World Service chief in tribute to crash victim Kark

The head of the BBC World Service has paid tribute to his predecessor, Austen Kark, who was among the seven victims killed in the Potters Bar rail crash last week.

Director of the World Service, Mark Byford, said Kark, who retired as managing director of the BBC’s external services in 1986, was "one of the all-time greats" in its history.

"He was a highly cultured, intelligent and well-read individual with an enormous passion for the World Service," said Byford. "He made a huge contribution to its success story and still took a deep personal interest in its activities and developments in his retirement."

Kark, who was 75, was travelling with his wife, novelist Nina Bawden, who is recovering in Barnet General Hospital after suffering a broken collarbone and ankle.

After joining the BBC in 1954 as a scriptwriter, Kark was appointed head of the South European service in 1964 and moved on to head up the Eastern European service eight years later. In 1973 he became editor of the World Service before being appointed deputy managing director of external services in 1981 and managing director four years later.

Kark, who was awarded the CBE in 1987, turned to novel writing after his retirement and his first book, The Forwarding Agent, was published in 1999.

Two Taiwanese journalists were also among those killed. Wu Chia-ching, 32, a reporter at Taiwan’s TVBS cable news, was travelling with her former colleague, Lin Chia-hsin, 29.

By Julie Tomlin

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