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Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson

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Nicholas Anthony "Nick" Robinson (born 5 October 1963) is a British journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and political editor
Political Editor
The political editor of a newspaper or broadcast media is the senior political reporter who covers politics and related matters for the newspaper or station...

 for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. Robinson was interested in politics from a young age, and went on to study a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, politics, and economics is a popular interdisciplinary undergraduate/graduate degree which combines study from the three disciplines...

 degree at Oxford University, where he was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association
Oxford University Conservative Association
The Oxford University Conservative Association, or OUCA is a student political organisation founded in 1924 whose members are drawn from the University of Oxford...

. Starting out in broadcasting at Piccadilly Radio, he worked his way up as a producer eventually becoming deputy editor of Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

, the world's longest-running current affairs programme, before becoming a political correspondent in 1996. He became the BBC's chief political correspondent in 1999, and between 2002 and 2005 he worked for ITV News
ITV News
ITV News is the branding of news programmes on the British television network ITV. Since 1955, ITV's news bulletins have been produced by Independent Television News . The channel's news coverage has won awards from the Royal Television Society, Emmy Awards and BAFTAs. Between 2004 and 2008, the...

 as political editor, but then returned to the BBC assuming the same role, which he has held since.

Noted for his confrontational and provocative approach, Robinson has on several occasions caused a stir with his style of questioning, particularly of world leaders such as George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. His history of Conservative affiliation has been controversial, particularly when allegations of bias were made during his coverage of the 2010 United Kingdom general election. He has presented a variety of programmes, including Westminster Live
Westminster Live
Westminster Live was a weekly television programme focusing on political developments within the United Kingdom Parliament, first transmitted in 1989, discontinued in 2002, and succeeded by The Daily Politics....

, Weekend Breakfast and Late Night Live on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

, and Newsnight
Newsnight
Newsnight is a BBC Television current affairs programme noted for its in-depth analysis and often robust cross-examination of senior politicians. Jeremy Paxman has been its main presenter for over two decades....

.

Early life


Born in Macclesfield
Macclesfield
Macclesfield is a market town within the unitary authority of Cheshire East, the county palatine of Chester, also known as the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The population of the Macclesfield urban sub-area at the time of the 2001 census was 50,688...

, Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, in 1963, Robinson was interested in political journalism from the age of eight. He was educated at Cheadle Hulme School
Cheadle Hulme School
Cheadle Hulme School is an independent day school in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, England for boys and girls aged 4–18 years old. It was formed as The Manchester Warehousemen and Clerks' Orphan Schools in 1855 and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.- History :In the early...

 and University College, Oxford
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

, where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, politics, and economics is a popular interdisciplinary undergraduate/graduate degree which combines study from the three disciplines...

. At university he was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association
Oxford University Conservative Association
The Oxford University Conservative Association, or OUCA is a student political organisation founded in 1924 whose members are drawn from the University of Oxford...

. In 1982, while travelling in Europe, he survived a car crash in Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, in which the car, a two-door Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...

, exploded and his friends James Nelson and Will Redhead (son of Brian Redhead
Brian Redhead
Brian Leonard Redhead was a British author, journalist and broadcaster. He was probably best known as a co-presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 which he worked on from 1975 until 1993, shortly before his death...

, a journalist and co-presenter of Today on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

) were killed. Robinson was "severely burned", spent five weeks in hospital and had to defer his university place. Brian Redhead became Robinson's mentor, and later encouraged his career in political journalism, giving him a copy of Tony Benn
Tony Benn
Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, PC is a British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet Minister.His successful campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963...

's Arguments for Socialism for his birthday. However, his early political affiliations were to the right. In 1986, Robinson spent a year as national chairman of the Young Conservatives
Young Conservatives (UK)
The Young Conservatives was the youth wing of the United Kingdom's Conservative Party until the organisation was replaced in 1998 by Conservative Future.-Origins:...

, and earned the nickname "Blue Robbo", in reference to Derek Robinson, a trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 spokesman who was known as "Red Robbo".

