John Simpson John Cody Fidler-Simpson (born August 9, 1944), commonly known as John Simpson, is a British journalist who currently holds the role of World Affairs Editor for the BBC. He also presents the current affairs programme Simpson's World and is a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Born in London, Simpson went to St Paul's School. He read English at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he edited the magazine Granta. He joined BBC Radio in 1966 and has worked for the corporation in various roles ever since.
He was promoted to the role of reporter in 1970. His autobiography recalls an occasion on his first day on the news team when he attempted to record a quote from Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who punched Simpson in the stomach for his impudence. He presented the BBC Nine O'Clock News for a short period in the 1980s, became the BBC's Diplomatic Editor, and was appointed World Affairs Editor in 1998.
He interviewed the King of Buganda Mutesa II a few hours before his death on November 21, 1969; he was present at the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989 and the fall of Nicolae Ceau┼čescu in Bucharest later that year. He spent the early part of the 1991 Gulf War in Baghdad, before being expelled by the authorities.
Simpson was one of the few journalists to remain in Belgrade during the Kosovo War of 1999. Two years later, he was one of the first journalists to enter Kabul after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
While working as a non-embedded journalist in Northern Iraq in the 2003 Iraq war, he was injured in a friendly fire incident when an American anti-tank bomb was dropped on the American unit he was with. The incident was captured on film and has been broadcast.
Simpson has freely admitted to experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs offered to him by natives and locals while working in various jungles of the world. This has prompted numerous light-hearted jibes from other panellists whenever Simpson has appeared on the topical quiz show Have I Got News For You. On his first appearance, Simpson revealed, in all seriousness, that one hallucination involved a six-foot goldfish putting his flipper round his shoulders while wearing dark glasses and a straw hat.
Simpson has written several books, including the autobiographical trilogy:
Strange Places, Questionable People (1998) A Mad World, My Masters (2000) News From No Man's Land (2002). The last book on Iraq War:
The Wars Against Saddam: Taking the Hard Road to Baghdad (2004) The most recent autobiography:
Days from a Different World: A Memoir of Childhood (2005) Simpson was awarded the CBE in 1991.
Simpson became the first chancellor of Roehampton University in 2005.
Simpson, who has two adult daughters from his first marriage, married his second wife Dee, a television producer 19 years his junior, in 1996. A son was born to the couple in January 2006 (Simpson becomes a father aged 61).