Donal MacIntyre: Wikis


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This page is about the television journalist. For others of similar name see Donald MacIntyre

Donald MacIntyre
Born Dónald MacIntyre
25 January 1966 (age 44)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Ameera De La Rosa
Children Allegra McIntyre(5)and Tiger Willow McIntyre (18 April 2007)
Notable credit(s) World In Action
MacIntyre Undercover
Street Crime Live
Official website

Donald MacIntyre (born 25 January 1966 in Dublin), is an Irish investigative journalist, specialising in hard hitting investigations, undercover operations and television exposes. He has won praise for his courage, and campaigning zeal particularly his consistent work in the area of care homes for the elderly and the learning disabled. He has won awards in the UK, France, Spain and Ireland for his work, but the machismo of his style has also brought some detractors, from traditional journalists and among some people whose activities he had revealed.

The risks of repeatedly going undercover have meant that MacIntyre has increasingly turned to presenting on films where his colleagues have undertaken the undercover work. He has also branched out into more traditional presenting roles, on weather phenomena and wildlife documentaries on BBC TV and Five. In 2007 he directed the Sundance Film Festival premiered A Very British Gangster. From April 2010, MacIntyre will be employed by ITN.




Early life

Born on 25 January 1966 in Dublin, Ireland as one of a pair of twin brothers, his father Tom is an Irish writer and his American mother is on the Irish film board. One of five children, the family were brought up by their mother in Celbridge Co. Kildare, after his father left in 1970. His elder brother Darragh is a reporter for BBC's Panorama, while his brother Tadhg and sister Deirdre are both psychologists.

MacIntyre was an active sportsman, playing rugby union and representing Ireland in canoeing at the World Championships, where his highest world ranking was 11th. He raced around the globe from Australia to Portugal, and won many Irish and British titles at various levels. He was also a member of two Irish Olympic training squads but failed to make the games because, in his own words he "simply wasn't quick enough".

MacIntyre was educated in Dublin and London, and completed a Masters degree in Communication Policy at City University, London.[1]

Newspaper journalist

After graduation he worked as a newspaper reporter for The Sunday Tribune and later with The Irish Press in Dublin, covering finance, sports and news. He undertook his first investigative reporting into the Law Society investigating allegations of restrictive practises. He then wrote similar investigative articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Express and the New Statesman.[1]


MacIntyre started his television career at the BBC on the investigative sports strand On-The-Line in 1993. In the wake of the Lyme Regis canoeing disaster in which four school children drowned, his canoeing experience made him the natural choice to investigate the incident and the safety culture that had allowed it. He went under cover as an Adventure Sports Instructor to expose the lack of employment standards in the industry.

This investigation led to the development of MacIntyre's distinctive investigative reporting style, which he explained as being present for the story, rather than merely reporting accounts of it:[2]

I think print can be very reactive. It just means getting on the end of a phone and getting a quote. For TV it doesn't happen unless it's filmed and that means you have to be there. Our particular brand is called Show Me television - we don't tell you, we show you.

After shooting other documentaries for the BBC including Taking Liberties, he moved to ITV to work for the acclaimed World In Action series. MacIntyre received two RTS journalism awards for his 1996 investigations for World In Action into the links between drug dealers and the private security firms who control night-club doors. MacIntyre lived for 11 months in character, adopting a new name and identity to win the confidence of the criminals he wanted to film.


Given his own series MacIntyre Undercover on BBC One, the series was first shown from late 1999 but had been in production for two years. The series covered his exploits among a gang of football hooligans, the Chelsea Headhunters; in care homes for vulnerable people; and in the world of model agencies received widespread publicity. It proved to a major hit and was to transform investigative journalism on television subsequently, by forcing more traditional programmes to improve production values to attract a younger audience.

In 2000, Jason Marriner, a member of the Chelsea Headhunters was sentenced to six years in prison for his part in organizing a fight with supporters of a rival team, based on evidence captured by Donal MacIntyre and his team. MacIntyre was placed under Police protection during the trial. It was the first significant victory against the hooligan fraternity since the flawed attempts at undercover by the Police ten years previously, in the ill-fated own goal trials. MacIntyre also secured convictions against members of Combat 18 who were later to daub his car with their insignia and force the reporter to move home.

