John Sergeant

Former BBC Chief Political Correspondent to address Isle of Man Sporting and Dining Club

| March 19, 2014 | 0 Comments
John Sergeant

Since emerging into the public eye on the receiving end of Margaret Thatcher’s handbag in 1990, John Sergeant has become part of Britain’s public consciousness.

John Sergeant studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford as well as being a leading light in revues including the Edinburgh Festival. In 1966 he was chosen by Alan Bennett to appear in his award-winning BBC TV comedy series, On the Margin ahead of fellow student, Michael Palin.

In 1967, John became a trainee at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. From here he joined the BBC in 1970 as a radio and television news reporter. John’s assignments included covering events in Vietnam, Rhodesia, Northern Ireland, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He was also senior correspondent in Dublin, Paris and Washington. For two years he covered European affairs and the first sessions of the directly elected European Parliament. He has also, at times, presented all the main current affairs programmes on Radio 4, including Today and The World at One.

In 1990 John Sergeant won a Press Guild Award for the Most Memorable Outside Broadcast when Margaret Thatcher interrupted his live report from outside the British Embassy in Paris to announce her participation in the second round of the Conservative Party leadership ballot.

John left the BBC and joined ITN as Political Editor, taking over the role from Michael Brunson who retired after 32 years with ITN. Soon after his arrival at ITN John was voted the Best Individual Television Contributor of the Year at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer Awards for 1999. In 2001 John reported on his eighth General Election campaign – his first for ITN. On Election night itself he brought his vast political experience to bear as co-presenter – alongside Jonathan Dimbleby – of ITV’s Election 2001 programme.

When he was at ITN John Sergeant reported on all the key political issues of the day both at home and abroad. He also reported from Camp David on the first meeting between Blair and President George Bush. In 2002, John Sergeant stood down as Political Editor of ITN after only three years in the job, and returned to his love of light entertainment and has appeared as a guest in a variety of programmes, such as Have I Got News For You (which he has chaired), Room 101 and the News Quiz on Radio 4.

Recognised as a raconteur and superb after dinner speaker, in 2002 John published his memoirs, “Give Me Ten Seconds”. In 2005 he released a book on Margaret Thatcher – “Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy”, and in 2008 he won over the nation with his performances on “Strictly Come Dancing”. He famously quit the show saying: “The trouble is that there is now a real danger that I might win the competition. Even for me that would be a joke too far.”

During the dinner in April, a charity raffle will yet again be held; with all funds raised being donated to a local charity to be nominated by sponsors Specsavers Opticians (IOM). To date, over £45000, 00 has been raised at the Clubs dinners for local causes.

Adrian Higgins, Director at Specsavers said:

“The quality of speakers we continue to welcome to these Isle of Man Sporting and Dining Club events is fantastic, and I am delighted that Specsavers is able to help facilitate its continued success. Previously we’ve had the opportunity to hear from football, golf and cricket icons in Kevin Keegan, Bernard Gallacher and most recently Sir Garfield Sobers. We are certainly sustaining this high calibre of speakers with John Sergeant, who I am sure will be a big draw, which will in turn help us raise a significant sum for a local charity at the dinner.”

John Wannenburgh of the IoM Sporting and Dining Club added:

“Everyone of a certain age will remember John’s live broadcast when Margaret Thatcher interrupted his report, from outside the British Embassy in Paris to announce her participation in the second round of the Conservative Party leadership ballot. I very much hope that John will reveal all the happenings behind landmark events such as these, as well as his star performances on “Strictly come Dancing”, in 2008”

The event will take place on Thursday 24th April 2013 at the Best Western Palace Hotel and Casino in Douglas, with dinner tickets costing £65 for members and £75 for non-members (excluding VAT), available by contacting the Club on 617049 or mobile 07624495749 and at

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