Early career: 1986–1996


Robinson's first position in broadcasting was at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, which he took up while recovering from his injuries. He joined the BBC in 1986 as a production trainee, and later worked extensively as a television
Television producer
The primary role of a television Producer is to allow all aspects of video production, ranging from show idea development and cast hiring to shoot supervision and fact-checking...

 and radio producer
Radio producer
A radio producer oversees the making of a radio show. There are two main types of producer. An audio or creative producer and a content producer. Audio producers create sounds and audio specifically, content producers oversee and orchestrate a radio show or feature...

 for a variety of shows including Newsround
Newsround
Newsround is a BBC children's news programme, which has run continuously since 4 April 1972, and was one of the world's first television news magazines aimed specifically at children...

and Crimewatch
Crimewatch
Crimewatch is a long-running and high-profile British television programme produced by the BBC, that reconstructs major unsolved crimes with a view to gaining information from the members of the public. The programme is usually broadcast once a month on BBC One...

. He then became an assistant producer for On the Record, and in 1993 was promoted to Deputy Editor of Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

, the world's longest-running current affairs programme, a position he held for three years. In 1995, while Robinson was at Panorama he wrote an internal BBC memorandum questioning how an interview with Prime Minister John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

 could be defended in the run-up to the Scottish local elections. When leaked it gained attention from the Labour Party, who perceived it as the legitimised denial of equal time in the run up to local elections.

Political correspondent: 1996–2002



In 1996 he became a political correspondent, presenting Weekend Breakfast and Late Night Live on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

, and in 1997 he covered the general election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 for BBC Radio. In October 1999 he became BBC News 24
BBC News 24
BBC News is the BBC's 24-hour rolling news television network in the United Kingdom. The channel launched as BBC News 24 on 9 November 1997 at 17:30 as part of the BBC's foray into digital domestic television channels, becoming the first competitor to Sky News, which had been running since 1989...

's chief political correspondent, and also presented Westminster Live
Westminster Live
Westminster Live was a weekly television programme focusing on political developments within the United Kingdom Parliament, first transmitted in 1989, discontinued in 2002, and succeeded by The Daily Politics....

. In the run-up to the 2001 general election, Robinson started keeping a daily diary of the campaign. Entitled "The Campaign Today", it later became Newslog, and continued to be updated until Robinson left the BBC. When he returned in 2005 he began a new blog with the same name.

ITN political editor: 2002–2005


In 2002, Robinson left the BBC for Independent Television News
Independent Television News
ITN is a news and content provider with headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is made up of four key businesses: ITN News, ITN Source, ITN Productions and ITN Consulting. The ITN logotype can be displayed in any of 4 different colours, each of which represents a business unit. This is the...

 (ITN) as ITV News' political editor
Political Editor
The political editor of a newspaper or broadcast media is the senior political reporter who covers politics and related matters for the newspaper or station...

. Tom Bradby, who later succeeded him, described the appointment as "bold, imaginative and instantly successful". Robinson stayed with ITN for three years, and caused a major stir early in the 2005 election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

 campaign at the unveiling of a Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 poster. The poster claimed the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 would initiate cuts of £35 billion to public services if elected; Robinson challenged Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, claiming the poster was misleading, which forced Blair to admit the £35 billion figure was "disingenuous". Later on in the election campaign, Labour announced that Tony Blair would be making "the most important speech of the campaign" on immigration, with a specially invited audience. Robinson asked Blair why there were only white people in the audience, and Blair pointed out a single Asian man to disprove Robinson. Later, Robinson stated "We know that the big two parties carefully select audiences to give a particular appearance. Is it a great controversy to point this out? That's informing the audience." On election night, Robinson joined presenters Jonathan Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby 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.-Education:Dimbleby was educated at Charterhouse School, a...

 and Alastair Stewart
Alastair Stewart
Alastair James Stewart OBE is an English journalist and newscaster. Stewart is currently employed by ITN where he is a main newscaster for ITV News.-Early life:...

 to reveal the results with political analysis.

