Jonathan Dimbleby

Jonathan Dimbleby

Infobox Person
name = Jonathan Dimbleby

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birth_date = birth date and age|1944|07|31
birth_place = Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
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nationality = British
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occupation = Television presenter, journalist
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Jonathan Dimbleby, (born 31 July 1944, Aylesbury) is a British presenter of current affairs and political radio and television programmes, a political commentator and a writer.


Dimbleby was educated at the Charterhouse School, a boys' Independent school in Godalming, Surrey in Southern England. He graduated from University College, London in 1965 having read for a Philosophy degree. He studied in the same department as the author Ken Follett. In July 2008 he was made an Honorary Graduand of the University of Exeter.

TV and radio career

Dimbleby began his career on ITV where he was a presenter of "This Week" and of documentaries for Yorkshire Television. His 1973 report on the Wollo Famine in Ethiopia played a key role in the undermining of Haile Selassie's regime. [De Waal, Alexander. "Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia". 1991, page 58.] In the report, he claimed that 100,000 or 200,000 Ethiopians had already died in the famine, and that twice that figure would perish in the coming months. [Eldridge, John Eric Thomas. "Getting the Message: News, Truth and Power". 1993, page 26.] In 2002, he continued to assert that over 100,000 Ethiopians had perished in the famine, [ [ Ethiopia proves there can be life after death | World news | The Observer ] ] although authoritative reports have since shown the dead to number 40,000 to 80,000. [De Waal, Alexander. "Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia". 1991, page 58.] [ [] Human Rights Watch] Many historians have credited Dimbleby with contributing to the sense of urgency in regards to the famine, [Woodward, Peter. "The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations". 2003, page 175.] and thereby saving many lives. Haile Selassie's government was succeeded by the Marxist-oriented Derg in 1974; in 1984, the BBC returned to Ethiopia to report on a famine [De Waal, Alexander. "Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia". 1991, page 177.] in which a million Ethiopians reportedly perished. [Woodward, Peter. "The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations". 2003, page 179.]

For the last twenty years he has been the chairman of BBC Radio 4’s programme of topical debate "Any Questions?" and its sister phone-in programme "Any Answers?". He also presented BBC1's "On The Record" political programme, until he was succeeded by John Humphrys when he returned to ITV to present the flagship weekly political programme, "Jonathan Dimbleby". This series ended on May 7th 2006. Since 1997, Dimbleby has filled the role of ITV's anchorman on every General election night.

Dimbleby has been cast as the judge/host for a new reality show on CBBC called "Election". He will be the peroson who decides who stays and leaves the election house.

Writing and other activities

His first book was about his television journalist father, "Richard Dimbleby: A Biography", was published in 1975. In 1979 he wrote "The Palestinians", an illustrated history of the people and politics of a volatile region of the world.

In 1994 "The Prince of Wales: A Biography" was published. Widely regarded as reflecting the perspective of Prince Charles concerning the collapse of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, it is often contrasted with the 1992 book "Diana Her True Story" by tabloid writer Andrew Morton, [Kakutani, M: " [ Books of the Times; 'He Says, She Says' on a Royal Level] ", "New York Times", November 25, 1994] later revealed to have had her direct involvement. In fact, Dimbleby's [ promotional listing] refers to the biography as "authorized", and Dimbleby himself wrote, in its preface:

The book ends prior to the Wales couple's decision to divorce. Yet it includes a number of personal details not only about their courtship and marriage, but about the upbringing, personality, family relations, activities, finances, charities and lifestyle of the Prince. In the hardcover version's 600 pages, Prince Charles's future wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, is mentioned on 19 pages.

Dimbleby also wrote and presented a television documentary on the Prince of Wales entitled "Charles, The Private Man, the Public Role". This included the famous interview in which Charles admitted to having committed adultery after his marriage had "irretrievably broken down", which aired internationally on June 29, 1994.

In a lengthy [ interview] conducted by PBS prior to Diana's death in August 1997, Max Hastings, editor of the "Daily Telegraph" between 1986 and 1995, discussed the impact of Morton's and Dimbleby's books on subsequent news coverage of the Royal Family:

Dimbleby also presented a documentary on the British departure from Hong Kong in 1997 entitled "The Last Governor" (a reference to Chris Patten). A book appeared the same year. Originally intended to be published by Harper Collins, it was a victim of owner Rupert Murdoch's corporate interests in China, Fact|date=October 2007 and was published instead by Little, Brown, an imprint of Time Warner.

Dimbleby wanted to be a farmer when he left school and he worked on the Royal Farm, Windsor and trained as a showjumper. For a number of years he ran an organic farm near Bath, and is President of the Soil Association and of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). He is also Vice-President (and past President) of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and a trustee of the Richard Dimbleby Cancer Fund. He wrote the forewords for "The Organic Directory: Your Guide to Buying Natural Foods" in 1999 and "The Origins of the Organic Movement" in 2001.


Dimbleby is the son of the famous World War II war correspondent Richard Dimbleby, who was later to become presenter of the BBC TV current affairs programme "Panorama", and younger brother of David Dimbleby, also a current affairs commentator and presenter of BBC programmes. He was a director of the Dimbleby Newspaper Group, former publishers of the "Richmond and Twickenham Times", acquired by the Newsquest Media Group in 2001.

For thirty-five years, Dimbleby was married to fellow author Bel Mooney. They have two adult children, Kitty, a journalist for the "Femail" section of the "Daily Mail", and Daniel, a producer on Jamie Oliver's television show. After interviewing Susan Chilcott for his television programme, Dimbleby pursued a relationship with the operatic soprano who died of breast cancer in September 2003 at the age of 40, coverage of which by the "Daily Mail" [,,1749760,00.html is said] to have embittered him. He lived with and cared for Chilcott for the last four months of her life. The following year the Dimblebys announced their separation. [Donnelly, Laura. [ "BBC's Jonathan Dimbleby was 'a wreck'"] "Daily Telegraph", 30 March 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008.] Sometime thereafter, Dimbleby began living with a 30 year-old publicist, Jessica Ray and married her in Dartmouth, Devon on March 12th 2007. They have had their first child together, Dimbleby's third child and second daughter, Daisy. [Donnelly, Laura. [ "Ibid"] At the time of the interview, Daisy was eight months old. Jessica Ray, his second wife, is now 32 years old.]

External links

* [ Dimbleby's Russia website]
* [ Jonathan Dimbleby biography] at BBC Radio 4
* Frances Hardy. "The anguish, heartache and courage of Bel Mooney," "Daily Mail", 10 June 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2007. []


NAME = Dimbleby, Jonathan
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Television presenter, journalist
DATE OF BIRTH = 1944-07-31
PLACE OF BIRTH = Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England

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