Jon Sopel (Jonathan B. Sopel, born 22 May 1959 in London, England) is a British television presenter and correspondent for the BBC's international news channel, BBC World News, currently serving as the North America Editor for the BBC. He was previously chief political correspondent for BBC News 24, a presenter on The Politics Show on BBC One and the BBC News Channel; and from 2013 to 2014, the main presenter on Global. Sopel was educated at Christ's College school in London before graduating with an honours degree in politics from Southampton University.
Sopel was a freelance writer and broadcaster before joining the BBC in 1983 as a reporter and producer for BBC Radio Solent. He went on to become the chief political correspondent for BBC News 24 and later spent three years as the BBC's Paris correspondent. Stories he covered while he was in Paris included the French ban on the importation of British beef, the millennium celebrations in Paris, the oil spill in Brittany, the French presidency of the EU in 2000 and the Concorde crash in July 2000. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Sopel was the BBC's correspondent in Kuwait City.
In 2005, Sopel joined The Politics Show on BBC One replacing Jeremy Vine as the programme's main presenter. It broadcast every Sunday at noon and Sopel interviewed key politicians and advisers, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, opposition leader David Cameron, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The show ended in December 2011 and was replaced by Sunday Politics in January 2012.
Sopel has also co-presented the BBC News Channel on weekday afternoons between 2 pm and 5 pm - alongside Louise Minchin each Tuesday to Thursday and alongside Emily Maitlis on Mondays - following his appointment as a presenter on the channel in 2003.
During major political stories, such as elections, Sopel reported on location for the BBC News Channel and BBC News at One. He made occasional appearances on BBC One news bulletins as a relief anchor. In his 16 years with the BBC, he has appeared on PM on Radio Four, Breakfast News, BBC News at One, BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten as well as fronting BBC Two's annual coverage of the UK political party conferences, Conference Live. He has also been an occasional stand-in presenter for Newsnight, and has made past appearances on Breakfast, HARDtalk and The Daily Politics.
In October 2012 it was announced that Sopel would present the new programme, Global with Jon Sopel, airing 1500 to 1630 GMT every Monday to Thursday on BBC World News.
In January 2014, Sopel had a rare interview with the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At the end of the following April, Sopel was appointed the BBC's North America Editor, after his predecessor Mark Mardell became a presenter for BBC Radio 4.
The 2007 edition of Who's Who listed Sopel's hobbies as golf, travel and watching football. He is also an ambassador for The Prince's Trust. Sopel is an alumnus of the University of Southampton where he was the President of the Students' Union, for the National Organisation of Labour Students during 1982 and 1983. He met his wife Linda while working at Radio Solent; the couple have a son and daughter and live in Washington DC.
On 20 October 2010, Sopel broke his hip when he crashed his motor scooter on fallen leaves whilst on his way to Westminster to cover for the BBC the announcement of the government's spending cuts. He failed to realise the full extent of his injury until after he had completed his journey, and subsequently required surgery.
In 2007, Sopel was voted Political Journalist of the Year by the Public Affairs Industry.
Sopel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Southampton in 2011.
In 2013, Sopel was shortlisted for National Presenter of the Year at the Royal Television Society Television Journalism Awards 2011/2012.
- Tony Blair: The Moderniser (1995) Michael Joseph, London. ISBN 0-7181-3918-6 / 0-7181-3918-6