Well-known veteran news correspondent & presenter
Michael Buerk: Biography highlights
An award winning broadcast journalist and presenter whose candid approach has earned him international acclaim.
Full biography of Michael Buerk
Michael Buerk has won many international awards for television reporting, most notably for his coverage of the Ethiopian famine for BBC News in 1984/5. His reports filmed with the Nairobi-based cameraman, Mohamed Amin alerted the world to the extent of the tragedy. They were shown worldwide, to an audience of billions. They led directly to a massive international relief effort itself valued in billions of dollars, which was estimated to have saved well over a million lives.
He was named “Television Journalist of the Year” by the Royal Television Society in 1984 and won a second RTS award that year for foreign reporting. He has won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for factual broadcasting. He has been awarded the “Golden Nymph” at the Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival Europe’s premier prize for television journalism and the United States “National Headliner” and “George Polk” awards, two of the three most important honours there for broadcasters.
In 1988 he was the third recipient of the James Cameron Memorial award, given for “work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity” in his coverage of the township uprising and state of emergency in South Africa.
He has reported for BBC TV News since 1973. He was a network reporter from 1973-1976, industrial correspondent (1976/7), Energy Correspondent (1977/9), Scotland Correspondent (1979/80), Special Correspondent (1980/2), Southern Africa Correspondent (1983/7).
He presented BBC Television’s flagship news programme, The Ten O’clock News and he also presented the peak-time BBC 1 programme about emergencies, 999.
He is chairman of the BBC’s discussion programme on moral and ethical issues The Moral Maze(BBC Radio 4). He has also presented The Choice for Radio 4, a single interview programme about individual dilemmas.
In recent years Michael has presented the daytime series Royal Recipes for BBC One and several other major series including Britain’s Secret Treasures and Pompeii with Michael Buerk all for ITV and Britain by Boat, two series of How the Victorians Built Britain, The Blitz: Britain on Fire on Channel 5. Michael has reported for several Dispatches documentaries and also presented the one-off Can I Improve My Memory? for Channel 4.
Michael chairs, presents, reports for and contributes to many other television and radio programmes, mostly for the BBC. These have included major events such as the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, the Solar Eclipse in 1999 and the BBC’s Millennium night coverage; BBC One’s Tobacco Wars, Soul of Britain and the three-part series The Hand of God in 2003. In 2005 he presented What Are Men For? as part of the Don’t Get Me Started series on Channel 5. He narrated the popular Sky One series Pineapple Dance Studios. He also appeared on reality shows I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here in 2014 and Celebrity 5 Go Barging in 2019.
Michael’s autobiography, The Road Taken, was published by in 2004.
Michael also chairs conferences and seminars and is a highly skilled conference facilitator and after dinner speaker. He has a wealth of experience hosting events and award ceremonies, both at home and abroad.
Watch Michael in action
Michael was incredibly professional and well-received, his anecdotes were light-hearted and relevant to schools' development and the awards were a huge success.'
Annual Consultation event
'Your speech was intensely thought provoking, really bringing home to our members the ethical issues going on around the world.'
BMA Kitchens and Bathrooms Business Conference
'As expected, Michael Buerk was the 'star of the show' and kept our delegates 'glued' with both of his wit and his outlook on the world. His references to the bathroom and kitchen industry were spot on.'
British Medical Association members' event
'The events in Bristol and Glasgow were a great success and Michael was brilliant, as always.'