MacIntyre's expose of conditions inside a Kent care home resulted in the closure of one institution and the cautioning of two people for five offences of assault. The Sunday Telegraph subsequently claimed that the programme had been unfairly edited, quoting members of the Kent Police who had investigated the home in the aftermath of MacIntyre's programme. The Kent force subsequently admitted they had libeled the reporter, withdrawing their criticism and paying him costs and damages. MacIntyre has used this case to campaign for MENCAP and Action Against Elder Abuse. He has made three more programmes on this issue since his controversial hit show on BBC1.

Towards the end of his second series of MacIntyre Investigates for the BBC, he came under more open criticism from internal sources. The three programs were suggested to have cost as much as £250,000, while an episode of Panorama by contrast typically costed £100,000–150,000. In return, BBC1's then controller Lorraine Heggessey expected MacIntyre Investigates to deliver the ratings, a pressure that other investigative journalists believed undermined its editorial integrity.[3]


The risks of repeatedly going undercover have meant that MacIntyre has increasingly turned to presenting on films where his colleagues have undertaken the undercover work.

MacIntyre joined Five at the start of 2003, where his work has won further praise and awards, particularly for his Underworld Strand which has put some of the UK's most feared criminals under the spotlight. Unable due to his fame to go undercover, MacIntyre decided to get close to the very criminals he once exposed covertly, resulting in 13 programmes. MacIntyre later presented Street Crime Live.

In 2007, MacIntyre set out to create a documentary because he wanted to "do a Michael Moore for gangsters," in penetrating a world of super-rich villains who enjoy a life of luxury with no legitimate means of support: "It was interesting to make a 180-degree turn from my covert-reporting heritage and have full access. I wanted to build a bond."[4] The resulting production became a film with the title A Very British Gangster which centred around the life of Manchester based gangster and hit man Dominic Noonan, whose brother Desmond Noonan was stabbed to death during filming. MacIntyre intends to make more such films, focusing on other high-net-worth criminals, and has since directed the award winning anti-smoking commercials for the SMOKE IS POISON campaign. This series included the banned Polonium commercial that the British Government banned out of sensitivity to the family of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko who was killed using the substance.

From April 6, 2008[5] MacIntyre has presented a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Five.[6]

MacIntyre is a keen sportsman and has represented Ireland at Championship level in canoeing with a top world ranking of 11. He has used this background to branch out into adventure and travel presenting. His Wild Weather series for the BBC has been broadcast around the world and his recent series Edge of Existence for Five saw him live with tribes around the world from the Sea Gypsies of Borneo to the Insect Tribe of Papua New Guinea. He brought the Insect Tribe back to live with his family in London for 'Return of the Tribe' for Five which was regarded as a sensitive and charming experiment in reverse anthropology.[citation needed]

In 2008 MacIntyre produced documentary CCTV Cities, which featured CCTV operators monitoring disturbances in Leeds, London, Wigan and Edinburgh.

2009 onwards

On 5 January 2009, it was announced on This Morning that Donal will be taking part in the new series of Dancing On Ice. He found himself in the bottom 2 on the 1st week and was saved by the judges. As the weeks went on he built up more confidence and had been the most improved skater of the series causing him to become extremely popular with the public. He ended up in the final along with Jessica Taylor and Ray Quinn. In the final he went through the final 2 knocking Jessica out of the competition and performed the Bolero and battled it out with Quinn. Donal took 2nd place which was a "huge shock" to him as he was one of the least known celebrities on the show and his improvement caused him to receive overwhelming support from the public.

In June 2009, both himself and his wife, Ameera De La Rosa, who has a brain tumour, were both beaten up viciously whilst at the Cloud 9 wine bar in Hampton Court. This was a revenge attack, linked to the famous prosecution of Jason Marriner and other Chelsea hooligans in the 1999 documentary.[7]

On 17 March 2010, it was announced that MacIntyre will join ITN and become co-presenter of London Tonight from 6 April 2010.[8]

Personal life

In July 2006 Donal married Ameera de la Rosa at Slane Castle in Ireland. They have two children, Allegra (5) and Tiger (2).

MacIntyre is an avid mountain climber.


External links


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