Jonathan Dimbleby

Jonathan Dimbleby
Born (1944-07-31) 31 July 1944
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
Nationality British
Occupation writer and broadcaster
Spouse(s) Bel Mooney (1968-2003; divorced)
Jessica Ray (m. 2007)
Children 4
Parent(s) Richard Dimbleby
Dilys Thomas
Relatives David Dimbleby (brother)

Jonathan Dimbleby (born 31 July 1944, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire) is a British presenter of current affairs and political radio and television programmes, a political commentator and a writer. He is the son of Richard Dimbleby and younger brother of British TV presenter David Dimbleby.


Dimbleby was educated at Charterhouse School, a boys' independent school in Surrey. Later, he studied Farm Management at the Royal Agricultural College and graduated in 1965. He studied philosophy at University College London and graduated in 1969.[1]

He is an Honorary Fellow of UCL and in July 2008 received an honorary degree from the University of Exeter.[2]

TV and radio career

Dimbleby presenting an Any Questions? broadcast on 15 January 2016 at the Nexus Methodist Church, Bath, during the church's 200th anniversary year
Dimbleby presenting a World Question broadcast from Budapest

Dimbleby began his career at the BBC in Bristol in 1969. In 1970 he joined The World at One as a reporter where he also presented The World This Weekend. In 1972 he joined ITV's flagship current affairs programme This Week and over the following six years reported on crises in many parts of the world. His coverage of the 1973 Ethiopian famine, The Unknown Famine, was followed by TV and radio appeals which raised a record sum nationally and internationally. His report, for which he won the SFTA Richard Dimbleby Award, contributed to the overthrow of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.[3]

In 1978 he wrote and presented the ITV series Jonathan Dimbleby in South America. In 1979 he joined Yorkshire Television where he wrote and presented three ITV network series – The Bomb (1979), The Eagle and The Bear (1980) and The Cold War Game (1981). He also presented the ITV documentary series First Tuesday. In 1985 he joined TV-am as presenter of Jonathan Dimbleby on Sunday. In 1986 he returned to ITV as presenter of This Week.

In 1988 he joined the BBC to present the new flagship political programme On the Record (1988–93). He wrote, presented and co-produced two documentary series; The Last Governor (BBC1 1997) about the final five years of British rule in Hong Kong and Charles: The Private Man, The Public Face (ITV 1994) in which Prince Charles spoke about his first marriage and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles,[4] now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall.

From 1995 to 2006 he presented ITV's political programme, Jonathan Dimbleby. He anchored ITV's general election coverage in 1997, 2001 and 2005. He wrote and presented Russia with Jonathan Dimbleby (BBC2 2008), An African Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby (2010), and A South American Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby (2011).

Since 1987 he has presented Any Questions? on BBC Radio 4. He presented Any Answers? from 1989 to 2012.[5][6]

Other work

Dimbleby wanted to be a farmer when he left school and worked on the Royal Farm, Windsor, and trained as a showjumper. For a number of years he ran an organic farm near Bath, Somerset. He is Vice-President and former President of the Soil Association. 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.

He is president of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Vice-President and past President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), president of the South Hams Society[7] and a trustee of Dimbleby Cancer Care. He was Chairman of Index on Censorship's Board of Trustees, until 2013 when he was succeeded by David Aaronovitch.[8]


Dimbleby is the son of the Second World War war correspondent Richard Dimbleby, who was later to become presenter of the BBC TV current affairs programme Panorama. He has an older brother, David Dimbleby, who is also a current affairs commentator and presenter of BBC programmes. Jonathan wrote a biography of his father in 1975.

Dimbleby married the author, journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney in 1968.[5] The couple have two children; their daughter Kitty works for the charity Help for Heroes and their son Daniel is a television producer. They divorced in 2006.[5] In 2003 Dimbleby began a relationship with the soprano Susan Chilcott, with whom he lived until her death from breast cancer in September 2003.[9] In 2007 Dimbleby married Jessica Ray. They have two daughters, and live in South Devon.[10]

Awards and honours

Writing and other activities


  1. "Spotted: Alumni in the Public Eye". UCL Department of Philosophy. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  2. "Wednesday 11 July 2007 afternoon ceremony – Jonathan Dimbleby LLD". Exeter University. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  3. Alexander De Waal (1991), Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch, p. 58, ISBN 9781564320384
  4. Andrew Alderson "Prince vows to keep silent about his private life",, 25 March 2001.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "DIMBLEBY, Jonathan". Retrieved 2015-06-21.
  6. "Jonathan Dimbleby hands Any Answers? baton to Anita Anand on Radio 4". BBC Media Centre. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  7. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  8. "Winners – Index Awards 2013, Index on Censorship, 21 March 2013.
  9. Richard Alleyne (21 April 2008). "Jonathan Dimbleby on his marriage break-up". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  10. Angela Epstein (22 May 2015). "There's no stopping Jonathan Dimbleby". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  11. Felicity Capon (8 April 2013). "Keith Lowe awarded the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for history". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 June 2014.

External links

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