Photograph of John Simpson journalist and novelist

Born in 1944 and educated at St Paul’s School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, John Simpson joined the BBC in 1966 and has stayed there ever since. He is currently World Affairs Editor and host of BBC2’s new global politics programme
Unspun World.

He has reported from 140 countries and interviewed around 200 world leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher and every other British prime minister since Harold Wilson. He has covered forty-six wars on four
continents, not to mention the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania; the Tiananmen Square massacre and the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bombing of Baghdad in the first Gulf War and the fall of Kabul.

John has received most of the broadcasting industry’s main awards, including RTS journalist of the year (twice), three BAFTAs, an Emmy, Monte-Carlo TV Festival’s Golden Nymph, and the Bayeux award for war reporting. He is an honorary fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, a freeman of the City of London, and president of The Chelsea Society. In 1991 he was awarded a CBE.

He joins us to talk about his latest novel, Our Friends in Beijing:

‘Engaging, rip-roaring, told with a wry tongue-in-cheek style that delights’ Daily Mail

‘[Simpson’s] plotting is strewn with expert analysis of international affairs and insider knowledge’ Spectator

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