Simon Reeve is a bestselling author and television presenter, with a passion for travel, current affairs, wildlife, history and the environment. He has travelled through more than 120 countries making multiple award-winning TV series for the BBC. They include Mediterranean, Russia, Caribbean, Sacred Rivers, Indian Ocean, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Tropic of Capricorn, Pilgrimage and Australia (Winner of the British Travel Press Award for Broadcast Travel Programme). He has received a One World Broadcasting Trust Award for "an outstanding contribution to greater world understanding" and the prestigious Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society.
Simon has journeyed across epic landscapes, dodged bullets on frontlines, hunted with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari, dived with manta rays, seals and sharks, survived malaria, walked through minefields and been detained for spying by the KGB. His travels have taken him across jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans, and to some of the most beautiful, dangerous and remote regions of the world.
In ‘Step by Step’, his most recent book, Simon gives the full story behind some of his favourite expeditions, and traces his own inspiring personal journey back to leaving school without qualifications, teetering on a bridge, and then overcoming his challenges by climbing to a ‘Lost Valley’ and changing his life…step by step…
“Compelling…From Kyrgyzstan to the Tropic of Cancer, his BBC exploits have shone a light on some of the world’s most forgotten corners. But Simon Reeve’s own journey from troubled teenager to TV star has been every bit as turbulent as his on-screen adventures” – Mail on Sunday
The BBC describes Simon as “British television’s most adventurous traveller”, and after 15 years spent presenting around 100 programmes Simon has become a familiar face on British TV, well known for his extraordinary foreign journeys.
He is the author of Tropic of Capricorn: circling the world on a southern adventure, published by BBC Books, and accompanying a major BBC2 series of the same name written and presented by Simon. The Daily Telegraph said: “like all the best travellers, Reeve carries out his investigations with infectious relish, and in the realisation that trying to understand the country you’re in is not just fascinating, but also hugely enjoyable.”
His other books include:
The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the future of terrorism, which warned of a new age of apocalyptic terrorism. Originally published in 1998 it was the first in the world on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and has been a New York Times bestseller. The Washington Times said it was “a compelling reconstruction”, and “an outstanding account describing a terrible and growing peril”. The Washington Post said it was “painfully relevant”. Ahmed Rashid (bestselling author of the critically-acclaimed Taliban) said it was “truly original investigative work”, noting “Reeve has had unprecedented access to Arab sources as well as US intelligence sources”. The book led to BBC News describing Simon as “perhaps the world’s leading expert on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden".
One Day in September: the full story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and Israeli revenge operation ‘Wrath of God’, published by Faber in 2000. The International Herald Tribune described the book as “a masterclass in investigative journalism”, saying it “brilliantly recaptures the tension of the day as well as the human cost of the botched police operation”. The New Yorker said it was “highly skilled and detailed…a page-turner”. The film of the same name, narrated by the actor Michael Douglas, won the Oscar for best feature documentary.
Simon started work as a teenage postboy on a British national newspaper, and spent more than five years as the youngest staff writer on the paper. He left to write investigative features for publications including Time magazine and Esquire, and wrote or edited a series of current-affairs books investigating subjects such as terrorism, biological warfare, international organised crime and nuclear smuggling.
As a television adventurer Simon has written and presented more than 20 series for the BBC, including the 6x1 hour series Tropic of Cancer, which saw him circling the planet, following the Tropic of Cancer east from Mexico to the Caribbean, then across the Sahara, borders in North Africa closed to foreigners for decades, the deserts of Arabia, and the jungles of Asia. Tropic of Cancer had a strong current affairs theme, including issues such as poverty, the drugs trade, climate change, industrial pollution, and a forgotten war. But it was also a spectacular travelogue. Simon visited 18 countries, meeting amazing people, witnessing bizarre and beautiful sights, and encountering spectacular and endangered wildlife.
The Observer: “A man whose very name is a guarantee of interesting television. Outstanding.”
The Independent: “TV's most interesting globetrotter”
Radio Times: “In the last decade, he's made a name for himself as British TV's most adventurous presenter.”
Mail on Sunday: “the craziest (or bravest) man on TV”
The Times: “Our television screens are replete with intrepid young men, but Reeve is in a class of his own…the real deal in terms of intelligence and tenaciousness, charming his way in and out of situations that would make most ordinary people quake in their shoes”
Tropic of Cancer was shown on the BBC in the UK, and by broadcasters in dozens of countries, enthralling millions. It was Simon’s third round-the-world trip exploring the tropics, the region of the planet with both the richest natural biodiversity, and the greatest concentration of human suffering. The Times said: “a real gem. Reeve is in a class of his own…while he guides us along the Tropic of Cancer, through some of the most beautiful yet demanding places on the planet, he does so with a genuine sense of curiosity and openness, never succumbing to cliché or getting sidetracked by his own agenda”.
The BBC TV series Tropic of Capricorn saw Simon travelling around the line marking the southern border of the tropics. On his epic journey, Simon passed through southern Africa, Madagascar, Australia and South America. The Daily Mail said: “Five Stars…Brilliant…a fascinating, illuminating journey…much more than a travelogue…compelling television.”
In the BBC series Equator, Simon headed east around the planet, passing through troubled areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Radio Times said it was “an extraordinary journey…eye-opening…revelatory…thrilling and thought-provoking…hits us with jaw-dropping facts…delivers a string of revealing snapshots.”
In Places That Don’t Exist, Simon travelled through a group of unrecognised nations – countries so obscure they don’t officially exist. Among the destinations visited were Somaliland, Transdniestria, Nagorno-Karabkh, Ajaria and South Ossetia. The Daily Telegraph said the five-part series was: “exemplary… riveting… eye-opening… remarkable… superb”.
In Meet the Stans, Simon travelled through Central Asia from the far north-west of Kazakhstan, by the Russian border, east to the Chinese border, south through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the edge of Afghanistan, and west to Uzbekistan and the legendary Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. The Times said: “Simon Reeve’s journey through Kazakhstan is a first-class Boy’s Own adventure on film and illuminating too. I can’t imagine anyone switching off who stays for the first five minutes.”
Simon is an ambassador for the nature conservation organisation WWF and has been awarded a One World Broadcasting Trust award for an “outstanding contribution to greater world understanding”.
His website is at: www.simonreeve.co.uk
Youtube site: www.youtube.com/shootandscribble
- Step by Step: the life in my journeys, published by Hodder, 2018
- Tropic of Capricorn: circling the world on a southern adventure, published by BBC Books, 2008.
- One Day in September: the full story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and Israeli revenge operation ‘Wrath of God’, published by Faber & Faber, Arcade and Penguin, 2000.
- The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the future of terrorism, published by Andre Deutsch and North Eastern University Press (US), 1998.
Broadcast credits include:
Mediterranean – BBC
Burma – BBC
Russia – BBC
Colombia – BBC
Turkey – BBC
Greece – BBC
Caribbean – BBC
Sacred Rivers – BBC
Ireland – BBC
Australia – BBC
Arctic Live – BBC
Wildfires – BBC
Pilgrimage – BBC
Indian Ocean - BBC
Tropic of Cancer - BBC
Tropic of Capricorn - BBC
Explore - BBC
Equator - BBC
Places That Don't Exist - BBC
Conspiracies - SKY
Outrageous Fortunes - BBC
House of Saud: Inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - BBC
Meet the Stans - BBC