Nicky Campbell

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Nicky Campbell

Nicky Campbell presenting the Radio 1 Roadshow from Helensburgh in July 1989
Born(1961-04-10) 10 April 1961 (age 51)
Edinburgh, Scotland
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Nicky Campbell

Nicky Campbell presenting the Radio 1 Roadshow from Helensburgh in July 1989
Born(1961-04-10) 10 April 1961 (age 51)
Edinburgh, Scotland

Nicholas Andrew Argyll "Nicky" Campbell (born 10 April 1961) is a Scottish radio and television presenter and journalist. He is known for his time presenting on programmes such as the consumer affairs programme Watchdog. He also presented the gameshow Wheel of Fortune from 1988 to 1996 and currently presents both the BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast programme and BBC One's flagship faith and ethics show The Big Questions.


Life and career

Campbell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was adopted as a four-day old baby, and was educated at the independent school Edinburgh Academy. Its former pupils include Robert Louis Stevenson and Magnús Magnússon. His adoptive mother was a psychiatric social worker and his adoptive father a publisher of maps.

After graduating from the University of Aberdeen with a 2:1 in history, he toyed with ideas of becoming an actor and got involved in commercial production for radio in order to gain his Equity card. At university, his best friend had been the actor Iain Glen. He worked at Northsound Radio in Aberdeen from 1981 to 1985, first as a jingle writer, before going on to host the breakfast show.

He worked at London station Capital Radio from 1986–87 and joined BBC Radio 1 in 1987, presenting a Saturday night show from 10pm-midnight. In early 1988, he took over the weekend early morning show from 6-8am from Simon Mayo and in October 1988 he presented the Monday-Thursday late-evening music and interview show which he named Into the Night, which went out from 10pm-midnight. Guests included political figures, with Campbell interviewing John Major in 1991 after Conservative Party chairman Chris Patten recommended the show to the Prime Minister when Radio 1 sent an invitation to No.10. He was also regularly joined by Frankie Howerd in the last years of the comedian's life. In August 1993, he also took over a Sunday morning show from 10am-1pm, following the on-air resignation of Dave Lee Travis.

Campbell left the network briefly in October 1993 to care for his sick wife. In early 1994, he took over the weekday drivetime show from 4-7pm, and in 1995 he took over the afternoon show from 2-4pm. Campbell attracted a large audience, and when Radio 2 wanted a replacement for Jimmy Young, he revealed that he was the BBC's choice and detailed a series of meetings between himself and the controller of Radio 2. However, the BBC later claimed that Campbell had initiated the meetings himself, and his public revelations prompted the wrath of Greg Dyke.[1]

Campbell presented the British version (produced by Scottish Television for the ITV network) of Wheel of Fortune from 1988 to 1996, and presented Top of the Pops regularly from 1988 to 1991 and again from 1994 to 1997. In the 1990s Campbell fronted the regional discussion series Central Weekend on Central Television in the English Midlands and Carlton Live in London with Richard Littlejohn and then Andrew Neil.

Campbell left BBC Radio 1 in October 1997 and joined the news and sport network BBC Radio 5 Live, when offered the job by Roger Mosey the station's head. He presented the mid-morning programme on 5 Live for over 5 years before replacing Julian Worricker in the breakfast slot in January 2003, co-presenting initially with Victoria Derbyshire. From 2004 to 2011 he co-presented the programme with Shelagh Fogarty. In May 2011, Shelagh Fogarty left the breakfast show and was replaced by Rachel Burden.[2] Nicky joins the programme an hour later than Rachel and continues on his own for an hour at the end when the show becomes a topical events phone-in. He also presented BBC consumer show Watchdog and an interactive programme called Now You're Talking. Campbell has won seven Sony Awards, including a Gold Award in 2007 for the 5 Live Breakfast programme as Best News and Current Affairs Programme [with Shelagh Fogarty]. In 2008 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

In 2006, Campbell appeared in the celebrity duet singing show Just the Two of Us, with Beverley Knight. Currently he fronts For the Rest of Your Life for Endemol, a daytime game show on ITV1 which began in May 2007. Campbell featured in the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? aired 11 July 2007 where he is seen tracing his adoptive family's roots in Scotland and Australia. He is Patron of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). He currently presents the Sunday morning programme The Big Questions on BBC One. He is also host of the BBC Two quiz show Battle of the Brains, replacing the previous host Paddy O'Connell.

In May 2009 it was revealed that Anne Robinson would replace Campbell and Julia Bradbury for the new series of Watchdog, which returned to the BBC on 10 September. Campbell is currently presenting Long Lost Family on ITV1 with Davina McCall.


Campbell met his first wife Linda Larnach, who was eight years older than he was, in Scotland. He later nursed her through a cancer scare and ME, and took time out from his career. He was then criticised when he broke up with her and she gave interviews in which she said his career break had been a publicity stunt.[1][3]

Campbell married his second wife, journalist Tina (Christina) Ritchie who is the former head of Virgin Radio News,[4] in December 1997 in Kensington, and the couple have four daughters (born December 1998, June 2000, January 2002 and June 2004). In 1989 during his first marriage, he had traced his birth mother and after having children of his own with Ritchie, Campbell decided to find his Irish biological father in 2002. Whereas his birth mother was from a Dublin Protestant family his biological father was a Northern Irish Catholic thirteen years younger than her. He also discovered that his grandfather had been in the IRA at the time of Michael Collins, and his biological father had spent time in the fifties in the IRA and still cleaved to his Republican beliefs. His cousin had also both been in the IRA. Anthony Hughes was killed by British troops in Armagh in 1973. In 2004 Campbell wrote Blue-Eyed Son [Story of an Adoption], his account of being adopted and tracing both his birth parents and his extended families in Ireland in which he also confesses to adultery against his first wife in a Holiday Inn in Birmingham. Both sides of his birth families helped with and contributed to the book. His birth mother Stella died in 2007. Campbell spoke at her Dublin funeral. As a result of his book and work in adoption, he was asked to become Patron of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

In popular culture

Campbell has been impersonated and parodied by impressionist Alistair McGowan.[5] In impersonating Campbell he exaggerated his Scottish accent and consistently came up with the lines "I'm Nicky Campbell, two l's. Don't mess with my name".


Nicky Campbell started out as a jingle writer and when he was on Radio One [1987-1997] he wrote a lot of music for the station. He has written and co-produced a critically praised jazz swing album for the singer and actor Mark Moraghan, 'Moonlight's Back in Style', which was released on Linn Records in September 2009. Campbell and Moraghan met on the BBC celebrity singing competition in 2006. A mini documentary about the project, 'Makin Moonlight' is available on YouTube. Nicky Campbell is a company director of Mhor Music Ltd., an original music company producing bespoke and original music for feature film, television, corporate media, online content and ringtones; and Mhor Productions Ltd., a supplier of radio and television programming and broadcasting activities.


External links

Preceded by
Host of Wheel of Fortune
Succeeded by
Bradley Walsh
Academic offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Parsons
Rector of the University of St Andrews
1991 - 1993
Succeeded by
Donald Findlay