Nicholas Witchell

Last updated 09 January 2020

Acting Credits
Self: as Himself: Voyage of the Damned
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Nicholas Newton Henshall Witchell

Born: Wednesday 23rd September 1953 (age: 70)


Nicholas Witchell  is an English journalist. He is the current diplomatic and royal correspondent for BBC News. Previously he was a newscaster.

Witchell, along with Sue Lawley, became the first newsreader of the BBC Six O'Clock News when that programme, now called the BBC News at Six, was launched in 1984. In 1988, the Six O'Clock News studio was invaded during a live broadcast by a group of women protesting against Britain's Section 28 (a law against the teaching of homosexuality in schools). Witchell famously grappled with the protesters and is said to have sat on one woman, provoking the ambiguous frontpage headline in the Daily Mirror, "Beeb man sits on lesbian".

He was the first reporter to give the news of the Lockerbie disaster, the Zeebrugge ferry disaster and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The following year he moved from the evening to the breakfast news slot, a role he filled for five years. During the 1991 Gulf War he was a volunteer presenter on the BBC Radio 4 News FM service.[3] In 1994 he left the studio to become a reporter for factual affairs programme Panorama.

In 1998, Witchell became a royal and diplomatic correspondent. In 2002, his obituary of The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, recorded some time before her death but screened immediately after the announcement of her death, provoked controversy, as it mentioned her lovers and love of whisky.

Witchell provoked royal ire again in 2005. Whilst at a press conference at the Swiss ski resort of Klosters, Witchell asked The Prince of Wales how he and his sons were feeling about his forthcoming marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles. After a response from his son Prince William, the Prince of Wales said under his breath, and referring to Witchell, "These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is." Witchell himself was then in the headlines. The BBC defended their reporter saying "He is one of our finest. His question was perfectly reasonable under the circumstances."

Witchell is a Governor of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People, an Officer of the Order of St John and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has two children and lives in Central London with his long term partner Maria Staples.[2][4]

Witchell appeared as himself in the Doctor Who Christmas Special "Voyage of the Damned", broadcast on Christmas Day 2007.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA