Martin Bell OBE is one of the best-known and most highly regarded names in British television journalism.
As a BBC reporter, he has covered foreign assignments in more than 90 countries and eleven wars.
In 1997 Martin Bell became the first Independent MP to be elected to Parliament since 1950. He has since campaigned tirelessly for trust and transparency in British politics.
Born in Redisham, Suffolk on 31st August 1938, Martin was educated at The Leys School Cambridge and King’s College Cambridge where he graduated with a 1st Class honours degree in English.
In 1962, Martin joined the BBC as a News Assistant in Norwich. In 1964 he transferred to the BBC in London as a general reporter.
Over the next three decades, he reported from 90 countries and covered eleven wars from Biafra to Bosnia and Vietnam to El Salvador.
In 1992, whilst covering the war in Bosnia, Martin was seriously wounded by mortar fire in Sarajevo.
Martin Bell was awarded the Royal Television Society’s Reporter of the Year Award in 1977 and 1993.
Furthermore, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1992.
Martin left the BBC in April 1997 to stand as an Independent against the MP for Tatton Neil Hamilton. Bell won with an 11,000 vote majority, the first elected Independent since 1951.
Martin also served on the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges.
After announcing his retirement from politics in 2001, he reversed his decision in 2004 and stood for election as an Independent candidate in the Eastern Region for the European Parliament.
He made a brief return to television news in 2003 when he provided analysis of the Iraq invasion for ITN’s Channel Five News.
In 2001, Bell was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies. Assignments for UNICEF have included Tajikistan, Burundi, Kosovo, Malawi, Iraq, DRC, Darfur Afghanistan and Somalia.
Often referred to as “the man in the white suit“, Martin is also a best-selling author.
His books include:
- In Harm’s Way
- An Accidental MP
- Through Gates of Fire
- The Truth That Sticks
- A Very British Revolution
- War and the Death of News
Martin is available as after-dinner speaker, providing anecdotes from his Political and Broadcasting career.