John Suchet

John Aleck Suchet (/ˈsʃ/ SOO-shay; born 29 March 1944) is an English author, newsreader, television presenter and musical host on Classic FM (UK).

John Suchet
John Suchet 2013.jpg
John Suchet in 2013
John Aleck Suchet[1][2]

(1944-03-29) 29 March 1944 (age 76)
EducationUppingham School
Alma materQueen's College, Dundee[3]
OccupationNews anchor, presenter
Years active1967–present
AgentDavid Foster Management
Notable credit(s)
Early Evening News
Spouse(s)Moya Suchet (1968 – 1983, divorced) Bonnie Suchet (1985–2015; her death)
Nula Black (2016–present)
Parent(s)Jack Suchet
RelativesSir David Suchet (brother)
Richard Suchet (nephew)

Suchet has two brothers, one of whom is the actor Sir David Suchet. He is the father of broadcast journalist Rory Suchet and uncle to broadcast journalist Richard Suchet.[4]

Early lifeEdit

Suchet was born in London,[5] the son of Joan Patricia (née Jarché; 1916–1992), an actress, and Jack Suchet, (1908–2001) who emigrated from South Africa to England in 1932, and trained to be a doctor at St Mary's Hospital, London in 1933.[6][5][7] Suchet's father was a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, working with Alexander Fleming on the role of penicillin in treating venereal disease.[7] His maternal grandfather, James Jarché, was a famous Fleet Street photographer, notable for the first pictures of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson and also for his pictures of Louis Blériot (1909) and the Siege of Sidney Street. Suchet's father was of Lithuanian Jewish descent, and his mother was English-born and Anglican (she was of Russian Jewish descent on her own father's side, and of English descent on her mother's side).[8]

Suchet was brought up with his two brothers, Peter and David. He attended Uppingham School, Rutland before studying at Queen's College, Dundee (then a part of the University of St Andrews, now the University of Dundee), graduating in 1965 with a 2:2 in philosophy and political science.[3] He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Dundee in 2000.[9][10] Peter is an advertising executive, and his younger brother, David, is an actor, best known for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot in the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot.[11]


Suchet began his career in journalism in 1967, when he was taken on as a graduate trainee by Reuters news agency. During that year he learned the rudiments of straightforward, unbiased news editing and reporting, under the tutelage of John Fawcus and Anton Wills-Eve.

He was on the Middle East desk at the time of the six days war in June that year, an event that taught him how to edit his copy fast so that it was accurate and acceptable to newspapers in both Israel and the Arab world.

Suchet is most famous for being a newsreader for ITV News from 1972 until 2004. During this time, he presented News at 12.30 / News at One and News at Ten, but became best known for presenting the Early Evening News between late 1991 (when it was introduced to replace the News At 5:40) and 1999 when the bulletin was dropped. Initially, he alternated with Carol Barnes as the regular presenter of the Early Evening News, but by 1994 he had become the sole main host and thereafter replaced predecessors Michael Nicholson and Alastair Stewart as "the face of the evening news".

On the night of 16–17 January 1991, Suchet hosted ITN's all night coverage of the start of the Gulf War. The bulletin was the longest uninterrupted broadcast for ITN news.[12]

He also anchored or contributed to countless special event programmes, including royal occasions (he was one of the main commentators on ITN's coverage of Princess Diana's funeral), the Budget and ITN's election coverage.

He retired from ITN in March 2004 to work on his autobiography[13] then made a return to TV news, presenting Five News, initially for a six-month period from January 2006, then extended to Christmas 2007.

Suchet has also been a guest presenter for ITV's This Morning, as well as being a guest panelist on Five's The Wright Stuff. He hosted the revival of the quiz show Going for Gold on Channel 5 and later Wordplay also on Channel 5.

On 20 February 2008, Suchet along with Alan Johnson were recognised by the Royal Television Society Television Journalism for the achievements throughout their careers. Suchet was recognised for his live coverage of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the undercover reporting in Afghanistan.[14]

In July 2009, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the NASA moon landings, ITN produced five special 10-minute programmes for ITV titled Mission to the Moon – News from 1969. Suchet, a former ITN newscaster, was the presenter of these specials. The first of these aired at 22:35 on ITV on Wednesday 15 July and they ran across the following Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday evenings.

In July 2010, Suchet joined Classic FM as the regular host of the Sunday lunchtime music show (12:00–15:00). He had first appeared on the station in 2004 as guest presenter of the Composer's Notes series in which he examined the finances and wealth of famous composers. In September 2010 it was announced that he would be presenting the Classic FM weekday morning show (9:00–13:00) from January 2011, taking over from the show's previous host Simon Bates.[15] This quickly became Classic FM's most listened-to show, with over 3 million listeners per week.

John Suchet is a fan of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and has become one of the UK's leading experts on Beethoven and his works, publishing five books about the composer including the three-volume biographical novel "The Last Master".[16] His book, The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna, is forthcoming (2016).

Personal lifeEdit

Suchet and his second wife Bonnie had five grown-up sons between them from previous marriages. In 2006, Bonnie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in her early 60s.[11] Suchet appeared on the mainstream ITN / ITV and BBC news bulletins on 17 February 2009 to talk about this, to raise awareness of the disease and to campaign on behalf of Admiral Nurses.[17][18] He explained that Bonnie would have no idea that he was on the news programmes. Bonnie died on 15 April 2015, aged 73.


  • 1997 The Last Master: Passion And Anger – Last Master
  • The Last Master: Passion And Pain: Volume Two of a Fictional Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven. 1998.
  • 1999 The Last Master: Passion And Glory: Volume Three of a Fictional Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven – Last Master
  • 2011 My Bonnie: How dementia stole the love of my life
  • The Treasures of Beethoven. 2012.
  • Beethoven: The Man Revealed. 2012.
  • 2015 The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna – Classic FM
  • 2016 Mozart: The Man Revealed
  • 2017 Verdi: The Man Revealed


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916–2007
  2. ^ "John Aleck SUCHET - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Companies House. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Sale (5 February 1998). "Passed / Failed: JOHN SUCHET". The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ "The generation game". ES Magazine. 27 May 2011. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011.
  5. ^ a b "David Suchet Biography (1946-)". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? - David Suchet - How we did it - Eastern Europe". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b Fraser, A. (24 November 2001). "Jack Suchet". The BMJ. 323 (7323): 1255. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7323.1255. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? - David Suchet - How we did it - Master Mariner". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  9. ^ "John Suchet's biography". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Honorary Degrees : Academic and Corporate Governance : University of Dundee". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ a b Dreaper, Jane (17 February 2009). "Health | Gone from 'a lover to a carer'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ "NEWSFLASH - Breaking News Documentary". YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Suchet joins Five News | Media". The Guardian. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  14. ^ Parker, Robin (21 February 2008). "John Suchet honoured by RTS | News | Broadcast". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  15. ^ Midgley, Neil (27 September 2010). "John Suchet to replace Simon Bates on Classic FM". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  16. ^ Deacon, Michael (7 January 2011). "John Suchet: 'I whistle Wagner in the street'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Grice, Elizabeth (17 February 2009). "John Suchet: 'My Bonnie is gone: it's as if she has died'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2019.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Henry Kelly
Host of Going for Gold
Succeeded by
Series ended
Media offices
Preceded by
Kirsty Young
Main presenter of Five News
Succeeded by
Natasha Kaplinsky