Jonathan B. Sopel (born 22 May 1959 in London, England) is a British television presenter and correspondent for the BBC's international television news channel, BBC World News, currently serving as the North America Editor for the BBC. He was previously chief political correspondent for the formerly-named domestic news channel BBC News 24, a presenter on the Politics Show on BBC One and the BBC News channel; and from 2013 to 2014, the main presenter on Global, on BBC World News.
Jonathan B. Sopel
22 May 1959
|Education||Christ's College, Finchley|
|Alma mater||University of Southampton|
|Occupation||News editor, television producer, newsreader|
|BBC News |
The Campaign Show (2010 UK Election)
BBC World News
|Title||North America Editor of BBC News (2014–present)|
Born in 1959 to parents Myer and Miriam Sopel, he was educated at Christ's College, Finchley in north London before graduating with a 2:1 honours degree in politics from Southampton University. Sopel was the President of the Students' Union, for the National Organisation of Labour Students during 1982 and 1983.
Sopel was a freelance writer and broadcaster before joining the BBC in 1983 as a reporter and producer for BBC Radio Solent. He went on to become the chief political correspondent for BBC News 24 and later spent three years as the BBC's Paris correspondent. Stories he covered while he was in Paris included the French ban on the importation of British beef, the millennium celebrations in Paris, the oil spill in Brittany, the French presidency of the EU in 2000 and the Concorde crash in July 2000. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Sopel was the BBC's correspondent in Kuwait City.
In 2005, Sopel joined The Politics Show on BBC One replacing Jeremy Vine as the programme's main presenter. It broadcast every Sunday at noon and Sopel interviewed key politicians and advisers, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, opposition leader David Cameron, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The show ended in December 2011 and was replaced by Sunday Politics in January 2012.
Sopel has also co-presented the BBC News Channel on weekday afternoons between 2 pm and 5 pm – alongside Louise Minchin each Tuesday to Thursday and alongside Emily Maitlis on Mondays – following his appointment as a presenter on the channel in 2003.
During major political stories, such as elections, Sopel reported on location for the BBC News Channel and BBC News at One. He made occasional appearances on BBC One news bulletins as a relief anchor. In his 16 years with the BBC, he has appeared on PM on Radio Four, Breakfast News, BBC News at One, BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten as well as fronting BBC Two's annual coverage of the UK political party conferences, Conference Live. He has also been an occasional stand-in presenter for Newsnight, and has made past appearances on Breakfast, HARDtalk and The Daily Politics.
In January 2014, Sopel had a rare interview with the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At the end of the following April, Sopel was appointed the BBC's North America Editor, after his predecessor Mark Mardell became a presenter for BBC Radio 4.
The 2007 edition of Who's Who listed Sopel's hobbies as golf, travel and watching football. He is also an ambassador for The Prince's Trust. He met his wife Linda Twissell while working at Radio Solent; the couple have a son and daughter and live in Washington DC.[clarification needed]
On 20 October 2010, Sopel broke his hip when he crashed his motor scooter on fallen leaves whilst on his way to Westminster to cover BBC's announcement of government spending cuts. He failed to realise the full extent of his injury until after he had completed his journey, and subsequently required surgery.
In 2007, Sopel was voted Political Journalist of the Year by the Public Affairs Industry.
Sopel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Southampton in 2011.
- G.R.O. Births Index, Hammersmith April–June 1959, Volume 5c Page 1107
- Who's Who 2008
- Rubinstein, William D.; Jolles, Michael; Rubinstein, Hilary L. (22 February 2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781403939104.
- "BBC North America Editor Jon Sopel on the role Hampshire has played in his career". Hampshire.
- News to bear the brunt of BBC cuts that bite across the board | Media. The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Presenter Jon Sopel to join BBC World News". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Mark Sweney "BBC appoints Jon Sopel as North America editor", The Guardian, 29 April 2014
- Jon Sopel "Skipping breakfast saved my hip: BBC reporter Jon Sopel on the day disaster struck", Daily Mail 6 November 2010
- "BBC newsreader Jon Sopel breaks hip in scooter crash", BBC News, 21 October 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010
- coverage of UK and EU lobbying jobs and news. Public Affairs News. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- RTS Announces Winners for Television Journalism Awards 2012/2013 – Press Release | Royal Television Society Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Rts.org.uk (20 February 2014). Retrieved 24 August 2014.