I usually skip the ‘early years’ chapters when I read a biography, but for the record:
I was born in Swanley in Kent but moved while still very young to East Grinstead in Sussex. I went to Blackwell Primary and then Sackville Comprehensive School. I did well in my O-levels, less well in my A-levels and failed both my S-levels. I was hopeless at sport but pretty good at drama.
I studied PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Hertford College, Oxford. I worked on the student newspaper, Cherwell, and in my vacations for the Birmingham Evening Mail. I was active in the Oxford University Labour Club and disappointed those who believe that you don't get good grades by spending too long in the bar.
I joined the BBC straight from university as a News Trainee and worked there continuously from 1980 to 1998 apart from a year off to travel in 1992/3. I worked for three years in Northern Ireland and was then a national radio and TV reporter, Defence Correspondent and finally a Political Correspondent based at Westminster – a job I did for seven years.
In 1998 I left journalism to join the press office at 10 Downing Street as a special adviser working for Alastair Campbell. In 2000 I became the Labour Party’s Director of Communications and helped plan and then run the 2001 General Election campaign.
Since 2001 I have been a freelance writer, broadcaster and commentator. I also lecture in politics and journalism and can sometimes be persuaded to do some media training.
In 2005 I published two books: The Spin Doctor’s Diary and a novel, Time and Fate.
And in 2010, I published Where Power Lies. In 2011 I founded the Kaleidoscope Trust to help uphold the human rights of LGBT people globally and became its first Executive Director. When I’m not working I am usually travelling. The map below shows how widely. If I’m hard to get hold of it may be because I’m trying to fill in the gaps.