John Sergeant Profile

One of the foremost journalists and political experts Britain's ever produced; John Sergeant is not a man to mess with. Unless you're Margaret Thatcher of course.

John Sergeant

John Sergeant's been rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers in the world of politics for decades, not to mention making the news himself on the odd occasion. Having starred with national treasure and former Fringe member Alan Bennett in comedy sketches for the BBC following his studies at Oxford, John was drawn to journalism, cutting his teeth at the Liverpool Echo, before finding his (dancing) feet in the world of entertainment.

Since joining the BBC as a journalist in 1970, John has seen the best and worst of global events, conflicts, scandals and intrigues (and that was all just from hanging out around outside Christopher Biggins' house), usually at the very sharp end, ranging from the war in Vietnam to the troubles in Northern Ireland. A well respected writer and speaker, John found himself rising up the ranks, becoming the Beeb's Chief Political Correspondent in 1992.

You'd think that all those years of watching people lie, cheat and con would have blunted John's sense of humour somewhat but, as his guest spot presenting Have I Got News For You showed, John's wit is still every bit as sharp as his pen.

However frightening it must be finding yourself in a war-torn country ducking shrapnel and sheltering from missiles, nothing can really prepare any man for a face-off with Britain's Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. What Maggie's handbag didn't know was that it was playing a part in one of the most iconic pieces of journalism ever televised, and that John was the one who came away smelling of roses by pipping Gazza's tears to the top of a poll of the British Press Guild's most memorable broadcasts in 1990.

If ever there was a renaissance man it's John, having decided that for all the investigative journalism and satire there was a samba shaped hole in his CV. His stint on the mammoth hit Strictly Come Dancing has not only solved that problem, it's also proved that there is literally no end to his talent and that he's more than ready to face the music, and dance. Although, judging by the way he pulled his partner around the floor, his training for the show entailed little more than giving his living room a good going over with a Dyson. We're just saying...

Having been through the mill throughout his political career, John's wit and undoubted air of authority made him the perfect choice to host Argumental, where his diplomacy skills are sternly tested as he tries to keep a rein on Rufus Hound, Marcus Brigstocke and their array of comedy debaters. But then, he's well used to conflict, so even the most fractious of squabbles won't phase this intrepid newsman. No one will be able to outgun him with wordplay either, as John has added Countdown's Dictionary Corner to the long list of locations where he's popped up in the name of entertainment.

Taking to writing once more, Sergeant penned his autobiography, Give Me Ten Seconds, which saw him in serious journo mode again. With a history of achievements as vast as Sergeant's, we imagine he could achieve quite a lot in ten seconds if given the chance – world peace, a Nobel Prize, a date with the entire cast of Happy Days. Why the heck not? Like peanut butter and jam (or jelly to our American readers) spread over seeded toast, Sergeant is one odd combination of serious political journalist and comedy panel funnyman that somehow manages to work. Sergeant, we salute you.

Friends of Dave