph” compared his distinctive radio tones to those of John Arlott, Alistair Cooke, Eamonn Andrews and Cliff Morgan, and lamented the passing of “one of the great sounds of British Radio”. Although happiest in his native Wales, he was sometimes suspected of shrinking from the prospect of wider national fame.

When Hannan joined BBC Radio Wales in 1970 he swiftly established himself as a stalwart of the station, presenting the daily radio news programme “Good Evening Wales,” and chairing the Sunday talk show “Something Else,” as well as the weekly political programme “Called to Order.”

He was appointed MBE in 1994 for services to broadcasting and was an honorary fellow of Cardiff and Aberystwyth Universities

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