Michael Buerk (born 18 February 1946) is a BBC journalist and newsreader, most famous for his reporting of the Ethiopian famine on 23 October 1984, which inspired the Band Aid charity record. Buerk was born in Solihull, and was educated at Solihull School.
After working for the South Wales Echo and Daily Mail, he joined Radio Bristol from 1970 before becoming a reporter for BBC News in 1973. He has presented the news more than 4000 times, including:
the Nine O Clock News (in the 1990s) the BBC Ten O'Clock News (2000 to 2002) the Breakfast programme 999 Lifesavers the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 (since 1990) The Choice (since 1998) On Children In Need, Buerk has appeared with an ensemble of BBC News presenters. In 2004 he, alongside other BBC newsreaders, dressed in leather to perform Duran Duran classics and in 2005 to sing the Bohemian Rhapsody. He is sometimes imitated by Jon Culshaw on Dead Ringers, which he has said he enjoys.
Buerk asserted in a Radio Times interview in August 2005 that the "shift in the balance of power between the sexes" has gone too far and that men are now little more than "sperm donors". In particular, he objected to the many women now in senior positions within the BBC, echoing the outburst the previous year by sacked former Director General, Alasdair Milne. This was in anticipation of Buerk's 45-minute TV-essay, 'Michael Buerk on What Are Men For?" as part of Five's six-part "Don't Get Me Started!" series, broadcast on Tuesday 23 August 2005. The reaction to "What Are Men For?" was quite severe, criticising in particular Buerk's choices of sympathetic interview subjects, including "an odious chauvinistic farmer" and "a ridiculous Sloane" (Sam Wollaston in the Guardian's G2 supplement on 24th August 2005).
Buerk has also criticised some of his colleagues for being overpaid "lame brains". He retired from domestic newscasting in 2002.
The physical appearance of the BBC's former arts correspondent, Rosie Millard, was overtly admired by Michael. When corresponding on the 2001 Oscars, he commented on her wearing the best supporting dress.
He currently lives in Guildford with his wife, with whom he has twin sons. One of his sons Roland Buerk, survived the South-Asain Tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. Earlier in 2004, he had published his autobiography called The Road Taken.