Ian Hislop: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ian Hislop

Hislop in 2009
Born Ian David Hislop
13 July 1960 (1960-07-13) (age 49)
Mumbles, Swansea, Wales
Residence Sissinghurst, Kent, UK
Nationality British
Education English literature
Alma mater Ardingly College
Magdalen College, Oxford
Occupation Magazine editor, screenwriter, journalist, comedian, comedy writer
Employer Pressdram Ltd Private Eye
Known for Work on Private Eye & Have I Got News For You
Spouse(s) Victoria Hislop (m. 1988–present) «start: (1988)»"Marriage: Victoria Hislop to Ian Hislop" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Hislop)
Children Emily (b.1990), William (b.1993)

Ian David Hislop (born 13 July 1960) is a British satirist, writer, broadcaster and editor of the magazine Private Eye. He has appeared on many radio and television programmes, most notably as a team captain on the BBC current affairs quiz Have I Got News for You.


Early life

Hislop was born in Mumbles, Swansea in Wales, to a Scottish father, David, and a Channel Islander mother, Helen, of English descent.[1] When he was five months old, his family began to travel around the world because of his father's job as a civil engineer.[1] During his infant years, Hislop lived in Nigeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. On his return to the United Kingdom, he was educated at Ardingly College, an independent boarding school, where he began his satirical career directing and appearing in revues alongside Nick Newman, and became Head Boy. Hislop and Newman's association continued when they went to Oxford, and they later worked together at Private Eye and on a number of comedy scriptwriting jobs. In a 2009 interview with Mark Lawson, Hislop revealed that he applied to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, but changed to English Literature before going up. He graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford with a degree in English literature in 1981.



When Hislop was 12 years old his father, David Hislop, died; his mother also died when he was quite young.[1] His mother was born in Jersey and left in her late teens.[1] Hislop did not know his grandparents.[1]

Hislop's paternal grandfather, David Murdoch Hislop, died just before Hislop was born.[1] He was Scottish and became a deacon at a Presbyterian church and a school headteacher at Newton Academy in Ayr. In the First World War, he fought in Northern France with the 9th Highland Light Infantry.[1]

Hislop's maternal grandfather, William Beddows, was originally from Lancashire.[1] He joined the army in 1895 and fought in the Second Boer War with the Royal Lancashire Regiment in major campaigns including the Battle of Spion Kop.[1] He moved to Jersey to serve as a sergeant having signed up in 1906 for another ten years in the army.[1]


Private Eye

At Oxford he founded and edited the magazine Passing Wind, for which he interviewed Richard Ingrams, who was then editor of Private Eye. Hislop joined the publication immediately after leaving Oxford, and became editor in 1986, upon Ingrams' departure. It was revealed in an interview with The Independent that this was despite opposition from Eye hacks Peter McKay and Nigel Dempster, with the former taking the magazine's majority shareholder, Peter Cook, out for lunch in an attempt to dissuade him from appointing Hislop. However, Cook pressed on, and his new editor sacked both McKay and Dempster from the magazine without hesitation.

As editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop is the most sued man in English legal history,[2] although he is not involved in as many libel actions as he once was.[3] The most famous libel case involving Hislop and Private Eye was brought by the publishing magnate Robert Maxwell. After the case he quipped: "I've just given a fat cheque to a fat Czech". However, the magazine's attacks on Maxwell were fully vindicated by the revelations of massive fraud that followed his death. On another occasion, when ordered to pay £600,000 in damages after being sued for libel by Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, Hislop told reporters waiting outside the High Court, "If that was justice then I'm a banana."[4] The award was, however, dropped to £60,000 on appeal. In his many court cases, Hislop has won only twice.[5]

Hislop continues to be applauded for his wit and satire. In an interview with Third Way Magazine he said, "Satire is the bringing to ridicule of vice, folly and humbug. All the negatives imply a set of positives. Certainly in this country, you only go round saying, ‘That’s wrong, that’s corrupt’ if you have some feeling that it should be better than that. People say, ‘You satirists attack everything.’ Well, we don’t, actually. That’s the whole point."[6]

Have I Got News for You

Hislop is the only person to have appeared in every episode of Have I Got News for You's twenty year history, even filming an episode in the seventh series in spite of suffering from appendicitis (he had discharged himself from hospital immediately before the show).[7] His satirical views and broad knowledge of politics complement the wry surrealism of fellow panellist Paul Merton, and this interaction contributes greatly to the success of the show.

With the exception of one episode, where Hislop and Merton swapped places and dress styles for comic effect, he has only ever sat in the near left seat from the audience's point of view.

Other television and radio work

Hislop's television debut was on the short lived Channel 4 chat show Loose Talk in 1983, an experience which so traumatised him he included it on his list of most hated items when he first appeared on the BBC show Room 101. Hislop was also a screenwriter on the 1980s political satire series Spitting Image, in which puppets were used to depict well-known figures, mostly politicians. He even had a puppet of himself, which appeared as a background character in certain sketches.

