David Hepworth

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David Hepworth (born 27 July 1950) is a journalist and music writer responsible for the launch of many British magazines.

Born in Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire, Hepworth attended the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield and Trent Park College of Education, Barnet (now part of Middlesex University). He then worked in Tower Records, London and for the London office of Beserkley Records, before becoming a freelance journalist.

After working at the music magazines NME and Sounds, he joined the newly launched Smash Hits magazine in 1979, and two years later became its editor. In 1983 he started Just Seventeen, a perennially popular magazine for teenage girls, and in 1984 the magazine Looks. Since then he has launched several further magazines in the entertainment field including Q (1986), More (1987), Empire (1988), Mojo (1993), Heat (1999), and The Word (2003). He is currently director of the magazine publishing company Development Hell with Mark Ellen, a frequent collaborator.

He is the only person to have won both the Periodical Publishers Association's writer of the year and editor of the year award.

In the early 1980s he had a short period as presenter of the BBC music show Old Grey Whistle Test and was one of the presenters of the BBC's coverage of Live Aid.[1] On both of these he worked with Mark Ellen. Hepworth was the presenter who famously provoked Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof to curse on air during the broadcast.[2]

David Hepworth is featured in a podcast promoting the "Top of the Pops" boxset alongside Mark Goodier, Miles Leonard and Malcolm McClaren.

On 2 October 2012, Hepworth was interviewed on Channel 4 News about accusations of sexual abuse made against the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. Following his responses to questions about the culture of the 1970s in the media and the pop industry, Mic Wright of The Telegraph criticised Hepworth and the other guest, retired television executive Michael Grade, for the tone of their answers:

With the detachment of a historian pondering the mores of the ancient Greeks, Hepworth opined: "It wasn't seen as being as sinister as it is seen as being nowadays. You'd have huge rock names who had girlfriends who were 16, 17, or even younger and nobody would write about it. Nobody would particularly bother about it." Apparently abuse and exploitation were accepted side-effects of pop music in those halcyon days or, as Hepworth put it, "just part of the showbiz mix".[3]

Suzanne Moore made a similar criticism in The Guardian, claiming she had "sat aghast" during the interview.[4]


  1. ^ "The challenge for Live 8 and Geldof". CNN. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Live Aid Concert". Ovi Magazine. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Wright, Mic (3 October 2012). "Jimmy Savile and other 1970s sleazebags would find it hard to abuse teenage girls today – thanks to the internet". London: telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Moore, Suzanne (3 October 2012). "Liking young girls is not a preference, it's a perversion". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 December 2013.