Justin Rowlatt

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Justin Rowlatt
Justin rowlatt.jpg
Born 1966
Education University of Oxford
Occupation Journalist, presenter
Notable credit(s) Business Daily
Spouse(s) Bee Rowlatt

Justin Rowlatt is a British news reporter and television presenter working for the BBC. In February 2015 he became the BBC's South Asia Correspondent based in Delhi.


Rowlatt was educated at Hampstead Comprehensive in Cricklewood and at Mansfield College, Oxford University.


As Delhi Correspondent Justin Rowlatt is the BBC's lead reporter for the entire South Asia region. Before taking the South Asia role Justin stood in for Simon Jack as the Business presenter on the Today Programme [1]. He's been the main presenter on the World Service's flagship Business programme, Business Daily [2], and presents the popular science/economics strand "The Elements" [3], which explores the role of the chemical elements in the world economy.

Rowlatt has been a correspondent on Newsnight, Channel 4 News and Panorama and has been nominated for Royal Television Society and BAFTA awards for his work. During his time on Channel 4 News, he was a passenger on the train involved in the Hatfield rail crash in 2000, reporting that he "watched the carriages skid and whip around on the gravel besides the track".[1] During his time as a Newsnight correspondent he caused a minor scandal when the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, complained about his dress sense [4].

Justin Rowlatt became widely known in Britain when in 2006 he became Newsnight's "Ethical Man" [5]. Peter Barron, the then Newsnight editor, challenged him and his family to spend a year trying to reduce their impact on the environment. It made him an "accidental green hero", according to The Guardian.[2]

The regular "Ethical Man" strand became very popular, with Rowlatt reporting on global warming and environment issues across all BBC outlets. Panorama broadcast an Ethical Man special "Go Green or Else" [6]. In 2007 Rowlatt presented an hour-long prime time programme exploring how the US is engaging with the climate issue for BBC2's This World titled "Can Obama Save the Planet" [7].

He was part of the original reporting team for BBC1's popular prime time factual programme, The ONE Show, "reporting on current affairs with flair",.[3] In 2008 Rowlatt was granted the first ever television interview with MI6's head of recruitment for a ONE Show feature on the service. During the interview the agent's false moustache slipped from his lip [8]. Rowlatt still reports regularly for the programme.

As the host of the World Service's occasional series "Exchanges on the World Economy" Rowlatt has interviewed some of the most high profile economists in the world, including Joseph Stiglitz and Nassim Taleb.

In 2011 he presented The Chinese Are Coming, a pair of documentaries looking at the growing influence of China in Africa and the Americas. In 2011 he co-presented, with fellow journalist Anita Rani, the two-part documentary travelogue India on Four Wheels, a road trip around India sampling the changes and problems the growing car usage has brought to the country in the last two decades (see Transport in India). The format proved successful, and the pair collaborated on two two-part follow-ups, first "China on Four Wheels",[4] which aired in September 2012,[5] and then "Russia on Four Wheels", which aired in January 2014.

Rowlatt has presented a number of other prime time series for the BBC including "The Trouble with Working Women" [9] with Sophie Raworth. The May 2009 programme caused controversy when at management consultancy Accenture Justin suggested a female-heavy office must have been full of secretaries.[6] Rowlatt has co-presented two series of the BBC2 personal finance programmes MoneyWatch [10]. In 2010 he stood in as a presenter on Breakfast News and in 2014 on BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

One of his first jobs in television was as an assistant producer on current affairs documentary Panorama, where, among many other stories, he worked on a programme which showed how Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo car dealers were fixing prices in Britain.[7]

Rowlatt has reported regularly for From our Own Correspondent. His dispatches have included reflections on his experiences with the Awa tribe in the Amazon [11], the time he discussed gay rights while taking a sauna with two homophobic Russians and what India's street children and space scientists have in common [12].

One of Rowlatt's most popular articles tells the story of how his grandfather, Theo Ionides, was handpicked by Ian Fleming to be part of the James Bond author's Commando Intelligence Unit [13].

Personal life[edit]

He is married to BBC World Service producer Bee Rowlatt and they have four children. The family appears in the year-long filming of Ethical Man. His wife has written of their relationship and family life in her book Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad. The couple jointly presented the 2013 documentary Make Me a German.


  1. ^ BBC News Online, page about the crash.
  2. ^ James Silver, "The accidental green hero", The Guardian, 5 March 2007.
  3. ^ "The One Show". Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "BBC Two - China on Two Wheels". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Rowlatt, Justin (9 September 2012). "The forbidden public toilets of Beijing". BBC News online. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Working Women: Justin Rowlatt's big gaffe BBC News, 15 May 2009
  7. ^ "Justin Rowlatt". BBC News. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 

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