Along with Nick Newman, Hislop wrote the BBC Radio 4 series Gush, a satire based on the first Gulf War, in the style of Jeffrey Archer. With Newman, he also wrote the family-friendly satirical sitcom My Dad's the Prime Minister and in the early nineties for the Dawn French vehicle Murder Most Horrid. Hislop and Newman have written a Radio 4 series, The News At Bedtime, to be aired over the 2009 Christmas season. The series stars Jack Dee as 'John Tweedledum' and Peter Capaldi as 'Jim Tweedledee'; the two present the "news of the day" in the world of fairy tales, while arguing with each other as did their namesakes.[8]

Hislop has also presented serious television programmes. These include School Rules, a three-part Channel 4 study on the history of British education; an edition of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, in which he attempted to trace his genealogy and Not Forgotten, a four-part series on Channel 4 detailing the lives of numerous individuals lost in the First World War. A further programme, Not Forgotten: Shot at Dawn, was broadcast in January 2007, and a sixth episode, Not Forgotten: The Men Who Wouldn't Fight, aired on 10 November 2008. He also presented one episode of the BBC's Great Railway Journeys, in which he travelled in India ["India East to West" from Calcutta to Rajasthan]. In May 2007 he presented a programme on BBC Four, Ian Hislop's Scouting for Boys, celebrating Robert Baden-Powell's book that inspired the Scout movement. Another BBC Four programme, Ian Hislop Goes Off the Rails, about the Beeching Report and its impact on the British railway network, was first aired on 2 October 2008, and achieved the second highest audience to date for any BBC Four programme (and the highest for a documentary) with 1.3 million viewers.[9]

Ian Hislop chats to a resident at Nightingle House, London.

He has also written and presented factual programmes for Radio 4 about such subjects as tax rebellions, female hymn composers, scouting and patron saints of Britain and Ireland[10]. In 2007 he became the only person to make a second guest appearance on Room 101. He has also been a comedy screenwriter for Harry Enfield.[11]

In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.[12] He has also appeared in a number of Question Time editions (11 as of September 2008).[13] In one he made an open attack on Jeffrey Archer, who had been imprisoned for perjury, when his wife, Mary Archer, was a fellow panellist. She was noticeably angry that the matter had been raised and harangued Hislop after the recording had finished.

Hislop has presented several programmes for BBC 4, dealing with topics such as Boy Scouts, the Beeching Axe and the role of the Poet Laureate. The latter, Ian Hislop's Changing of the Bard, launched the May 2009 BBC 4 Poetry season, and Hislop recounted the history of the post from the first - official - holder, John Dryden, to the then recently announced first female, first Scot and first openly bisexual laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

He also enjoys a career as an after dinner speaker and awards presenter working for several speaker bureaux.

Personal life

Ian married bestselling novelist Victoria Hislop, author of The Island, on 16 April 1988 in Oxford. They have two children, both born in Wandsworth, London: Emily Helen (born 1990) and William David (born 1993).[14] They live in Sissinghurst, Kent.[15]

Religious views

In Caroline Chartres' book Why I Am Still an Anglican, Hislop opens his chapter by saying "I've tried atheism and I can't stick at it: I keep having doubts. That probably sums up my position."[16] In 1996 he presented an award-winning documentary series for Channel 4 about the history of the Church of England, called Canterbury Tales. Recent works include the Radio 4 series The Real Patron Saints.

On 4 September 2009, Hislop appeared at Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams's "The Gathering" at Canterbury Cathedral to discuss religion, society, and journalism among other issues before a crowd of about 1,000.[17][18]

Political views

Hislop has been highly critical of all major British political parties for over 20 years. Appearing on Question Time on 18 September 2008 he praised Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable for his analysis of the ongoing economic and financial crisis, apparently expressing support for the Liberal Democrats, jocularly stating "I'm standing for them".[19] In a 2009 "Five minutes with" interview with Matthew Stadlen for BBC News he stated that if he were required, "at the point of a gun", to stand in an election for any UK political party, he would stand for the fictional "Vince Cable for Treasurer Party".[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Who Do You Think You Are? with Ian Hislop". Who Do You Think You Are?. BBC. BBC Two. 2004-11-09.
  2. ^ Byrne, Ciar (2006-10-23). "Ian Hislop: My 20 years at the Eye". The Independent. http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article1919416.ece. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  3. ^ "60 Seconds: Ian Hislop". Metro (Associated Metro Limited). 2006-12-06. http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?in_article_id=27795&in_page_id=11. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  4. ^ "On this day 24 May 1989: Yorkshire Ripper's wife wins damages". BBC News. 1989-05-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/24/newsid_2503000/2503595.stm. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  5. ^ . Metro (Associated Metro Limited). 2009-06-06. http://www.private-eye.co.uk/news.php. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  6. ^ Third Way: interview (16 January 1995)
  7. ^ BBC News: Five minutes with Ian Hislop
  8. ^ "The News At Bedtime". British Comedy Guide. http://www.comedy.org.uk/guide/radio/the_news_at_bedtime/. 
  9. ^ Overnight ratings for 2 October 2008 from The Guardian, 3 October 2008
  10. ^ Radio 4 program on patron saint of Britain and Ireland
  11. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/you-ask-the-questions-such-as-ian-hislop-you-look-like-a-gnome-why-do-people-find-you-sexy-717546.html
  12. ^ "The A-Z of laughter (part one)". The Observer. 2003-12-07. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,1101477,00.html. Retrieved 2006-12-17. 
  13. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Ian Hislop". IMBd. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0386810/filmoseries#tt0267212. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  14. ^ Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  15. ^ "Victoria Hislop's Kent favourites". BBC Kent. 2009-11-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/kent/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8342000/8342680.stm. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Chartres, Caroline (2006). Why I Am Still an Anglican: Essays and Conversations. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 99. ISBN 978-0826481436
  17. ^ Creswell, Matt (2009-09-02). "Archbishop to debate with Private Eye editor". Religious Intelligence. http://www.religiousintelligence.co.uk/news/?NewsID=4958. 
  18. ^ Beavan, Ed (2009-09-11). "Door is closing on Church's foot, says Williams". Church Times. http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=81265. 
  19. ^ Question Time. BBC. 2008-09-18.
  20. ^ Five minutes With Ian Hislop

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Richard Ingrams
Editor of Private Eye
1986 - present
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ian Hislop (born 1960) is the editor and part-owner of British satirical magazine Private Eye.


  • Boris Johnson, people always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is Boris a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'
  • If this is justice, then I'm a banana!"

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address