Alistair Cooke was born in 1908 in Salford, Lancashire. His birth name was Alfred, but he changed it to Alistair at the age of 22. In 1932, he won a Harkness Fellowship to Yale and Harvard, and he emigrated to America in 1937, where he scripted a regular Letter from London missive for NBC. In 1941, Cooke became an American citizen, and in 1946 he began broadcasting American Letter for the BBC (the programme's name was changed to Letter from America in 1950). The show's remit was to introduce his adopted country to his homeland by means of 'a weekly personal letter to a Briton by a fireside about American life and people and places in the American news'. It was immensely popular, and ran for 2869 broadcasts over 58 years - the longest-running one-man series in broadcasting history. Cooke received an honorary knighthood for his contribution to Anglo-American understanding in 1973. He died in 2004.
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