With a BBC career spanning more than 40 years, John Simpson is one of Britain's best known news reporters and foreign correspondents.
John has spent all his working life at the BBC, reporting on significant events from more than 100 countries, including 30 war zones, and interviewing numerous political leaders and other figures, controversial or otherwise, including Sadam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gadhaffi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Robert Mugabe and The Emperor Bokassa.
John's first TV appearance was in 1965 as a member of the Magdalene College, Cambridge team on University Challenge. A year later he started as a trainee sub-editor on BBC Radio news broadcasts. He became a BBC reporter in 1970. On his first day, the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson, angered by what he saw as the sudden and impudent appearance of the microphone, famously punched the novice reporter in the stomach!
John was the BBC's Political Editor in 1980-81, then an anchor man for the corporation's flagship The Nine O'Clock News in 1981, before being appointed Diplomatic Editor in 1982. During the 1980s, he also served as a BBC correspondent in South Africa, Brussels and Dublin, becoming World Affairs Editor in 1988. At the same time, he presented his own current affairs programme, Simpson's World.
John's career has seen him cover major international events, including the Beijing Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the first Gulf War (reporting from Baghdad) before being expelled by the Iraqi authorities, and from Belgrade during the Kosovo War of 1999. He was one of the first reporters to enter Afghanistan in 2001, famously disguising himself by wearing a burqa, then subsequently reported from Kabul during the US-led invasion itself.
In addition to reporting on world events, John has written two novels, Moscow Requiem and A Fine And Private Place. His non-fiction literary works include The Disappeared: Voices From A Secret War, Despatches From The Barricades, A Mad World, My Masters, News From No Man's Land, The Wars Against Saddam: Taking The Hard Road To Baghdad, Days From A Different World: A Memoir Of Childhood, Twenty Tales From The War Zone, and Unreliable Sources.
One of the world's most experienced and authoritative journalists, John Simpson's talks cleverly interweave humour into often nerve-wracking tales from his extensive travels. To book him as an After-dinner Speaker, contact Prime Performers for more information, either through our online booking enquiry form or by calling us on 020 7251 8222.
- Host of the popular satirical programme, 'Chat Room’
- Popular television and radio host currently presenting National Geographic's flagship current affairs/talkshow hybrid, Explorer, which is broadcast to 170 countries worldwide.
- Maths expert on Countdown, and presenter on The Gadget Show.