John Simpson: Questions & Answers

HomeQ and AJohn Simpson

Name?
John Simpson

Age?
61

Where are you from?
Suffolk, via London.

How did you get started in broadcasting?
As a half-pay junior sub-editor in the Radio Newsroom, aged 22.

When was that?
1 September 1966. Everything was completely different except at the BBC, which is still recognizably the same organization.

Why News broadcasting?
It was either that or local newspapers, and I liked the idea of public service broadcasting. I still do.

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
Only on ‘University Challenge’, where my team made it through three (or was it four?) rounds.

What is your Best on-air moment?
Reporting the entirely peaceful transfer of power in South Africa in 1994, when everyone had expected a bloodbath.

What is your Worst on-air moment?
Forgetting the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during a live two-way from Maastricht in 1992; but there’ve been plenty of others. The Chancellor’s name was Norman Lamont.

What would you like to do before your career ends?
Report on the trial and sentencing of Mladic and Karadzic for war crimes, the safe return of the Botswana Bushmen to their ancestral home, and the non-violent transition of China to an open society.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Looking after our new baby has rather got in the way of things like seeing films, wandering round bookshops, and hanging out at the Chelsea Arts Club. I hope to get back to these things, preferably with him.

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Don’t give up, no matter how hard it seems; I never met anyone who wanted to get into broadcasting and didn’t manage it eventually. Secondly, understand that the job is its own reward: it’s hard work, and it’s not particularly well paid.

A big thanks to John for taking part.

Last updated: Thursday 21 May 2009

Name? Juliette Foster Age? 42 Where are you from? London How did you get started in broadcasting? Local Radio When was that? 1986 (approximately) Why News broadcasting? I guess it just happened that way. Where else would have viewers seen… Read more

Name? Joe Wilson Age? 33 Where are you from? Leicester How did you get started in broadcasting? Very helpful people at BBC Radio Leicester took me under their wing and gave me an excellent foundation for all I’ve done subsequently… Read more

Name? James Dagwell Age? 32 Where are you from? Lived all over the shop when i was a kid – South London – Devon – but mainly grew up in Crowborough in East Sussex. How did you get started in… Read more

Name? Jon Kay Age? 36 Where are you from? I was born in Hull, but spent most of my childhood in Cheshire. How did you get started in broadcasting? I always wanted to be a newspaper journalist, but at Exeter… Read more

Name? Julie Etchingham Age? 37 Where are you from? Leicester How did you get started in broadcasting? I worked at BBC Radio Leicester when I was still at school – helping out at the weekends with guests and making coffee… Read more

Name? Jamie Owen Age? 38 Where are you from? Pembrokeshire How did you get started in broadcasting? By accident, I joined BBC Radio 3 in London to clear my student debt , and intended to leave after 6 months but… Read more

Leave a Comment