Return to the BBC: 2005–present


Robinson left ITN and was appointed as the BBC political editor in preference to fellow journalist Martha Kearney
Martha Kearney
Martha Catherine Kearney is an Irish-born British broadcaster and journalist. She is the main presenter of BBC Radio 4's lunchtime news programme The World at One.-Early life:...

 in August 2005, replacing Andrew Marr
Andrew Marr
Andrew William Stevenson Marr is a Scottish journalist and political commentator. He edited The Independent for two years until May 1998, and was political editor of BBC News from 2000 until 2005....

.

Robinson continued his provocative approach to journalism, and on more than one occasion had run-ins with powerful politicians. During Tony Blair's visit to Israel in 2006 to discuss the Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 war, journalists were asked not to bring up the ongoing rift with Gordon Brown. Tom Bradby, the ITV political editor, asked a question on the subject but was told it was "disrespectful". Robinson then followed on the same topic, asking a difficult question on the feud between the Chancellor and Prime Minister. He was criticised for distracting from the main issue of the conference, but he argued that "I'm paid to ask questions... particularly at a time when there are incredibly serious allegations... I react very badly to organised attempts to stop journalists asking questions." Robinson later criticised Blair's announcement of his intention to stand down. He explained how he considered the setup "stage management", and how no journalists were allowed to ask questions.

In December 2006 he got a very hard stare from George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 when he asked him if he was in denial about the situation in Iraq (since the most Bush had said about the situation was that the increase in attacks was "unsettling"). Bush replied coldly "It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?". He had another run in with Bush at a press conference at Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

, when Bush asked him "you still hanging around?". He then suggested to Robinson, with reference to the heat, that "next time you should cover your bald head". As Bush walked away Robinson replied "I didn't know you cared", to which Bush responded "I don't". Robinson described his quip as a "fatal error" on his blog. In a final encounter in 2008, Bush joked with Robinson about still not wearing his hat.

Robinson continues to keep a blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

 on the BBC website, which discusses politics. His posts have occasionally caused controversy: on 5 May 2006 he raised eyebrows with the revelation that when hearing of Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke
Charles Rodway Clarke is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Norwich South from 1997 until 2010, and served as Home Secretary from December 2004 until May 2006.-Early life:...

's sacking in the 2006 Cabinet reshuffle, he was "naked in bed." He later apologised, saying he was "merely trying to add authenticity. That's the naked truth." This incident briefly earnt him the nickname "Naked Nick". Another post dated 25 February 2008 criticised MPs defending Michael Martin against allegations of expenses misuse, which caused controversy in parliament.

Outside of his work as political editor, Robinson has also worked on politics-related programmes, such as The Daily Politics
The Daily Politics
The Daily Politics is a British television show launched by the BBC in 2003. Presented by Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn, the programme takes an in-depth and sometimes irreverent look at the daily goings on in Westminster and other areas across Britain and the world, and includes interviews with leading...

, Newsnight
Newsnight
Newsnight is a BBC Television current affairs programme noted for its in-depth analysis and often robust cross-examination of senior politicians. Jeremy Paxman has been its main presenter for over two decades....

and Today on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

. He joined David Dimbleby
David Dimbleby
David Dimbleby is a British BBC TV commentator and a presenter of current affairs and political programmes, most notably the BBC's flagship political show Question Time, and more recently, art, architectural history and history series...

, Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Dickson Paxman is a British journalist, author and television presenter. He has worked for the BBC since 1977. He is noted for a forthright and abrasive interviewing style, particularly when interrogating politicians...

, Jeremy Vine
Jeremy Vine
Jeremy Guy Vine is a British author, journalist and news presenter for the BBC. He is known for his direct interview style and exclusive reporting from war-torn areas throughout Africa...

 and Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis is a Canadian-born British journalist and newsreader, currently employed by the BBC.-Career:Raised in Sheffield, she was educated at the local King Edward VII School...

 to report and provide analysis on the 2010 United Kingdom general election night. He has also appeared as guests in other television programmes, including Children in Need
Children in Need
Children in Need is an annual British charity appeal organised by the BBC. Since 1980 it has raised over £500 million. The highlight of the Children in Need appeal is an annual telethon, held in November. A teddy bear named "Pudsey Bear" fronts the campaign, while Terry Wogan is a long...

, Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You is a British television panel show produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. It is based loosely on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz, and has been broadcast since 1990, currently the BBC's longest-ever running television panel show...

, and Top Gear. In May 2011 he presented the documentary The Street That Cut Everything
The Street That Cut Everything
The Street That Cut Everything is a British television documentary presented by BBC political editor Nick Robinson. Billed as a social experiment, 50 residents of a street in Preston, Lancashire were persuaded to go without all council services for six weeks, and work together to run their own...

, a programme in which residents of a street in Preston, Lancashire had all their council services withdrawn for six weeks as an experiment.

Criticism


Robinson has been criticised for allegedly reporting with a pro-Tory
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 bias, and Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell
Alastair John Campbell is a British journalist, broadcaster, political aide and author, best known for his work as Director of Communications and Strategy for Prime Minister Tony Blair between 1997 and 2003, having first started working for Blair in 1994...

 brought up his history of conservative affiliations when confronted with a difficult question. Bias was claimed particularly in the 2010 United Kingdom general election coverage; a Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 group entitled "Nick Robinson should not be the BBC's political editor" was set up and as of August 2010 has over 2000 members. In a 2005 interview with David Rowan, the UK editor of Wired News
Wired News
Wired News is an online technology news website, formerly known as HotWired, that split off from Wired magazine when the magazine was purchased by Condé Nast Publishing in the 1990s. Wired News was owned by Lycos not long after the split, until Condé Nast purchased Wired News on July 11, 2006...

, he insisted "that his involvement [with the Conservatives] ceased 20 years ago".

Nick Robinson has, in his BBC Radio 4 series "The Prime Ministers", used historian Professor Jane Ridley as an expert commentator. Professor Jane Ridley is the daughter of the late Conservative politician Nicholas Ridley.

He has also reported receiving hate mail
Hate mail
Hate mail is a form of harassment, usually consisting of invective and potentially intimidating or threatening comments towards the recipient...

 about his distinctive Gucci
Gucci
The House of Gucci, better known simply as Gucci , is an Italian fashion and leather goods label, part of the Gucci Group, which is owned by French company PPR...

 glasses, including one advising him to "go to Specsavers
Specsavers
Specsavers Optical Group Ltd is the biggest optical retailer in the UK and Ireland. It is also the biggest of the four major opticians that control 70% of the British market for spectacles and contact lenses, with Specsavers having a 39% share of the market...

". Advised by a fashion expert to get a distinctive pair, "or risk fading into the background", they have become his trademark, along with his bald head and provocative approach to journalism and politics. When he joined BBC News in 1999, he was almost made to wear contact lenses instead but he refused, stating they were "like large pieces of grit in [his] eye".

Robinson was again a figure of controversy in October 2010, after being caught on camera seizing and tearing up an anti-war, anti-cuts placard that a protester had been waving behind him during a live news report outside Parliament. Speaking after the incident, Robinson was at first defiant, declaring "I'm not remotely ashamed of myself. Why should I be ashamed of myself?". He later wrote that he "regretted" losing his temper, but added that he regarded the protester's display of the sign as inappropriate. Some days later, Robinson read out a jokily ambiguous 'letter of apology' on Have I Got News For You?, broadcast on 4 November, 2010.

Personal life


Robinson met his wife Pippa, a relationship counsellor, at university and they married in 1991. He has three children: Alice, Will (named in memory of Will Redhead) and Harry. He lives in North London, close to Arsenal
Arsenal F.C.
Arsenal Football Club is a professional English Premier League football club based in North London. One of the most successful clubs in English football, it has won 13 First Division and Premier League titles and 10 FA Cups...

's Emirates Stadium
Emirates Stadium
Ashburton Grove, currently known as the Emirates Stadium, is a UEFA elite football stadium which is home to Arsenal FC, where they moved from Highbury in 2006. It has an current capacity of 60,361, and there have been rumours of an expansion...

. He is a lifelong Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

 fan, and enjoys sailing and the theatre.

External links