Andrew Neil Biography


Birthday: May 21, 1949 (Gemini)

Born In: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Andrew Neil is a Scottish journalist and broadcaster who is the chairman of soon to be launched British television news channel – GB News – backed by the US Discovery, Inc. He has worked for the BBC for 25 years – 1995 to 2020 – hosting various political programmes like This WeekDaily PoliticsPolitics Live and The Andrew Neil Show. One of the toughest political interviewers, he has been called “the most forensic interviewer in broadcasting” by The Times. Before joining BBC, he spent eleven years as an editor with Sunday Times. During this time, he helped Rupert Murdoch establish Sky TV, Britain’s first multi-channel satellite TV platform. Still before, he worked for The Economist for a decade. He has also worked as the CEO and editor-in-chief of Press Holdings Media Group and is currently its chairman. He is the chairman of ITP Media Group too which publishes over 60 magazines in Arabic and English. The veteran broadcaster has also worked for radio.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In May

Also Known As: Andrew Ferguson Neil

Age: 73 Years, 73 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Susan Nilsson

father: James Neil

mother: Mary Neil

Born Country: Scotland

Journalists British Men

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males

Founder/Co-Founder: Press Holdings

More Facts

education: Paisley Grammar School

Childhood & Early Life

Andrew Ferguson Neil was born on 21st May 1949 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, to Mary and James Neil. His mother was employed at a cotton mills while his father worked as an electrician, ran the war-time Cairo fire brigade and monitored the Renfrewshire Territorial Army.

He had an elder brother, Jim Neil, who was a former Paisley Daily Express editor.

His received his school education from Lancraigs Primary School in the Glenburn area and later attended the Paisley Grammar School.

He then joined the University of Glasgow from where he graduated with an MA (Hons) in Political Economy and Political Science in 1971.

While at Glasgow University, he was the editor of the student newspaper the Glasgow University Guardian and a part of the Dialectic Society and the Conservative Club. He chaired the Federation of Conservative Students too.

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Initially for a short period of time, after graduating, Andrew Neil worked as Paisley Daily Express sports correspondent and a Conservative Party researcher specialising in Housing Policy.

In 1973, he entered political journalism when he joined The Economist. For the newspaper, he worked as a House of Commons lobby correspondent in London, White House correspondent in Washington DC and Wall Street correspondent in New York before eventually being appointed its UK Editor in 1982.

While he was working with The Economist, he fronted documentaries (The Risk Business 1977-79) for BBC and television series (Look Here 1978-79) for ITV. He also presented Saturday night show on London Weekend Television.

In 1983, after a decade with The Economist, Andrew Neil was hired by Rupert Murdoch to work as the editor of the influential and prestigious British newspaper, Sunday Times.

He spent the next eleven years (1983-1994) working for the paper turning it into an indisputable multi-section market leader acknowledged for its investigative journalism and scoops.

While still working as the Sunday Times editor, he helped launch Sky TV network in 1989 for Murdoch’s News Corporation. It was Britain’s first multi-channel satellite TV platform and Andrew Neil served as its Executive Chairman.

He was responsible for bringing American animated sitcom, The Simpsons, to British screens.

During his time at the Sunday Times, he appeared on shows aired on BBC’s radio and television and provided his political comments. He also presented the BBC television movie OJ Mania: The Media Trial of OJ Simpson (1994).

Andrew Neil’s association with the Sunday Times concluded in 1994 when he was offered to edit and present a new current affairs show on Murdoch’s Fox network. A pilot was shot; however, the show never happened. Neil and Murdoch finally parted ways. Post this, he wrote for the British newspaper, Daily Mail.

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He now pursued his ambition of becoming a television personality fully and joined BBC in 1995. He presented a political chat show, The Midnight Hour, and later fronted a new late night political show Despatch Box (1998-2002).

In 1995, he conducted in depth interviews with well-known personalities like Albert Reynolds, Morris Cerullo and Max Clifford for Channel 4’s talk show, Is This Your Life?.

The 1990s also saw him portraying the role of newsreader in a couple of Michael Winner movies - Dirty Weekend (1993) and Parting Shots (1999).

In 1996, together with his television career, he assumed the responsibilities of editor-in-chief Barclay brothers' Press Holdings group of newspapers (European, Sunday Business and the Scotsman).

The three papers failed to flourish despite all efforts and eventually closed down—The European closed in 1999, Sunday Business in 2008 and The Scotsman was sold in 2005.

His memoir Full Disclosure came out in 1996 as well and elaborated on the main political events during his Sunday Times and Sky TV years.

The year 2003 saw him starting two starting two new live political programmes for BBC. He began presenting Daily Politics on BBC Two and This Week on BBC One. The two shows ran for a long time with the former ending in 2018 and the latter a year later.

The former show paved way for a new show – Politics Live – which was once again fronted by Andrew Neil till the time he left BBC in 2020.

In 2006, he became the chairman of ITP media group which publishes over 60 magazines in Arabic and English. He continues to hold the post.

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In 2008, a consortium of investors led by him bought the talent and literary agency Peters, Fraser & Dunlop (PFD) from CSS Stellar plc. He assumed the chairmanship of the new company.

In 2008, from CEO, he became the chairman of Press Holdings which now included the Spectator and Apollo art magazine. He still continues in his position.

His tenure with BBC network saw him presenting more significant shows like Straight Talk with Andrew Neil (2007-2010), Sunday Politics (2012 and 2017) and The Andrew Neil Show (2019-2020).

He played a pivotal role in the BBC’s general election night coverage of 2010 and 2015. For the 2017 and 2019 general elections, he conducted interviews with major political party leaders in his miniseries The Andrew Neil Interviews.

Andrew Neil led BBC’s overnight live coverage of the US presidential election in 2016 and the coverage of the 2020 US presidential election became his last appearance on BBC.

Post his departure from BBC, he announced the launch of a new television news channel GB News in early 2021. He will be the chairman of the channel and also present a primetime evening show for it.

Before this, in October 2019, he joined ‘Times Radio’ to host the station’s drive programme for a couple of weeks.

Additionally, he is the chairman and joint owner of World Media Rights which focuses on making factual and historical TV documentaries for the global market.

Awards & Achievements

In 2013, the Political Studies Association of Britain gave him Journalist of the Year award.

A couple of years later, in 2015, he was listed amongst UK’s 500 most influential people by Debrett’s.

Andrew Neil has been awarded the fellowship of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).

He is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Napier University (Edinburgh) and the University of Paisley.

Between 1999 and 2002, he was made Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews. Following this, he became Doctor of Laws of the university.

Family & Personal Life

Andrew Neil wedded a Swedish communications director, Susan Nilsson, in August 2015. He has no children of his own but has numerous godchildren.

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