Brian Walden

Alastair Brian Walden (born 8 July 1932 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire) is a British journalist and broadcaster who spent over a decade as a Labour Member of Parliament. He is the father of actor Ben Walden.

Early life

The son of a glass-worker, Walden attended West Bromwich Grammar School. He then won an open scholarship to study at Queen's College, Oxford, where he "narrowly missed a first" in history and in 1957 was elected president of the Oxford Union.[1] He completed a postgraduate course at Nuffield College, Oxford before becoming a university lecturer.

Political career

Walden unsuccessfully contested the safe Conservative constituency of Oswestry in a 1961 by-election, coming third for Labour. At the 1964 general election Walden was elected MP for Birmingham All Saints in an election where race dominated the Birmingham campaign. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1966 and 1970. When All Saints was abolished Walden sought and gained the Labour nomination for Birmingham Ladywood, and was elected there in February 1974 and October 1974. He campaigned for the liberalisation of cannabis and gambling laws; he was nicknamed by some "the bookies' MP" when he was revealed to be receiving more from the National Association of Bookmakers than his parliamentary salary. On 16 June 1977 Walden resigned from the House of Commons by taking the Chiltern Hundreds in order to become a full-time journalist and broadcaster.

Journalistic career

He has presented television programmes, mostly for London Weekend Television, such as Weekend World, The Walden Interview and Walden, and was a member of the board of Central Television between 1981 and 1984.

Walden is considered one of the finest political interviewers in the history of British broadcasting, tenacious and ruthless. He was known for interviews of politicians, especially Margaret Thatcher. He was said to be her favourite interviewer, although he gave her a tough ride. In October 1989 Thatcher gave Walden an interview when her own (Conservative) party was turning against her.

Brian Walden: "You come over as being someone who one of your backbenchers said is slightly off her trolley, authoritarian, domineering, refusing to listen to anybody else why? Why cannot you publicly project what you have just told me is your private character?"
Margaret Thatcher: "Brian, if anyone’s coming over as domineering in this interview, it’s you."[2]

In 2005 Walden presented 10-minute programmes, A Point of View, on BBC Radio 4, in a spot formerly occupied by Alistair Cooke's Letter From America.

He lives in Guernsey. He opposes the ban on fox-hunting.[3]


  1. Times, 30 October 1961
  2. "Margaret Thatcher TV Interview for The Walden Interview (Lawson's resignation)". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. 28 October 1989. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  3. Walden, Brian (15 March 2002). "Ban on foxhunting would be a triumph for the mob". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2009.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Hollingworth
Member of Parliament for Birmingham All Saints
1964February 1974
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Doris Fisher
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood
February 19741977
Succeeded by
John Sever
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